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Crop Biotech Update

Research Group Finds Root Growth and Cell Replenishment Mechanisms

February 7, 2018

Two recent studies describe plant root mechanisms. One of them, published in the journal Molecular Systems Biology, describes the process through which cells stop growing during cell differentiation; the second one, published in Journal of Cell Science, describes plant cell replenishment after being damaged.

The first study used three hypotheses to explain how cells know when to stop growing: is it at a certain period after cells got divided, or they detect the root's position, or cells are able to detect their size. To clarify the correct hypothesis, Irina Pavelescu, first author of the study, created three analytical and computational root growth models. The conclusion is that root cells know when they reached the proper size and stop growing and start the differentiation. They stop growing due to their size.

The second study discovered more details on root growth and post-damaged cell repair capacity. The study reports that when root stem cells die due a genomic stress, a signal of steroid hormones is sent to reservoir stem cells so that these cells divide and replace the damaged ones. Thus, root growth is maintained, and so is the plant's life.

For more details, read the Universitat de Barcelona News.