Shoot apical meristem and plant body organization: a cross-species comparative study

The shoot apical meristem (SAM) is the key organizing element of the plant body. Surprisingly, there are almost no across-species comparative data showing links between the SAM and whole-plant traits such as leaf size, stem diameter or seed mass.

Path analysis of relationship between meristem summary variables, nuclear genome size and plant traits.
Path analysis of relationship between meristem summary variables, nuclear genome size and plant traits. χ2 = 10.16, d.f. = 8, P = 0.253. R2 for individual plant traits: leaf area, 0.088; stem diameter, 0.347; seed mass, 0.232; height, 0.014.

Schnablová et al. show that such relationships do exist, and moreover, that as a result of recent convergent evolution species differ in their SAM cell number, which is correlated with a number of plant traits. This study suggests that SAM indeed provides a strong link informing traits of plant organs, and is a key component of plant’s evolutionary response to the environment.

Reference List

Schnablová, R., Herben, T., & Klimešová, J. (2017). Shoot apical meristem and plant body organization: a cross-species comparative study. Annals of Botany, 120(5), 833–843. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcx116