Traffic jams are the curse of the commute, the scourge of the school run and the bane of Bank Holidays. But gridlocked motorists and students of traffic flow may soon be relieved and enlightened thanks to new research into plants.
It has emerged that plants have it sorted when it comes to going with the flow and avoiding frustrating congestion. These fascinating results come from a joint study by the John Innes Centre, Norwich, and the University of Tokyo, Japan.
A sophisticated mechanism that allows plant roots to quickly respond to changes in soil conditions has been identified by an international research team.
Scientists from the John Innes Centre and Sapienza University, Rome, combined mathematical and computer modelling with molecular genetics to show how roots can regulate their growth via the interactions of two antagonistic hormones, auxin and cytokinin.
Major changes in agricultural practices will be required to offset increases in nutrient losses due to climate change, according to research published by a scientific consortium including the James Hutton Institute.