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Deciphering the ontogeny of a sympodial tree

Costes E., Guédon Y.. 2012. Trees, 26 (3) : p. 865-879.

This paper addresses the identification and characterization of developmental patterns in the whole structure of a sympodial species, the apple tree. Dedicated stochastic models (hidden variable-order Markov chains) were used to (i) categorise growth units (GUs) on the basis of their morphological characteristics (number of nodes and presence/absence of flowering) and position along axes, (ii) analyse dependencies between successive GUs and (iii) identify repeated patterns in GU sequences. Two successive phases, referred to as ''adolescent'' and ''adult'', were identified in two apple tree cultivars. In the adolescent phase, ''very'' long monocyclic GUs were followed by long polycyclic GUs, whereas in the adult phase medium GUs were preferentially followed by short GUs. Flowering GUs constituted a preferential pathway between vegetative GUs of decreasing vigour (long, medium and short) and generated patterns that were interpreted with respect to fruiting regularity. The proposed modelling gave a global and quantitative picture of the two-scale structuring of apple tree ontogeny: a coarse scale corresponding to the succession of the previously mentioned phases and a fine scale corresponding to the alternation between flowering and vegetative GUs. This led us to propose a synthetic scheme of apple tree ontogeny that combines growth phases, polycyclism and flowering, and which could be transposed to other sympodial trees. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : floraison; différenciation sexuelle; malus; arbre; développement biologique; anatomie végétale; modèle mathématique; languedoc-roussillon; architecture des arbres

Thématique : Méthodes mathématiques et statistiques; Physiologie végétale : croissance et développement; Anatomie et morphologie des plantes; Physiologie végétale : reproduction

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