Controlling plant regeneration systems may drive the future of agriculture


The ability to self-repair damaged tissue is one of the key features that define living organisms. Plants in particular are regeneration champions, a quality that has been used for centuries in horticultural techniques such as grafting. Belgian scientists from VIB and Ghent University have now discovered a key protein complex that controls plant tissue repair. Understanding this mechanism is of great agricultural importance: crops and edible plants might be cultivated more efficiently and made more resistant to parasitic plants. The results are published in the leading journal Nature Plants. 


In humans and animals, missing or damaged tissue can be replenished by stem cells. These basic, undifferentiated cells can change into more specific cell types and divide to produce new cells that replace the damaged tissue cells. Plants are characterized by a similar system, but their regenerative properties are generally much greater. While this asset has been widely used in grafting and plant tissue culture techniques, the mechanism by which cells are triggered to form new cells after injury remained largely elusive.

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