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The role of plant root systems in evolutionary adaptation

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Contribution to book (peer-reviewed)
Author Shekhar Vinay, Stӧckle Dorothee, Thellmann Martha, Vermeer Joop E.M.,
Project Talking with the neighbours: Understanding spatial accommodation during plant development
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Contribution to book (peer-reviewed)

Book Plant Development and Evolution
Editor , Grossniklaus Ueli
Publisher Elsevier, London
Page(s) 55 - 80
ISBN 9780128098042
Title of proceedings Plant Development and Evolution
DOI 10.1016/bs.ctdb.2018.11.011


Roots provide a means to plants for gathering belowground resources. They are plastic and can adapt to ever-changing environmental cues. The plasticity of the roots comes from their ability to branch out by developing lateral and/or adventitious roots. In this chapter, we make an attempt to document the diversity in plant root systems and understand their role in evolutionary adaptation. After a brief introduction to different root systems, such as homorhizic and allorhizic ones, the relationship of plant roots with their surroundings, i.e., the rhizosphere and its effect on adaptation, will be discussed. Despite the difficulty to conclusively construct a timeline of evolution of plant root systems, documented facts from previous publications are examined and an effort has been made to delve into how rooting structures in plants adapted to prevailing conditions by bringing about endogenous changes vis-à-vis evolutionary development and exogenous changes to their surroundings.