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Lab Report

By: Ann Northrup

Ann Northrup spent her undergraduate years at the University of Michigan, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in microbiology….

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Liquid cytoplasm in plants can be actively pushed from cell to cell, a necessary function to transport molecules associated with metabolism, respiration, defense, and communication. As part of the mechanism to accomplish this, plants use myosin, also found in human muscles, as the “motor” molecule. In the laboratory, scientists have synthesized chimeric myosin molecules, using parts from either algae or mammalian myosin, and inserted them into Arabidopsis (yes, again the lab rat of the plant world), to achieve different rates of cytoplasmic flow within the plant. Rate of cytoplasmic flow was a key determinant in the size of the plant.

Developmental Cell 27, 345–352