Sydney: In an important breakthrough, biologists have identified a hormone that plays a key role in determining the size and shape of plants.
The discovery of the hormone strigolactone could have enormous impact on the forestry and horticultural industries, and is expected to lead to the ability to custom design plants.
"Taller plants can be produced by boosting strigolactone, and bushier plants can be grown by suppressing the hormone," said Christine Beveridge, associate professor at The University of Queensland (UQ).
"In the case of fruit-producing trees where the yield comes from the branches, repression of the chemical - that is, to create more branches - can give a better harvest," he added, according to a Queensland statement.
"It is interesting that strigolactone uses a long-distance signalling process to determine plant shoot branching," Beveridge said.
"Strigolactone`s capacity to have an impact on shoot branching will be conducive to obtaining a desired shape in plants and is sure to prove beneficial in crop production."