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New organ found in widely studied plant


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A common lab plant that’s been poked and put under microscopes for decades may seem unlikely to keep secrets. But in widely studied Arabidopsis thaliana, scientists have identified the “cantil” — a newly reported plant organ named for its cantilever-like way of branching off of the main stem..

“If you told me of a new organ in a weird plant in Amazonia, I wouldn’t be surprised at all,” says François Parcy, a plant biologist at CNRS in Paris, who was not involved in the study. “What struck me is this happened in Arabidopsis. This is something that’s really surprising.”

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Gookin’s discovery that the cantil is a new organ comes after a painstaking twelve-year investigation. When he first observed cantils in thale cresses in 2008, he fretted that the part had arisen after he had mixed up his seeds or after different strains had cross-fertilized in the lab. After several years of growing natural strains of Arabidopsis, he finally confirmed that cantil formation is a naturally occurring phenomenon. Then came the arduous investigation of identifying why natural Arabidopsis strains only bear cantils on occasion. 

Gookin’s hard-won findings may be the gateway to understanding cantil growth in other plants, says Daisuke Urano, a botanist at Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, Singapore who wasn’t involved in the study. 

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Sources: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/new-plant-organ-cantil-widely-studied-lab-arabidopsis-thalianahttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/scientists-discover-new-plant-organ-180977995/

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