A team of researchers from the Università La Sapienza of Rome announced the discovery of a method for the regulation of the grow-related gene expression in plants. In other words, as the principal investigator Sabrina Sabatini said, “we are able to accelerate the evolutionary process: we modify the plant genes in order to obtain in two years what nature would obtain in thousands or years”.
The study was done by the Paolo Costantino, team leader of the Genetic and molecular biology Department and member of the Accademia dei Lincei. Researchers were able to discover the particular balance that exists between the two main grow factors in plants: the hormones Auxin and Cytokine. These factors together control the plant grow, ruling on the cell division and differentiation, hence on the overall plant development.
It is known that the plant development is regulated by the hormonal balance. Among the other, Auxin controls the juvenile stage of development while Cytokine rules the mature stage. Now, thanks to this research, this complex molecular scenario that presides over the plant grow is clear. Therefore, now men are able to control that “transition zone”, as researchers say, in which the plant final shape is decided.
“By raising or reducing each hormone levels”, Sabatini said, “it is now possible to decide the final dimensions of a plant. For example, it is possible to get longer root plants for arid zones where water tables are very deep. Otherwise it is possible to produce short root plants, in order to avoid deep saline zones”.