New research has revealed the secret as to how plants sense moisture in the soil and adapt the shape of their roots to optimize acquisition. The science could be used to breed crops that are more adaptive to climate change conditions such as low rainfall. The discovery could be the key to ensuring food security in arid and dry regions. The study was conducted as part of a collaboration between the universities of Nottingham and Durham. Roots only branch after contact with moisture Roots are the part of the plant that helps them take in water and nutrients from the soil. Water is essential to all plants growth. However, in changing climatic conditions when average rainfall is down in many areas, this is very challenging. It has previously been understood that root architecture was altered to acquire more moisture, but until now, exactly how that was done was not understood. Master gene disabled in extreme conditions A plants root forms a branch when it comes in direct contact with soil moisture using a process known as ‘hydropatterning’. Sustainability Lead authors of the study Professor Malcolm Bennett of the University of Nottingham and Professor Ari Sadanandom from the Department of […]


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