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Study Tests the Complexity of Important Plant Hormones

20:00 EDT 8 Aug 2017 | Meridian Institute

A new study out of Purdue University, United States, has confirmed that the key to controlling plant architecture involves complex associations among the brassinosteroid and gibberellin plant hormones. The loss of either plant hormone can result in dwarfed plants. Removing both can increase this effect, suggesting that they control plant growth separately. The findings are important, this article says, for scientists who want to understand how plants modify their infrastructure to compete for resources or to create higher-yielding crops. Creating dwarf plants could help increase yield or keep yield steady while reducing inputs such as water or fertilizer. "Plant cells use these hormones to communicate with each other to control development in a coordinated manner. These processes determine form and execute the correct cellular programs at the correct times," said Brian Dilkes, an associate professor of biochemistry. "We will not be able to manipulate crop architecture for a particular goal if we don't understand how moving one part causes another part to change. These are highly interactive systems, and the different cellular circuits impinge on one another." Dilkes said he next plans to study the interactions between the genes that perceive these hormones and are responsible for turning signals into adaptive growth responses. "It is one thing to identify that these pathways interact, and something else to determine and control how that interaction takes place," he said. The study was published in the journal Plant Direct.

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