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Check It Out! A Road Map for a Plant Root

Rachel Shahan, Ph.D., and Che-Wei Hsu, together with their collaborators, created this atlas of a plant root. The atlas was generated using a technique called single-cell RNA-sequencing, which samples gene expression from individual cells. By condensing the data to three dimensions, the result is a colorful swirl of dots (110,427 dots to be exact), with each dot representing one cell.

The location of the dots represents how similar a cell is to its neighbors. Dots are grouped closer together if the cells express the same genes. Since an individual root contains cells at all stages of maturation, the atlas could shed light on how stem cells produce different cell and tissue types.

Read the paper: Shahan and Hsu et al. A single cell Arabidopsis root atlas reveals developmental trajectories in wild type and cell identity mutants. Developmental Cell. 2022

Learn more about the Benfey lab here:

Video by Véronique Koch with animation from the Benfey lab.