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The conservation of the cell-type-specific communication during lateral root formation from in Brachypodium distachyon.

Director of thesis Professor Dr Joop Vermeer
Co-director of thesis
Summary of thesis

The challenge to produce more food for a rising global population is becoming an increasing issue. Crop plants, particularly cereals, are a vitally important food supply, both directly and through use in animal feed: an estimated 75% of the human energy demand is fulfilled by cereal starch. Plant root architecture is crucial for plant development, as it provides a mechanism to explore the soil environment. This critically affects development, biomass and yield. Lateral root (LR) formation is a

major determinant of root systems architecture. The degree of root branching impacts the efficiency of water and nutrient uptake as well as anchorage. Understanding the regulation of LR development is therefore of vital agronomic importance. Arabidopsis thaliana (dicot) studies revealed the stages of LR formation and the inter-cell-layer network integrating root development. However, little is known about these mechanisms in cereals (monocot). Although, wheat, rice and maize have been

well studied, the chemical and mechanical signals involved in the LR formation remain are still unclear. Additionally, investigation of cereal root architecture is challenging task with regard to their complex developmental profile. Brachypodium distachyon is a favourable alternative for LR studies in monocots due to its short life cycle, small size at maturity and simple growth requirements. The proposed work will address the conservation of LR development in Arabidopsis and Brachypodium by looking for similarities and differences in LR formation. Microscopy and functional genomics will

help to link this knowledge to important crops.

Status beginning
Administrative delay for the defence 2023