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Stunting plants' skyward reach could lead to improved yields
Date:7/22/2009

energy, but tends to be absorbed by the leaves of nearby plants. An environment rich in far-red wavelengths tells a plant that it is shaded and needs to grow higher to out-compete its neighbor.

"We expect that our studies will contribute significantly to our understanding of the complex phytochrome-dependent signaling pathways that operate in higher plants," Montgomery said. "We hope to do that by identifying specific cellular mechanisms and genes involved in the regulation of distinctive aspects of light-mediated growth and development."

"Professor Montgomery has taken an innovative approach to studying how plants adjust as light conditions change," said Thomas Sharkey, a fellow plant researcher and chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "This is a very significant grant from the National Science Foundation and is evidence that others in her field judge her research to be a high priority and that her approach is likely to lead to important discoveries."

The applications for such research could bear directly on crop productivity and other important issues, Montgomery said. Corn, for example, might be induced to spend more of its energy on producing cobs and kernels than on growing as the folk standard has it knee-high by the Fourth of July.


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Contact: Mark Fellows
mark.fellows@ur.msu.edu
517-884-0166
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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