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Trends Plant Sci. 2005 Jan;10(1):44-50.

Hydrotropism: root growth responses to water.

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  • 1Departamento de Biología Molecular de Plantas, Instituto de Biotecnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, PO Box 510-3, Cuernavaca, Morelos 62250, México.


The survival of terrestrial plants depends upon the capacity of roots to obtain water and nutrients from the soil. Directed growth of roots in relation to a gradient in moisture is called hydrotropism and begins in the root cap with the sensing of the moisture gradient. Even though the lack of sufficient water is the single-most important factor affecting world agriculture, there are surprisingly few studies on hydrotropism. Recent genetic analysis of hydrotropism in Arabidopsis has provided new insights about the mechanisms that the root cap uses to perceive and respond simultaneously to moisture and gravity signals. This knowledge might enable us to understand how the root cap processes environmental signals that are capable of regulating whole plant growth.

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