Biologists solve plant hormone enigma

July 6, 2006

Gardeners and farmers have used the plant hormone auxin for decades and now U.S. scientists have found how plants produce and distribute the hormone.

University of California-San Diego researchers say their findings have valuable applications in agriculture.

The study describes the discovery of a whole family of auxin genes, and shows each gene is switched on at a distinct location in the plant. Contrary to the current thinking, the research shows the patterns in which auxin is produced in the plant influence development -- a finding that can be applied to improving crops.

"The auxin field dates back to Charles Darwin, who first reported that plants produced a substance that made them bend toward light," said Yunde Zhao, an assistant professor of biology at UCSD. "But until now, the auxin genes have been elusive. Our discovery of these genes and the locations where auxin is produced in the plant can be applied to agricultural problems, such as how to make seedless fruit or plants with stronger stems."

The research is detailed in the journal Genes and Development.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers modify yeast to show how plants respond to a key hormone

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Saturn's bulging core implies moons younger than thought

December 7, 2016

Freshly harvested data from NASA's Cassini mission reveals that Saturn's bulging core and twisting gravitational forces offer clues to the ages of the planet's moons. Astronomers now believe that the ringed planet's moons ...

Dark matter may be smoother than expected

December 7, 2016

Analysis of a giant new galaxy survey, made with ESO's VLT Survey Telescope in Chile, suggests that dark matter may be less dense and more smoothly distributed throughout space than previously thought. An international team ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.