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Scientists Report a Plant Part in Arabidopsis for the First Time
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: June 22, 2021 08:45AM

Thale cress (/Arabidopsis thaliana/) is an important plant especially to
scientists trying to understand how plants grow and develop. It has been
used for research for decades, and one might expect that its structure
has been fully documented, but a study reveals this plant still has some

A study conducted by scientists at The Pennsylvania State University
describes a previously unreported structure in Arabidopsis called the
'cantil', which connects to the stem at one end and hangs in the air to
hold up the flower-bearing stalk, similar to the function of a
cantilever in structural engineering.

Dr. Timothy Gookin, a postdoctoral researcher working in the Assmann Lab
at Penn State University said that he first observed the cantils in 2008
but thought they were an artifact of genetic contamination. Cantils
eluded scientists for so long because, first, cantils are rare. They
only develop under certain conditions that cause the plant to delay
flowering, such as short day lengths, and cantils only form at the
precise point at which the plant begins to flower. Dr. Gookin also
discovered that some popular Arabidopsis strains have geneticmutations
that make them incapable of producing cantils at all.

Scientists Discover a New Plant Organ | Science | Smithsonian Magazine

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