The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 56: 661 - 674 (2012)

Vol 56, Issue 9

Dynamical patterning modules in plant development and evolution

Review | Published: 8 November 2012

Valeria Hernández-Hernández1, Karl J. Niklas2, Stuart A. Newman3 and Mariana Benítez*,1,4,5

1Centro de Ciencias de la Complejidad, C3, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico, 2Department of Plant Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA, 3Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY, USA and4Department of Functional Genomics and Proteomics, CEITEC-Central European Institute of Technology, Brno, Czech Republic, 5Departamento de Ecología de la Biodiversidad, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México.


Broad comparative studies at the level of developmental processes are necessary to fully understand the evolution of development and phenotypes. The concept of dynamical patterning modules (DPMs) provides a framework for studying developmental processes in the context of wide comparative analyses. DPMs are defined as sets of ancient, conserved gene products and molecular networks, in conjunction with the physical morphogenetic and patterning processes they mobilize in the context of multicellularity. The theoretical framework based on DPMs originally postulated that each module generates a key morphological motif of the basic animal body plans and organ forms. Here, we use a previous definition of the plant multicellular body plan and describe the basic DPMs underlying the main features of plant development. For each DPM, we identify characteristic molecules and molecular networks, and when possible, the physical processes they mobilize. We then briefly review the phyletic distribution of these molecules across the various plant lineages. Although many of the basic plant DPMs are significantly different from those of animals, the framework established by a DPM perspective on plant development is essential for comparative analyses aiming to provide a truly mechanistic explanation for organic development across all plant and animal lineages.


dynamical patterning module, plant evo-devo, epigenetics

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