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For a long time, researchers assumed that cell death occurs mainly during animal organ growth, but not in plant organs. A research group led by Hannele Tuominen from UPSC has now demonstrated that the death of certain cells in the root facilitated the growth of lateral roots. These new findings hint at organ growth of plants and animals might not be so different as thought. The study was published today in the journal Current Biology.
In contrast to animals, plants form new organs like lateral roots continuously. These roots grow out from the main root and explore the soil for nutrients while providing additional stability to anchor the plant in the soil. Elimination of cells plays an important role in animal development, e.g., for the formation of fingers or toes. The cells between the digits die during development to allow the establishment of the individual digits. , Developmental cell death also occurs in plants, but so far, it has been unclear whether this is needed to facilitate the emergence of lateral roots.
Researchers - Hannele - Tuominen - Associate - Professor
The researchers around Hannele Tuominen, until 2019 associate professor at Umeå University and now professor at SLU, and her postdoc Sacha Escamez, used different methods to demonstrate that cell death occurs and enables lateral roots to emerge from the main root in thale cress plants.
"We first found that genes indicating developmental cell death were activated in cells that are laying over those cells that form the future lateral roots," says Hannele Tuominen....
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