M.Sc Plant Science - Plant cells are immobile, encased in a rigid cell wall. Unlike animal cells, migration and programmed cell death play little role in the patterning of plant cell fates, nor can they move when their environment changes. If the supply of food is low or if there is a predator, animals can move, fight or fly. But plants cannot. They have to adapt constantly to their environment and their development is highly plastic. Animal development is mainly embryonic: the body shape is defined during embryogenesis and the adult derive from the enlargement of the embryo. In contrast, in plants, most of the development occurs post embryonically and never ceases. In fact, because plants can't escape from their physical locations, they adapt and "escape" through development. When there is a lack of nutrients or energy, the plant develops its root system to explore the ground or its aerial system to get some light. Under attack from a pathogen or herbivore, the plant is able to synthesise signalling molecules to change its development and defend itself.
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