Experimental Morphology and Morphogenesis Then and Now: A Symposium in Memory of Elizabeth G. Cutter
Von Aderkas, Patrick .
Experimental ecological embryogenesis .
Elizabeth Cutter was interested in morphological and anatomical responses of plants to changing conditions during development. Towards the end of her career she began thinking about how environmental signals might influence embryogenesis. Her thoughts about in ovulo responses influenced my recent work. In conifers, external factors can be manipulated to interesting effect during both zygotic and somatic embryogenesis. We have looked at both morphological and physiological variation in vitro. Cotyledons, which are the first lateral organs to form during embryogenesis, normally occur in a whorl of six in Douglas-fir and larch. However, by altering conditions during somatic embryo maturation, cotyledon number can be dramatically altered. This has led to a mathematical understanding of whorl formation. Physiological phenotypic plasticity also lends itself to experimental manipulation. The degree of cold tolerance exhibited by a mature conifer embryos depends on the temperature that an embryo experienced at an earlier developmental stage. Treatments during embryogenesis have been exploited by a number of laboratories to lasting effect: the physiological effects registered by embryos continue through juvenility into maturity. Ecological adaptability can be conferred by an embryo's plasticity. This confirms Elizabeth Cutter's idea that developmental plasticity during embryogenesis may have ecological consequences.
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1 - University of Victoria, Centre for Forest Biology, Department of Biology, Victoria, BC, V8W 3N5, Canada
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Delaware B/Hyatt
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Time: 10:30 AM