Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pleasing plant shapes explained by new computer model

25.01.2006


Flowers are innately beautiful to the human eye, but how does a sunflower achieve its stunning disc of intersecting spirals or a daisy its delicate symmetry?



That was the question tackled by University of Calgary computer scientists, who have answered one of biology’s enduring questions with an animated model that provides the most detailed simulation of how plants grow into recognizable shapes.

In the article "A plausible model of phyllotaxis" published in this week’s edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of Calgary PhD student Richard Smith and Computer Science professor Dr. Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz, together with their collaborators from the Institute of Plant Science in Berne, Switzerland (Soazig Guyomarc’h, Therese Mandel, Didier Reinhardt, and professor Cris Kuhlemeier), present the first model to show how plants achieve phyllotaxis – the unique arrangement of lateral organs around a central axis that results in the spiral patterns seen in most plants – beginning at the molecular-level.


"Biologists have many theories about why phyllotaxis exists but have always wondered how it happens," said Smith. "This model is exciting because it proposes a mechanism that works and can be used to try and prove some of the biological theories about the growth process."

Smith and Prusinkiewicz worked with the botanists in Switzerland to create a three-dimensional simulation of plant growth at the microscopic scale, simulating cell division and showing how concentrations of the fundamental plant growth hormone auxin appear at regularly-spaced intervals. This creates the striking spiral patterns of seeds observed in sunflowers, daisies, and many other plants. Other patterns, such as branching at right angles observed in lilac branching, can be also be simulated using different parameter values.

The subject of the study was a plant called Arabidopsis, a small white-flowered plant that is to the world of botany what the fruit fly and white mouse are to zoology.

The scientists believe their model will enhance biological experiments by providing a tool botanists can use to complement and interpret their traditional laboratory experiments. It also promises to lead to accurate models of how other organisms, including animals, develop from primordial stem cells.

"This was a great example of the synergy you can have between biology and computer science and how the tools of one discipline can be used to answer questions in another," said Prusinkiewicz, who specializes in computer simulations and visualizations in plant biology. "

Grady Semmens | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucalgary.ca
http://www.pnas.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>