Development is remarkably reproducible, producing organs with the same size, shape, and function repeatedly from individual to individual. For example, every flower on the stalk has the same snapping dragon mouth. This reproducibility has allowed taxonomists to classify plants and animals according to their morphology. Yet these reproducible organs are composed of highly variable cells. For example, neighboring cells grow at different rates in leaves, sepals, and shoot apical meristems. This cellular variability occurs in normal, wild-type organisms, indicating that cellular heterogeneity (or diversity in a characteristic such as growth rate) is either actively maintained or, at a minimum, not entirely suppressed. In fact, cellular heterogeneity can contribute to producing invariant organs. Here, we focus on how plant organs are reproducibly created during development from these highly variable cells.


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