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Cauliflower fractal forms arise from perturbations of floral gene networks

Abstract : Throughout development, plant meristems regularly produce organs in defined spiral, opposite, or whorl patterns. Cauliflowers present an unusual organ arrangement with a multitude of spirals nested over a wide range of scales. How such a fractal, self-similar organization emerges from developmental mechanisms has remained elusive. Combining experimental analyses in an Arabidopsis thaliana cauliflower-like mutant with modeling, we found that curd self-similarity arises because the meristems fail to form flowers but keep the “memory” of their transient passage in a floral state. Additional mutations affecting meristem growth can induce the production of conical structures reminiscent of the conspicuous fractal Romanesco shape. This study reveals how fractal-like forms may emerge from the combination of key, defined perturbations of floral developmental programs and growth dynamics.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - 5:49:31 PM
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Eugenio Azpeitia, Gabrielle Tichtinsky, Marie Le Masson, Antonio Serrano-Mislata, Jérémy Lucas, et al.. Cauliflower fractal forms arise from perturbations of floral gene networks. Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2021, 373 (6551), pp.192-197. ⟨10.1126/science.abg5999⟩. ⟨hal-03291136⟩



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