INTRODUCTION nized columns (or files) of cells along the length of the root that result from repeated transverse divisions in the meristematic region. Thus, the cell files resemble a âcellular assembly line,â with each cell in a file more developmentally advanced than the one beneath it (Figure 1B). A basic feature of roots is their radial pattern, which is made up of concentric rings (or layers) of tissues. The three fundamental types of tissue are the protoderm (e.g., the epidermis), the ground tissue (e.g., the cortex), and the vascular tissue. The Arabidopsis root possesses these tissues in a radial array that is striking in its simplicity and regularity (Figures 1A and 1C). In the Arabidopsis primary root, there are single cell-thick rings of epidermis, cortex, endodermis, and pericycle tissues surrounding the central stele, with a constant number of eight cells per ring for the cortex and endodermis layers (Dolan et al., 1993). In many plant species, including Arabidopsis, the files of root cells can be traced back to specific sets of cells in the meristematic region, termed initials (von Guttenberg et al., 1955; Dolan et al., 1993; Scheres et al., 1994). Based on anatomical and labeling studies, each
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