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 track down gene responsible for short stature of dwarf pearl millet

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Vinegar offers hope in Barrier Reef starfish battle

April 27, 2017

Coral-munching crown-of-thorns starfish can be safely killed by common household vinegar, scientists revealed Thursday in a discovery that offers hope for Australia's struggling Great Barrier Reef.

Humans in America '115,000 years earlier than thought'

April 26, 2017

High-tech dating of mastodon remains found in southern California has shattered the timeline of human migration to America, pushing the presence of hominins back to 130,000 years ago rather than just 15,000 years, researchers ...

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.