A research team from The University of Queensland has discovered that a key gene which controls flowering time in wheat and barley crops also directs plant root growth.

 

The VRN1 gene, known to regulate flowering in wheat and barley crops, also plays a role in the plant's ability to respond to gravity, thereby directing root growth and determining the overall shape of the root system.

 

"A particular variant of VRN1 in barley, known as the Morex allele, simultaneously induced early flowering and maintained a ‘steep, cheap and deep' root system," Project leader Dr. Lee Hickey from Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) said. He also said that the discovery was a major breakthrough in understanding root development and could boost food security by allowing researchers to breed crops better adapted to a range of environments.

 

For more details, read the UQ News.