The primary shoot apical meristem of Arabidopsis is initiated late in embryogenesis, after the initiation of the cotyledons. We have identified a gene, called SHOOT MERISTEMLESS, which is critical for this process. shoot meristemless mutant seedlings lack a shoot apical meristem but are otherwise healthy and viable. The anatomy of mutant embryos demonstrates that the shoot meristemless-1 mutation completely blocks the initiation of the shoot apical meristem, but has no other obvious effects on embryo development. The failure of shoot meristemless tissue to regenerate shoots in tissue culture suggests that this gene regulates adventitious shoot meristem formation, as well as embryonic shoot meristem formation.

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