The molecular mechanisms which determine whether the cells of a multicellular organism will live or commit suicide have become a popular field of research in biology during the last decade. Cell death research in the plant field has also been expanding rapidly in the past 5 years. This special volume of Plant Molecular Biology seeks to bring together examples of a diverse array of experimental approaches in a single volume. From the differentiation of tracheary elements in vascular plants to the more specialized cell death model of the aleurone in cereals, this volume will bring the reader up-to-date with the characterization of different plant model systems that are currently being studied. This endeavor should complement general overviews of plant cell death mechanisms that have been published elsewhere by providing more detailed information on various aspects of this field to interested graduate students and more senior biologists alike.