HOUGHTON, Mich., May 7 (UPI) — Discovery of a mechanism that helps poplars and aspens adjust to stress could lead to the breeding of hardier trees, scientists in Michigan said.
Researchers at Michigan Technological University found that a hormone known as gibberellin interacts with other hormones to tell a plant whether to concentrate on above-ground growth or to build a stronger network of roots.
The mechanism was discovered by studying Populus, the family that includes poplars, aspens and cottonwoods, said Victor Busov, who teaches at Michigan Tech’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science.
“Our hope is that by understanding how this works, we can manipulate the system so the plants can adapt faster and better to stressful conditions,” Busov wrote in a recent issue of the journal The Plant Cell.
Busov said he and his team want to use biotechnology and selective breeding to modify trees to better handle climate change, pollution, nutrient scarcity and fluctuating water supplies.
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