Latest Gravitropism Stories

A New Look At How Plants Sense Gravity
2013-02-04 16:31:22

American Journal of Botany Gravity affects the ecology and evolution of every living organism. In plants, the general response to gravity is well known: their roots respond positively, growing down, into the soil, and their stems respond negatively, growing upward, to reach the sunlight. But how do plants sense gravity and how do they direct or signal their cells to grow in response to it? Although botanists understand a great deal about how this works, a recent article in the recent issue...

2012-04-16 21:37:40

Have you ever wondered why stems grow upwards and roots downwards? Why plants always seem to turn towards the light and climbing plants run up the trellis rather than down? The answer is simple: auxin! But maybe not that simple, since plant hormones — and auxin is a plant hormone — are regulated by complex combinations of various processes. Elke Barbez, Jürgen Kleine-Vehn and Jirí  Friml, connected to VIB and UGent recently identified an...

2012-02-01 09:55:13

On Earth all biology is subjected to gravity. Some biological systems require gravity for correct orientation (geotropism: plants grow up, roots grow down). In the absence of gravity even human biology is affected: astronauts lose bone density at 1-2% a month rather than the usual 1-2% a year on Earth. But the effects of gravity on cellular processes are less well understood. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Genomics has used diamagnetic levitation to...

2010-06-15 00:51:14

New research published by Cell Press in the June 15th issue of the journal Developmental Cell, reveals how plants modify their root architecture based on nutrient availability in the soil. Plants obtain most necessary nutrients by taking them up from the soil into their roots. Although plants cannot move to a new environment when nutrient availability is less than favorable, they can modify their development to favor root colonization of soil areas where nutrients are abundant. Therefore,...

2010-05-07 09:24:31

People aren't the only living things that suffer from stress. Trees must deal with stress too. It can come from a lack of water or too much water, from scarcity of a needed nutrient, from pollution or a changing climate. Helping trees and crops adapt to stress quickly and efficiently is a pressing goal of plant biologists worldwide. Now research led by Michigan Technological University scientists has identified the molecular mechanism that Populus"”the scientific name for common...

2009-09-22 09:30:43

Scientists have shown that the main shoot dominates a plant's growth principally because it was there first, rather than due to its position at the top of the plant. Collaborating teams from the University of York in the UK and the University of Calgary in Canada combined their expertise in molecular genetics and computational modeling to make a significant discovery that helps explain why pruning encourages plants to thrive. Understanding of the action and interaction of these hormones can...

2005-03-30 07:22:18

Astrobiology Magazine -- A team of biologists from the University of California, Riverside has used chemical genomics to identify novel compounds that affect the ability of plants to alter their direction of growth in response to gravity, a phenomenon known as gravitropism. The researchers screened a library of 10,000 small molecules, the practice is known as chemical genomics, to identify those that could positively or negatively affect gravity's effect on plant growth, which is closely...

Word of the Day
  • A spider.
  • Figuratively, a peevish, testy, ill-natured person.
'Attercop' comes from the Old English 'atorcoppe,' where 'atter' means 'poison, venom' and‎ 'cop' means 'spider.' 'Coppa' is a derivative of 'cop,' top, summit, round head, or 'copp,' cup, vessel, which refers to 'the supposed venomous properties of spiders,' says the OED. 'Copp' is still found in the word 'cobweb.'