Control of root meristem establishment in conifers
PHYSIOLOGIA PLANTARUM 2019, 165(1):81-89
Brunoni F, Ljung K, Bellini C

The evolution of terrestrial plant life was made possible by the establishment of a root system, which enabled plants to migrate from aquatic to terrestrial habitats. During evolution, root organization has gradually progressed from a very simple to a highly hierarchical architecture. Roots are initiated during embryogenesis and branch afterward through lateral root formation. Additionally, adventitious roots can be formed post-embryonically from aerial organs. Induction of adventitious roots (ARs) forms the basis of the vegetative propagation via cuttings in horticulture, agriculture and forestry. This method, together with somatic embryogenesis, is routinely used to clonally multiply conifers. In addition to being utilized as propagation techniques, adventitious rooting and somatic embryogenesis have emerged as versatile models to study cellular and molecular mechanisms of embryo formation and organogenesis of coniferous species. Both formation of the embryonic root and the AR primordia require the establishment of auxin gradients within cells that coordinate the developmental response. These processes also share key elements of the genetic regulatory networks that, e.g. are triggering cell fate. This minireview gives an overview of the molecular control mechanisms associated with root development in conifers, from initiation in the embryo to post-embryonic formation in cuttings.

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