Plants being a different and special living organisms belong to the Kingdom Plantae. They display many distinctive characters from animals. They have different cell structure and organelles which make them self-sufficient. They are also unique in their life cycle and development processes which are discussed below.
Differentiation in Plants
Differentiation is the process in which cells of the root and the shoot apical meristems and the cambium mature to perform specific functions. In this process, lots of structural changes occur in the cells. For instance, in the formation of tracheary elements, the protoplasm is lost.
Dedifferentiation – In this process, the cells that have lost the capability to divide regains its dividing property under certain conditions. For instance, the formation of meristems from fully differentiated parenchymal cells. Dedifferentiation of normal cells in the human body leads to the formation of tumor cells.
Redifferentiation – In this process, the cells divide and produce cells which once again lose their dividing capacity but matures to perform specific functions.
This includes all the changes that an organism goes through during his life cycle. In the case of seeds, its life cycle starts with germination and end by senescence. This process includes all the steps- cell division, elongation of cells, differentiation, maturation etc. Cell division occurs in the meristematic tissues due to which cell elongation or expansion might occur. These cells undergo the process of differentiation and form mature cells which undergo senescence (aging) and ultimately die. This is the whole developmental process in plants. Development is considered as the sum total of growth and differentiation. This process in plants is controlled by various factors which might be intrinsic, eg: genetic factors and chemical factors or extrinsic, eg: light, temperature, water, oxygen, nutrition etc.
Plants follow different types of pathways in response to their environment, in different phases of life and show different kinds of structures, this is known as plasticity. For instance, a condition is known as heterophily in which the shapes of leaves in young plants are different from that of the leaves of mature plants. This is found in plants like cotton, coriander etc.
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