JUST LOOK UP! Team Finds How Plants Make Aerial Roots
(Jerusalem, March 3, 2022)—Sometimes, to see the roots, you have to look up.
Roots are normally associated with things that live underground, in the damp and the dark. Think of turnips, radishes and yams. However, many plants make their roots above ground. Ivy uses its roots to climb on buildings and the mighty ficus tree uses them to support their large branches. What makes plants form roots in the “wrong place,” so to speak? That would be like us humans sprouting legs from our shoulders.
In a study published this week in the prestigious journal Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) Professor Idan Efroni and his team found the hidden mechanism that enables aerial roots to happen. By decomposing the stem to individual cells, the team identified the extremely rare cells that, when conditions are ripe, cause roots to grow in the air.
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