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One mutant gene can severely change the architecture of a plant, as these images show.

The Arabidopsis plant in the left column is a normal seedling, while the one in the right column has a defective SPK1 gene. The mutant gene alters the shapes and sizes of cells that determine the architecture of leaves and roots. The images helped researchers confirm the role of the SPK1 gene in regulating the plant's growth and development.

See related GNN article
»Scientists identify gene that regulates architecture of plant cells

Wild-type seedling.

spk1-1 seedling.

Leaf trichomes with three branches.

Leaf trichomes with aborted branches and two branches.

Leaf epidermal pavement cells.

Cotyledon and higher magnification of cotyledon epidermal cells.

Birgit Reinert

Qiu, J.-L. et al. The Arabidopsis SPIKE1 gene is required for normal cell shape control and tissue development. Plant Cell 14, 101-118 (January 2002).

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