Biotech Updates

Study Reveals Role of Plant Hormone in Biomass Production, Eyes Biofuel Applications

November 21, 2012

The University of Manchester scientists have identified how the gaseous plant hormone ethylene can control the rate of cell division in vascular tissue, wood for example, which constitutes majority of the plant biomass. Vascular tissue is derived from a group of dividing cells concentrated in a structure called the procambium. The research team argues that understanding the mechanisms controlling the cell division in this structure may boost our capability to harness plants for wood production and biofuel development. Using the Arabidopsis plant as a model, the research team found that ethylene provides the signal to switch on the genes promoting cell division in procambium. The team also found that ethylene signaling, in turn, interacts with PXY, a gene encoding a signaling component that also controls vascular cell division. Published in the journal PLOS Genetics, the research finding offers the opportunity to increase wood production for creating biofuels by manipulating cell division.

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