Genetic control of plant organ growth Academic Article uri icon


  • Summary 319 I. Introduction 320 II. The cell biology and biophysics of growth 320 III. Timing is everything: what determines when proliferation gives way to expansion? 323 IV. Anisotropic growth and the importance of polarity 325 V. How does organ identity and developmental patterning modulate growth behaviour? 326 VI. Coordination of growth at different scales 327 VII. Conclusions 329 Acknowledgements 329 References 330The growth of plant organs is under genetic control. Work in model species has identified a considerable number of genes that regulate different aspects of organ growth. This has led to an increasingly detailed knowledge about how the basic cellular processes underlying organ growth are controlled, and which factors determine when proliferation gives way to expansion, with this transition emerging as a critical decision point during primordium growth. Progress has been made in elucidating the genetic basis of allometric growth and the role of tissue polarity in shaping organs. We are also beginning to understand how the mechanisms that determine organ identity influence local growth behaviour to generate organs with characteristic sizes and shapes. Lastly, growth needs to be coordinated at several levels, for example between different cell layers and different regions within one organ, and the genetic basis for such coordination is being elucidated. However, despite these impressive advances, a number of basic questions are still not fully answered, for example, whether and how a growing primordium keeps track of its size. Answering these questions will likely depend on including additional approaches that are gaining in power and popularity, such as combined live imaging and modelling.

publication date

  • July 2011