Xylem is a plant tissue for mechanical support and water transportation, as well as a key natural resource and carbon sink. To understand xylem formation, the team of Chuan Ku (Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology) and Ying-Chung Jimmy Lin (National Taiwan University) analyzed single-cell transcriptomes of four divergent trees, including a native Taiwanese species without libriform fibers and vessel elements. The results provide a cell atlas for xylem development and new perspectives for plant tissue evo-devo research. This work was recently published in Genome Biology.

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Development and evolution of xylem — the most abundant tissue on Earth