SIDEBAR : Plant Cell Death Resources

Michele Heath
A FIELD IN BLOOM: Micheèle Heath observes that plant cell death research is starting to take off.
The study of programmed cell death in plants can be likened to a rapidly growing sapling, still in its infancy but ripe with the promise of eventually bearing fruit. In the past few years, several research articles have begun to reveal a complex picture of cell death in plants, much like the initial boom in the study of animal cell death, especially apoptosis-a type of programmed cell death-in the early 1990s (R. Lewis, The Scientist, Feb. 6, 1995, page 15).

Just as in animals, programmed cell death plays an important role in plant development. Researchers generally recognize two times at which plants invoke cellular suicide. First, the process functions to eliminate cells that are no longer needed at certain points in a plant's...

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