Arabidopsis Root: A Model Organ in Plant Genomics

Authored by: Jaimie M. Van Norman , Louisa M. Liberman , Philip N. Benfey

Plant Roots

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  April  2013

Print ISBN: 9781439846483
eBook ISBN: 9781439846490
Adobe ISBN:


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Given their subterranean existence, roots could be considered among the most inaccessible organs for biological study. Fortunately, roots are extremely amenable to growth in the absence of soil; currently, Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings are extensively studied in non-soil media. This dicotyledonous seedling has several attributes that facilitate studies of root biology including rapid germination, small size, and simple root architecture. By the late 1980s, Arabidopsis was being widely used as a research model for plant biology. The Arabidopsis root was emerging as a particularly powerful and elegant model in cellular and organ developmental biology and environmental response. In the decade prior to publication of the Arabidopsis genome, functionally important molecules in root biology were identified through genetic screens. However, the difficulty of cloning the identified loci was a significant roadblock in understanding the molecular mechanisms driving root growth and development. The attributes that initially made the Arabidopsis root a good physiological and developmental model organ have made it invaluable in the genomics era.

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