Review. Use it or average it: Stochasticity in plant development (Curr. Opin. Plant Biol.)

In this interesting review, Roeder describes the importance of stochasticity in plant development. She starts off with an explanation: “A process that can be analyzed statistically but not predicted precisely is stochastic. Stochasticity does not imply the absence of regulation, just that the regulation does not cause an exactly determined output in all cases.” She then goes on to illustrate (using a variety of model systems) how patterns can be generated through stochastic fluctuations, as well as how stochasticity contributes to robustness. It’s common when studying plant development to want to ignore its inherent variability, but as this review reminds us these unpredictable events can be important determinants of the developmental outcomes. Curr. Opin. Plant Biol. (Summary by Mary Williams) 10.1016/j.pbi.2017.07.010