After successfully finding the two genes that make plants grow outwards, Scientists at the University of Manchester are now turning their focus towards looking for ways to make plants grow thicker more quickly, resulting in increased biomass production without competing with food crops. The team believes that fat genes in thicker plants, like trees, could help in meeting the UK and other nations’ renewable energy goals.
The researchers claim to develop a system of increasing the plants growth to enable increased wood production, which would aid in meeting with the essential biomass requirement of the future. For the study that is funded by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council showed that the plant that was used was Arabidopsis. Arabidopsis though is a little different from a normal tree in appearance, but has a similar vascular system. During the investigation, the genes PXY and CLE41 were found to direct the amount and direction of cell division. It was also found that the over-expression of CLE41 resulted in increased growth in a well-ordered fashion, thus increasing wood production. This groundbreaking discovery will provide an added benefit for the biomass sector because it will mean biofuel crops will not be competing with food crops for land.