What we expect you to know


You should know, what these terms mean and you should be able to explain them in your own words.

Cell Theory . Germ Line . Soma . Cell Differentiation . Differential Gene Expression . Cloning . Totipotency . Haplodiploidisation . iPS . Stem Cells . Meristems . Cambium . Quiescent Centre . Zygotic and Somatic Embryogenesis . Causality . Necessary and Sufficient Conditions .

German-English Glossary



  • You can explain, what differential gene expression means and what is explained by this
  • You can explain, how it was shown that all somatic cells share the full set of genes
  • You can explain and draw, how a stem cell is defined
  • You can explain, what the difference between zygotic and somatic embryogenese is
  • You can explain, using the case of the state-F cell, what „necessary“ and „sufficient“ means


Vertiefung (for Bachelor students)

  • 1. The gnom mutant of Arabidopsis was very important for understanding early embryogenesis. It produces a misshaped embryo not able to develop into a plant. How could the gnom mutant then investigated?
  • 2. In your first semester, you learnt, how the cambium is giving rise to xylem and phloem during secondary thickening. The phloem is more complex, because the cambial cell has to give rise to a companion cell and a sieve tube cell, which requires a series of two cell division. Translate this case to the abstract scheme for a stem cell division, using A, B, C, D etc. and tell, which of these divisions are actually stem-cell divisions. If you do not remember, how this worked, find it out in the Strasburger and the lecture slides from semester 1.
  • 3. What is the difference in stem cells between monocots and dicots?
  • 4. What would you predict for the carrot system, when one would succeed to inactivate the JIM-8 genes by CRISPR-Cas?
  • 5. Sieve tube elements lack ribosomes. Why? How do they get the proteins they need to survive?
  • 6. Do unicellular organisms have a "soma" in the sense of August Weismann?


Special topic (Master students)

The use of mutants such as wuschel and clavata helped to understand, how stem cells in the shoot are defined. What about the stem cells in the quiescent centre of the root? Are these the same genes, or are they different? Use the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana as paradigm and make a comparative list of the respective genes. Find out, whether there are gene homologues between shoot and root stem cells.


Read more

  • A review about the history of the Cell Theory and its link with plant stem cell research: Opatrný et al. (2014) - pdf