Coffee break biogeosciences–The oldest known fossilized active root meristem

Coffee break biogeosciences–The oldest known fossilized active root meristem

Meristems are groups of undifferentiated cells found in growth zones of plants. Active meristem zones have a different cellular organization than inactive zones, and up until recently no fossilized active root meristem had been found. A team of scientists recently found and described the fossilized remains of an actively growing root meristem dating from the Carboniferous. The fossil, named Radix carbonica, was determined to have been actively growing at the time of fossilisation based on the size and number of cells which radiate outwards from the root tip. The organization of stem cells and differentiating cells found within the fossilized root tip is dramatically different from modern root types and the authors conclude that distinct root types present in the fossil record are now extinct.

To read more about this work read the article by Hetherington et al (2016).

Rachael Moore is a PhD student at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, and an Early Stage Researcher with the Marie-Curie ITN ABYSS. Her research focuses on the interaction between microbial life and basaltic rocks in the deep biosphere. Currently she is using material from a CO2 injection site to observe how microorganisms alter their host environment in response to CO2 exposure. You can find her on twitter @raeleigh08 or as a contributor to SeaRocks Blog.

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