Iowa State University researcher Yanhai Yin has identified a previously unknown growth pathway in plant cells that regulates plant growth. He and his team examined signaling mechanisms of a plant hormone called brassinosteroids. The hormone controls the growth of cells.
The brassinosteroids (BRs) have a major impact on how large the plant grows, says Yin.
"Previously, we knew that steroids promote growth," said Yin. "In model plants like Arabidopsis (a relative of mustard) and crops such as corn and rice, if you have more steroids, you have more growth, and if you have less steroids, you have less growth and the plant is smaller."
Now Yin knows that the HERK1 (named for Hercules -- the Greek and Roman god who possessed superhuman strength) pathway, induced by BRs, is controlling much of that growth.
Identifying what makes plants bigger could have several effects, including improving biomass or grain yields, and forage yields.
If we can build a bigger plant, the importance of having enough calcium for cell formation will be significant.
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Calcium Products, helping you build your plants.
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