Genotypic recognition and spatial responses by rice roots

S. Fang, R. Clark, Y. Zheng, A. Iyer Pascuzzi, J. Weitz, L. Kochian, H. Edelsbrunner, H. Liao, P. Benfey, PNAS 110 (2013) 2670–2675.

Journal Article | Published | English

Scopus indexed
Fang, Suqin; Clark, Randy; Zheng, Ying; Iyer Pascuzzi, Anjali; Weitz, Joshua; Kochian, Leon; Edelsbrunner, HerbertIST Austria ; Liao, Hong; Benfey, Philip
Root system growth and development is highly plastic and is influenced by the surrounding environment. Roots frequently grow in heterogeneous environments that include interactions from neighboring plants and physical impediments in the rhizosphere. To investigate how planting density and physical objects affect root system growth, we grew rice in a transparent gel system in close proximity with another plant or a physical object. Root systems were imaged and reconstructed in three dimensions. Root-root interaction strength was calculated using quantitative metrics that characterize the extent towhich the reconstructed root systems overlap each other. Surprisingly, we found the overlap of root systems of the same genotype was significantly higher than that of root systems of different genotypes. Root systems of the same genotype tended to grow toward each other but those of different genotypes appeared to avoid each other. Shoot separation experiments excluded the possibility of aerial interactions, suggesting root communication. Staggered plantings indicated that interactions likely occur at root tips in close proximity. Recognition of obstacles also occurred through root tips, but through physical contact in a size-dependent manner. These results indicate that root systems use two different forms of communication to recognize objects and alter root architecture: root-root recognition, possibly mediated through root exudates, and root-object recognition mediated by physical contact at the root tips. This finding suggests that root tips act as local sensors that integrate rhizosphere information into global root architectural changes.
Publishing Year
Date Published
Journal Title
2670 - 2675

Cite this

Fang S, Clark R, Zheng Y, et al. Genotypic recognition and spatial responses by rice roots. PNAS. 2013;110(7):2670-2675. doi:10.1073/pnas.1222821110
Fang, S., Clark, R., Zheng, Y., Iyer Pascuzzi, A., Weitz, J., Kochian, L., … Benfey, P. (2013). Genotypic recognition and spatial responses by rice roots. PNAS. National Academy of Sciences.
Fang, Suqin, Randy Clark, Ying Zheng, Anjali Iyer Pascuzzi, Joshua Weitz, Leon Kochian, Herbert Edelsbrunner, Hong Liao, and Philip Benfey. “Genotypic Recognition and Spatial Responses by Rice Roots.” PNAS. National Academy of Sciences, 2013.
S. Fang et al., “Genotypic recognition and spatial responses by rice roots,” PNAS, vol. 110, no. 7. National Academy of Sciences, pp. 2670–2675, 2013.
Fang S, Clark R, Zheng Y, Iyer Pascuzzi A, Weitz J, Kochian L, Edelsbrunner H, Liao H, Benfey P. 2013. Genotypic recognition and spatial responses by rice roots. PNAS. 110(7), 2670–2675.
Fang, Suqin, et al. “Genotypic Recognition and Spatial Responses by Rice Roots.” PNAS, vol. 110, no. 7, National Academy of Sciences, 2013, pp. 2670–75, doi:10.1073/pnas.1222821110.
All files available under the following license(s):
Copyright Statement:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. [...]

Link(s) to Main File(s)
Access Level
OA Open Access


Marked Publications

Open Data IST Research Explorer


PMID: 23362379
PubMed | Europe PMC

Search this title in

Google Scholar