The case for morphogens in plants

Nat Cell Biol. 2003 Nov;5(11):939-43. doi: 10.1038/ncb1103-939.


Plants and animals have evolved as multicellular organisms independently of one another. This raises the intriguing question of whether plants and animals have developed similar or distinct patterning strategies to establish their body plans. Animals use concentration gradients of signals termed morphogens for tissue patterning, but whether they are also used by plants is unclear. Here we compare and contrast the plant hormone auxin with animal morphogens, and speculate as to whether plants have independently evolved similar mechanisms to regulate pattern formation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Indoleacetic Acids / physiology*
  • Plant Development*
  • Plants / anatomy & histology


  • Indoleacetic Acids