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Asymmetry in plants

Previously overlooked asymmetry has been found in <em>Arabidopsis</em>

Previously overlooked asymmetry has been found in Arabidopsis and tomato leaves.

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Research shows that the spiral pattern of leaf formation from the point of growth affects the developing leaf's exposure to the plant hormone auxin. This exposure leads to measurable left-right asymmetry in leaf development in species previously assumed to have symmetric leaves. The front of a leaf is different from the back of a leaf, and the tip is different from the base. However, a leaf from a tomato or an Arabidopsis plant superficially appears to be bilaterally symmetrical, or the same on the left and right sides. Don't let its appearance fool you; there is an underlying asymmetry between the left and right sides of such leaves -- it just took a while for scientists to discover it.

This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (grant IOS 08-20854).

To learn more about this research, see the Science Daily news story Is your leaf left-handed?. (Date image taken: June 2012; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Dec. 26, 2017)

Credit: American Society of Plant Biologists

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