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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: June 2012

Chapter 2 - An overview of plant structure and development

Summary

Perspective: origin of multicellularity

Since early in the study of plants botanists have been interested in the structure, function, development, and evolution of cells, tissues, and organs. Because some green plants are very small and unicellular, but others are large and multicellular, the origin of multicellularity in plants also has been of great interest to botanists. Among the green algae from which higher plants are thought to have evolved, some colonial taxa such as Pandorina, Volvox, and relatives consist of aggregations of motile cells that individually appear identical to apparently related unicellular forms (Fig. 2.1). Consequently, it was concluded early in the history of botany, and widely accepted, that multicellular plants evolved by the aggregation of unicellular organisms. This viewpoint led to the establishment of the cell theory of multicellularity in plants which proposes that cells are the building blocks of multicellular plants (Fig. 2.2). As early as 1867, however, Hoffmeister proposed that cells are simply subdivisions within an organism. This viewpoint, supported and expanded upon in 1906 by Lester Sharp at Cornell University, has been elucidated and clarified more recently by Hagemann (1982), Kaplan (1992), and Wojtaszek (2000) among others. These workers conclude on the basis of abundant evidence that a unicellular alga and a large vascular plant are organisms that differ primarily in size and in the degree to which they have been subdivided by cells (Fig. 2.2).

REFERENCES
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FURTHER READING
The diploid (2n) cell that results from the fusion of male and female gametes.Bailey, I. W. 1936. The problem of differentiating and classifying tracheids, fiber-tracheids, and libriform wood fibers. Trop. Woods 45: 18–23.
The diploid (2n) cell that results from the fusion of male and female gametes.Baluska, F., Volkmann, D., and Barlow, P. W.. 2004. Eukaryotic cells and their cell bodies: cell theory revised. Ann. Bot. 94: 9–32.
The diploid (2n) cell that results from the fusion of male and female gametes.Beer, M. and Setterfield, G.. 1958. Fine structure in thickened primary walls of collenchyma cells of celery petioles. Am. J. Bot. 45: 571–580.
The diploid (2n) cell that results from the fusion of male and female gametes.Carlquist, S. 1961. Comparative Plant Anatomy. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
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