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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2009 Apr;12(2):172-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2008.12.002. Epub 2009 Jan 20.

Genetic and genomic dissection of maize root development and architecture.

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University of Tuebingen, Center for Plant Molecular Biology (ZMBP), Department of General Genetics, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany.


The complex architecture and plasticity of the maize root system is controlled by a plethora of genes. Mutant analyses have identified genes regulating shoot-borne root initiation (RTCS) and root hair elongation (RTH1 and RTH3). Quantitative trait locus (QTL) studies have highlighted the importance of seminal roots, lateral roots, and root hairs in phosphorus acquisition. Additionally, QTLs that influence root features were shown to affect yield under different water regimes and under flooding conditions. Finally, proteome and transcriptome analyses provided insights into maize root development and identified candidate genes associated with cell specification, and lateral root initiation in pericycle cells. The targeted application of forward-genetics and reverse-genetics approaches will accelerate the unraveling of the functional basis of root development and architecture.

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