Columella (i.e., putative graviperceptive) cells of Zea mays seedlings grown in the microgravity of outer space allocate significantly less volume to putative statoliths (amyloplasts) than do columella cells of Earth-grown seedlings. Amyloplasts of flight-grown seedlings are significantly smaller than those of ground controls, as is the average volume of individual starch grains. Similarly, the relative volume of starch in amyloplasts in columella cells of flight-grown seedlings is significantly less than that of Earth-grown seedlings. Microgravity does not significantly alter the volume of columella cells, the average number of amyloplasts per columella cell, or the number of starch grains per amyloplast. These results are discussed relative to the influence of gravity on cellular and organellar structure.
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