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Morphogenesis of leaves: from initiation to the production of diverse shapes.

The manner by which plant organs gain their shape is a longstanding question in developmental biology. Leaves, as typical lateral organs, are initiated from the shoot apical meristem that harbors stem cells. Leaf morphogenesis is accompanied by cell proliferation and specification to form the specific 3D shapes, with flattened lamina being the most common. Here, we briefly review the mechanisms controlling leaf initiation and morphogenesis, from periodic initiation in the shoot apex to the formation of conserved thin-blade and divergent leaf shapes. We introduce both regulatory gene patterning and biomechanical regulation involved in leaf morphogenesis. How phenotype is determined by genotype remains largely unanswered. Together, these new insights into leaf morphogenesis resolve molecular chains of events to better aid our understanding.

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