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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2012 Jun 5;367(1595):1441-52. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2011.0234.

Root system architecture: insights from Arabidopsis and cereal crops.

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Division of Plant and Crop Sciences, School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, Loughborough LE12 5RD, UK.


Roots are important to plants for a wide variety of processes, including nutrient and water uptake, anchoring and mechanical support, storage functions, and as the major interface between the plant and various biotic and abiotic factors in the soil environment. Understanding the development and architecture of roots holds potential for the exploitation and manipulation of root characteristics to both increase food plant yield and optimize agricultural land use. This theme issue highlights the importance of investigating specific aspects of root architecture in both the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and (cereal) crops, presents novel insights into elements that are currently hardly addressed and provides new tools and technologies to study various aspects of root system architecture. This introduction gives a broad overview of the importance of the root system and provides a snapshot of the molecular control mechanisms associated with root branching and responses to the environment in A. thaliana and cereal crops.

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