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The effects of age and hormones on adventitious roots

The interaction between ageing and plant hormones remains poorly understood, but recent research has generated some insights. Specifically, EU-funded scientists looked at characterising the age-related variation in the control of adventitious root formation by the strigolactone hormone.
The effects of age and hormones on adventitious roots
Studies have shown that strigolactones, plant hormones usually involved in communicating with organisms in the surrounding soil, play a role in inhibiting adventitious root formation. This has a negative effect on plant propagation, which relies on the formation of these roots. Physiological properties like age are also believed to be involved in root formation, and preliminary evidence suggests that this may be mediated through a strigolactone signalling mechanism.

The ‘Age related changes in strigolactone control of adventitious root initiation’ (ADVROOTAGESTRIG2010) project aimed at further exploring the relationship between age and strigolactones in root formation. Project partners used modified plants and focused on different developmental stages.

They examined strigolactone function by creating a synthetic molecule that mimics the hormone and can be easily detected. The analogue was useful in the measurement of high biological activity in seed germination and adventitious root inhibition.

Researchers also investigated the effects of ageing on rooting capacity. They did this in pea stem fragments of different nodal positions and in nodal fragments taken from plants sown at different time intervals. There appeared to be no age-related control of root induction. A decrease in adventitious rooting, noted in the late stages of the life cycle, was also found to be independent of strigolactone function.

These findings have expanded the scientific body of knowledge in this research area, and pave the way for follow-up investigations. In terms of skills development, the project also facilitated an exchange of expertise between several labs involved in researching the hormonal regulation of adventitious rooting.

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