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Mar 15, 2020
2:33PM

Researchers in United States discover communication network in plants

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Researchers in the United States have discovered a communication network in plants that helps them respond to a hormone involved in pest resistance. This may help develop crops that can withstand insect attacks.  

The study, published in the journal 'Nature Plants', observed that the hormone called jasmonic acid is particularly important for a plant's defense response against fungi and insects.

Joseph Ecker, a study co-author from Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the US has said the research has given a really detailed picture of how the hormone, jasmonic acid acts at many different levels. He said the research has enabled them to understand how environmental information and developmental information is processed, and how it ensures proper growth and development.

In the study, the scientists used the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a widely studied small flowering plant in the mustard family, whose genome has been well characterised.

The researchers said the findings from studying Arabidopsis thaliana can be applied to other plants, including those grown for food.

During the experiment, using various computational approaches, the study team could identify genes important for the plant's response to jasmonic acid, and for the cellular cross-communication with other plant hormone pathways.

According to the scientists, the genes MYC2 and MYC3 rose to the top in their degree of importance across the system.  They said the two genes are involved in producing proteins that regulate the activity of thousands of other genes.


By assessing these gene networks and subnetworks, researchers could understand the architecture of the whole plant hormone system. It also helped them to understand which genes are turned on and off during a plant's defense response. Ultimately, the process helps in identifying breeding crops that are able to better withstand attacks from pests.
 

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