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Micro Sculptors

Tiny RNAs mold the development of leaves

Although you may not feel like admitting it as you rake them into trash bags, leaves are works of art. Their brilliant colors and elegant shapes have attracted and inspired artists. Each leaf assumes its appearance and operations through a finely balanced process of cell division and specialization. Yet leaves of some plants don't conform to popular notions of leaf beauty. They may, for example, scrunch up where other leaves of the same species lie flat. Oddly shaped leaves and the plants that yield them have intrigued botanists and cell biologists for more than a century because they provide clues into how normal plants take shape.

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