Plant biology

The Root of the Problem

Science Signaling  14 Sep 2010:
Vol. 3, Issue 139, pp. ec283
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3139ec283

Developmental processes can define repeated patterns of structure, such as somites in vertebrates. In plants, too, repeated structures arise during growth and development. As the above-ground shoot grows, it sends out leaves or branches at intervals guided by hormone signaling. As the below-ground root grows, it too ramifies, sending out lateral roots. Moreno-Risueno et al. (see the Perspective by Traas and Vernoux) explored the expression of genes underlying development of lateral roots and found that oscillations in gene expression guide the specification of lateral roots.

M. A. Moreno-Risueno, J. M. Van Norman, A. Moreno, J. Zhang, S. E. Ahnert, P. N. Benfey, Oscillating gene expression determines competence for periodic Arabidopsis root branching. Science 329, 1306–1311 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]

J. Traas, T. Vernoux, Oscillating roots. Science 329, 1290–1291 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]