Jun 28, 2016

Plant Chimeras: the good, the bad, and the Bizzaria

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Margaret H Frank, Daniel H Chitwood


Chimeras, organisms that are composed of cells of more than one genotype, captured the human imagination long before they were formally described and used in the laboratory. These organisms owe their namesake to a fire-breathing monster from Greek mythology that has the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a serpent. The first description of a non-fictional chimera dates back to the middle of the seventeenth century when the Florentine gardener Pietro Nati discovered an adventitious shoot growing from the graft junction between sour orange (Citrus aurantium) and citron (C. medica). This perplexing chimera that grows with sectors phenotypically resembling each of the citrus progenitors inspired discussion and wonder from the scientific community and was fittingly named the Bizzaria. Initially, the Bizzaria was believed to be an asexual hybrid that formed from a cellular fusion between the grafted parents; however, in-depth cellular analyses carried out centuries later demonstrated that the Bizzaria, along with other chimeras, owe their unique sectored appearance to a conglomeration of cells from the two donors. Since this pivotal discovery at the turn of the twentieth century, chimeras have served both as tools an...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Extracellular Space
Chimera Organism
Donor Person
Orange (Fruit)
Intercellular Communication Process

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