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Laying it on thick: A study in secondary growth

Turley, E.K.; Etchells, J.P.

Laying it on thick: A study in secondary growth Thumbnail


E.K. Turley


The development of secondary vascular tissue enhances the transport capacity and mechanical strength of plant bodies, while contributing a huge proportion of the world’s biomass in the form of wood. Cell divisions in the cambium, which constitutes the vascular meristem, provide progenitors from which conductive xylem and phloem are derived. The cambium is a somewhat unusual stem cell population in two respects, making it an interesting subject for developmental research. Firstly, it arises post-germination, and thus represents a model for understanding stem cell initiation beyond embryogenesis. Secondly, xylem and phloem differentiate on opposing sides of cambial stem cells, making them bifacial in nature. Recent discoveries in Arabidopsis thaliana have provided insight into the molecular mechanisms that regulate the initiation, patterning, and maintenance of the cambium. In this review, the roles of intercellular signalling via mobile transcription factors, peptide–receptor modules, and phytohormones are described. Crosstalk between these regulatory pathways is becoming increasingly apparent, yet the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Future study of the interaction between multiple independently identified regulators, as well as the functions of their orthologues in trees, will deepen our understanding of radial growth in plants.

Journal Article Type Other
Acceptance Date Oct 13, 2021
Online Publication Date Oct 16, 2021
Publication Date Jan 27, 2022
Deposit Date Oct 18, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jun 30, 2022
Journal Journal of Experimental Botany
Print ISSN 0022-0957
Electronic ISSN 1460-2431
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 73
Issue 3
Pages 665-679
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Copyright Statement
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (,
which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited

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