Plants rehabilitate themselves? They decide – education news

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רותם מטוסביץ וד"ר עידן עפרוני

Rotem Metosevich and Dr. Idan EfroniPhoto: Assaf Moscone

Unlike animals, the only way plants can deal with injuries is to re-grow the damaged organs.

Their ability to recover after a serious injury is one of the most impressive and intriguing features. We encounter this ability on a daily basis, for example, when we dip a branch in water and see it re-grow its truncated root system.

In a study published a few days ago in the scientific journal Nature Plants, Dr. Idan Efroni and his team from the Faculty of Agriculture at the Hebrew University examined the mechanism that allows the roots to regenerate after amputation. , Which flows regularly between plant cells.

The prevailing research perception so far has been that following an injury the plant feels a disruption in the flow of auxin and as a result, a process of root repair begins and returns to normal flow. According to this concept, root repair happens almost automatically.

However, Dr. Efroni’s research shows that this is not an automated process at all. In fact, the plant decides if and how to do it. Notice the formation of a special cell group in the root, whose function is to produce the hormone auxin following the injury itself – with only the hormone produced at the site of the injury being the one that triggers the root restoration process.

“Our conclusion is that recovery after injury is not a default, but a decision that the plant actively makes through the production of the hormone auxin in certain cells,” explains Rotem Metosevich of Dr. Efroni’s team, adding that “this discovery raised the idea that the plant can be deceived by control. In the production of the hormone and thus, cause repair even in the roots that do not usually undergo restoration. ”

Indeed, the researchers developed precise manipulations that were able to cause the root canal to be repaired after very serious injuries, which in a normal state would have prevented the formation of hormone-producing cells. In other words, they were able to cause the restoration of tissue that was not supposed to be restored under other conditions.

“This research contributes to an understanding of the mechanism involved in plant restoration after injury, which will lead to the development and improvement of new propagation methods and the expansion of the number of varieties and species available to farmers,” explains Prof. Efroni. “This is not only a possible increase in the amount of crop, but also the development of more nutritious varieties, resistant to various diseases and ultimately, more beneficial to humanity.”

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