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Top Story

Team identifies genetic target for growing hardier plants

The function of a plant’s roots goes well beyond simply serving as an anchor in the ground. The roots act as the plant’s mouth, absorbing, storing and channeling water and nutrients essential for survival. Researchers have devoted tremendous effort to engineering plants that are more effective at these tasks in order to develop hardier forms that can withstand drought or low-nutrient conditions. In a new investigation, researchers have taken another step toward achieving this goal. They identified two proteins that regulate whether a cell in plant roots forms a hair cell, which increases surface area for absorption, or a non-hair cell. Plants that overexpressed one of these regulators thrived, despite being deprived of a key nutrient--phosphorous.

Visit Website | Image credit: Brian D. Gregory and Shawn W. Foley; image by Ruthsabel O’Lexy