Understanding the secondary growth programme of potatoes
Plants such as bulbs and tubers are farmed for basic food and feed crops due to their high-starch caloric content. However, there is a secondary growth process that differentiates storage organs from petioles, stems and roots. Plants can literally sense the coming winter and send a signal to the underground stolons. In the potato, this signal activates a member of the Flowering Locus T (FT) gene family. The EU-funded POSTCAMB project will describe the genes acting downstream of FT and detect the cells that respond to this mobile signal. The project’s main hypothesis is that the secondary growth process is based on the cambium meristem whose role is to divide and differentiate into storage parenchyma instead of its default passage to xylem vessels. The findings will assist with the creation of key regulators for storage organ identity.