Essay questions:

How do leaves form flattened and adaxialised organs?

Meristematic growth results in elaboration of the body plan throughout the life of a plant. How are the initiation and interconnection of new organs regulated?

The shoot and root structures of an adult plant are produced by continued
growth of meristems. How is the indeterminate growth of meristems

The Shortroot gene is required for radial patterning of the Arabidopsis
embryo. What special properties of the gene allow it to play a role in transmitting
positional information between cells. Why is this important in plant systems?

Provide examples of three different cell-to-cell signalling agents in plants, and
describe the developmental processes that they regulate.

How can auxin exert both local and global effects during plant development?

Unlike animals, the growth of plants is generally indeterminate. How is this reflected in the way fates are determined during plant development?

Explain, in relation to developmental signalling in Arabidopsis, why plants should possess flexible body plans and cell fates.

The lineage of a cell, and its final position within an organism, can both play a role in cell fate determination. What is the relative importance of origin and position for the fates of developing plant cells.

Why is intercellular communication important during plant development? How might plants cell communicate?

What role does Wuschel play in the plant shoot meristem?

What is the basis for the distinctive appearance of agamous mutant flowers in Arabidopsis?

Explain why leaves, bracts and florets are often formed in spirals around the
stem of a plant.

Why do mutations in the Clavata 1, Clavata 2 or Clavata 3 genes produce similar

Why do the wuschel and clavata3 mutants show opposite effects in shoot meristem development in Arabidopsis.

If an Arabidopsis seeding is laid horizontally, auxin is redistributed across the plant stem and root due to gravity stimulated transport. The root bends downwards and the shoot bends upwards. Why do the tissues respond differently?

What is the common feature that allows auxin to control embryo polarity,
vascularisation and gravitropism in plants?

What is the role of the Clavata3 gene in shoot meristem maintenance in Arabidopsis?

The knolle and keule mutants of Arabidopsis were identified in a screen for developmental mutants. What defects were actually found in these mutants, and why was this surprising.*

Discuss similarities and differences in mechanisms of cell patterning in plants and animals.

Is self-organisation a unique property of living systems? Discuss.

Alan Turing described a chemical basis for morphogenesis in 1952. What are
the characteristics of this patterning mechanism, and how might these be
relevant to animal and plant development.

Why do the wuschel and clavata3 mutants show opposite phenotypic effects
on shoot meristem development in Arabidopsis?

What features of plant development might account for the high capacity of plant tissues to regenerate after damage, compared to animals.

Plants and animals develop and grow in different ways. Is this reflected in the mechanisms that underly development?

Auxins move through plants in a directed fashion. How is this flow controlled?

* material not covered in 2016
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Practical exam question
Jerusalem artichoke explants, phytohormones and xylogenesis.
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