Polarity Changes in Trees

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Article 1

Kramer et al. (2008) examines wood grain patterns in trees specifically analyzing two theories of the orienting signal being gradient concentration of the plant growth hormone auxin or mechanical strain in the cambium. In their study, the authors performed experimentation on aspen trees that were "undergoing active secondary growth" (1610) in order to see which theory is the most definitive in the wood grain patterning. To do this, incisions were made in the wood of the samples and measured using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The authors discovered that the auxin theory was most promising in the overall analysis. In their design, the authors took Populus tremuloides trees and reasoned that due to the fact that auxin is "actively transported down the stem," (1610) that they could measure the concentration with a computer model and make a statement regarding which theory would be better positioned in wood grain patterning discussions. Additionally, because of their intricate research design, further evidence would more than likely confirm their study rather than refute it.

Based on the general presentation of the article, this would definitely be a worthy article to be published in a scientific journal for the mere fact that the authors were able to definitively express that one theory could be attributed to wood grain patterning over the other. Moreover, with experimentation details provided, the authors make a strong case as both professional and knowledgeable about wood grain patterning and grain reorientation. The article was interesting to read and learn about and thus, a reader reading it in a scientific journal would more than likely find the article satisfactory in furthering their biological understanding.

Article 2

Schiebinger’s (1996) article discusses the sexuality of plants per Carl Linnaeus. First, the author discusses how the ancient world had some conceptualization of sexual distinctions in plant biology noting the males as "seed-bearing" and the females as "barren" (p.110). Yet, despite the fact that there have been several connotations and distinctions made regarding the genders of plants, the author states that "most flowers are hermaphroditic with both male and female reproductive organs" (p.112). However, even though most plants have both reproductive organs, this was what the author states as being unfamiliar to the world of botany and thus, having a gender difference was an important factor and why Linnaeus' system is so widely recognized. Next, the author describes the essence of nature and the marriage between plants. This discussion essentially outlines the justification for gender distinctions by botanists.

Linnaeus was distinct and remains that way and Schiebinger wants the reader to understand this fact. For Linnaeus, the plants for living creatures with groom and bride, enjoying living as animals do in their respective kingdoms. Linnaeus in his classification of plants and identification of them categorized the delicacies of them i.e. "stamens not joined together in any part [as] husbands not related to each other [and] without affinity" (p.113). Schiebinger's (1996) rationale for this article is to try and make sense of the incredible world of plants, their complexities and why the world has such a kinship for them.

This article is very interesting and is very appropriate for a scientific journal. The research presented is qualitative focusing on Linnaeus' skill of plants and the ways in which he saw the plant kingdom. Schiebinger (1996) seems intent on ensuring the reader knows why Linnaeus did what he did and why plants have such an extensive framework within the field of anatomy and more specifically, botany. There does not appear to be anything out of the ordinary with this article that would cease it from being published in a scientific journal. Given the nature of the article’s rationale, the author had to go in-depth to make sure that all aspects of the complex dynamics of Linnaeus’ love of nature would be understood not only by the reader but to the Schiebinger herself. Furthermore, the article is a pleasant read, written almost novel-like in the sense that it feels as though the author could have gone on for hours discussing the love of plants.


Kramer, E. M., Lewandowski, M., Beri, S., Bernard, J., Borkowski, M., Borkowski, M. H., ... Normanly, J. (2008, June). Auxin Gradients Are Associated with Polarity Changes in Trees. Science, 320, 1610.

Schiebinger, L. (1996, February). The Loves of the Plants. Scientific American, 110-115.