How rice spots its relatives underground: Kin recognition and productivity

minute read. If you think that life in the city is crowded, you have never been a root. The world beneath the soil surface is busier than any metropolis. It is a place in which a root can find anything, from life-long mycorrhizal friendships, to pathogens waiting in dark alleys. Roots also meet other roots, from the same species and from different ones, growing all around, p...
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The importance of being sticky

The composition of the cell walls of land plants allows them to grow upright and gives them a sturdy structure that is essential for living out of water. This is possible thanks to a complex matrix made of cellulose fibrils, proteins and polysaccharides. One of these polysaccharides is called Xyloglucan, and it sticks cellulose fibrils together in a dynamic way. For a while sc...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 217:3, February 2018

The cover for New Phytologist 217:3 is rather special, being the first cover to feature a hand-drawn image since 2004. In this instalment of Behind the Cover, authors Claire Stanley and Guido Grossmann reveal more detail about the dual-flow-RootChip, the subject of their recent Methods paper. The artwork illustrates the dual-flow-RootChip, a new technology that enables r...
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New research examines the origin of xanthones in plant roots

New research shows how antimicrobial compounds are formed in plants, and where to find them. Xanthones are specialised compounds with antimicrobial properties. Derivatives of xanthones have attracted attention for medicine design. A new study in New Phytologist reveals where and how xanthones are formed. Plants have to defend themselves against damage by herbivores an...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 215:3, August 2017

From the roots up Getting back to your roots can lead to some interesting discoveries. In plants, the origin of roots has frequently been a controversial topic. Recent research published in New Phytologist suggests that the development of roots might have been far more interesting than we previously thought. A recently published paper by Fujinami et al. focuses on the organ...
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Cucumbers in space

Scientists at Tohoku University in Japan have untangled the competing influences of water and gravity on plant roots – by growing cucumbers in spaceflight. Plant roots grow to find water – a process called hydrotropism. Roots are also influenced by gravity and tend to grow downwards – this is called gravitropism. Studying the effect of hydrotropism on roots on Earth is di...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 215:2, July 2017

Going back to your roots Lycophyte (a group of plants more commonly known as clubmosses) roots are interesting because evidence suggests that, despite their similar appearance, they evolved independently of those in other vascular plants (euphyllophytes). To get to the bottom of this, you have to look at the differences in the ways that their roots branch. In a recent Tansley ...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 215:1, July 2017

"The Amazon forest is a pretty amazing place. There are so many magnificent trees, magical plants and fungi, strangely twisted and contorted lianas, not to mention the insects, spiders, and snakes, that I think I could spend the whole day taking pictures." In this instalment of our Behind the Cover series, New Phytologist Editor Richard Norby talks us through the research behi...
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