Though it may look haphazard, the network of intertwining plant roots snaking through the soil actually represents a deliberate process. Root growth is guided by chemical snapshots taken by young roots, allowing them to detect obstructions and coordinate the paths they take, new research led by Florida Institute of Technology finds.
Roots compete for and share resources with neighboring roots, as well as with billions of microbes. Until now, however, little has been known about how plants coordinate construction of these complex subterranean assemblies.
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