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Front Plant Sci. 2013 Jun 18;4:186. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2013.00186. eCollection 2013.

Getting to the roots of it: Genetic and hormonal control of root architecture.

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Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University Ithaca, NY, USA.


Root system architecture (RSA) - the spatial configuration of a root system - is an important developmental and agronomic trait, with implications for overall plant architecture, growth rate and yield, abiotic stress resistance, nutrient uptake, and developmental plasticity in response to environmental changes. Root architecture is modulated by intrinsic, hormone-mediated pathways, intersecting with pathways that perceive and respond to external, environmental signals. The recent development of several non-invasive 2D and 3D root imaging systems has enhanced our ability to accurately observe and quantify architectural traits on complex whole-root systems. Coupled with the powerful marker-based genotyping and sequencing platforms currently available, these root phenotyping technologies lend themselves to large-scale genome-wide association studies, and can speed the identification and characterization of the genes and pathways involved in root system development. This capability provides the foundation for examining the contribution of root architectural traits to the performance of crop varieties in diverse environments. This review focuses on our current understanding of the genes and pathways involved in determining RSA in response to both intrinsic and extrinsic (environmental) response pathways, and provides a brief overview of the latest root system phenotyping technologies and their potential impact on elucidating the genetic control of root development in plants.


O. sativa; genetics; hormone interactions; rice; root development; root growth; root system architecture

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