Biologists solve plant hormone enigma

Jul 06, 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: Ringling elephants say goodbye to the circus

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How plants grow and develop

Aug 08, 2014

How does a complete plant with stems, leafs and flowers develop from a tiny clump of seemingly identical cells? For a very long time, the mechanism of tissue formation in plants remained unclear. The biochemists ...

Recommended for you

Scientists unlock tangled mysteries of DNA

1 hour ago

Chromosomal proteins hold the key to our DNA and they are changing, according to Jose Eirin-Lopez, marine sciences professor in the Florida International University Department of Biological Sciences.

Ferns may hold key to land rehabilitation

2 hours ago

Ferns may have potential in rehabilitating land following work by WA researchers who investigated how ferns are able to survive in semi-arid environments of Australia.

Moves to automate identification of Saimaa ringed seals

2 hours ago

Moves are being made to automate the identification of Saimaa ringed seals. This would bring new kinds of real-time information on how the extremely endangered species behaves, the movements of individual seals, and what ...

User comments : 0

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.