Research Topic

Root Development: Towards Understanding Regulatory Networks and Complex Interactions Between Cell Populations

About this Research Topic

The geometrical and topological structure of a plant’s root system is crucial for the success of soil exploration and for the survival of the individual. For this reason, the genetic control of root development is under enormous selection pressure at various scales, from tissue patterning at the cellular level, to the 3D branching pattern of the entire below-ground root system, which can be more extensive than the above-ground shoot system.

Root apical meristems (RAMs) produce cells that will form the root system. A group of seldom-dividing cells in the root apex, known as the quiescent center (QC), is crucial for RAM activity. The cells adjacent to the QC, initial cells/stem cells, divide asymmetrically to produce two cell populations, one for self-renewal and another population that will undergo transient amplification within the RAM, or meristematic zone, and later will be displaced into the elongation zone. After anisotropic expansion, cells that reached their final size leave the elongation zone. In the differentiation or maturation zone of the root, cells acquire their functional characteristics through an accurate differentiation program. In most plant species, lateral roots will form outside the meristematic zone of the ‘parent’ roots. The regulation of primary, lateral and adventitious root development defines the root system architecture, which can exhibit variation across different plant species, or even in plants of the same species when grown in different environments.

The knowledge of the genetic regulation of root development predominantly comes from the study of Arabidopsis thaliana, and our understanding of the crosstalk and convergence between known genetic pathways has recently started to shed light on the complexity of this regulation. Moreover, recent advance of “omics” technologies, microscopy and imaging, systems biology, and robotic phenotyping, among others, is contributing significantly to increasing knowledge of root development in non-model species.

This Research Topic aims to showcase current progress in the study of the cellular mechanisms and genetic regulation of root development in model plants, as well as to highlight the peculiarities of root development in non-model species.

Original Research, Opinions, Perspectives, Hypothesis, Reviews and Mini-Reviews related to the following topics are welcome for submission:
• Genetic regulation and cellular mechanisms of primary/lateral root development
• Mechanisms regulating cell division, elongation, and differentiation
• Crosstalk and convergence between genetic regulatory pathways
• Modelling the complex behavior of gene regulatory networks
• GWAS/natural variation study of root traits
• Root system architecture
• Peculiarities of root development in non-model plants


Keywords: Root Growth, Cell Differentiation, Root Plasticity, Root Architecture, Gene Regulatory Networks


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The geometrical and topological structure of a plant’s root system is crucial for the success of soil exploration and for the survival of the individual. For this reason, the genetic control of root development is under enormous selection pressure at various scales, from tissue patterning at the cellular level, to the 3D branching pattern of the entire below-ground root system, which can be more extensive than the above-ground shoot system.

Root apical meristems (RAMs) produce cells that will form the root system. A group of seldom-dividing cells in the root apex, known as the quiescent center (QC), is crucial for RAM activity. The cells adjacent to the QC, initial cells/stem cells, divide asymmetrically to produce two cell populations, one for self-renewal and another population that will undergo transient amplification within the RAM, or meristematic zone, and later will be displaced into the elongation zone. After anisotropic expansion, cells that reached their final size leave the elongation zone. In the differentiation or maturation zone of the root, cells acquire their functional characteristics through an accurate differentiation program. In most plant species, lateral roots will form outside the meristematic zone of the ‘parent’ roots. The regulation of primary, lateral and adventitious root development defines the root system architecture, which can exhibit variation across different plant species, or even in plants of the same species when grown in different environments.

The knowledge of the genetic regulation of root development predominantly comes from the study of Arabidopsis thaliana, and our understanding of the crosstalk and convergence between known genetic pathways has recently started to shed light on the complexity of this regulation. Moreover, recent advance of “omics” technologies, microscopy and imaging, systems biology, and robotic phenotyping, among others, is contributing significantly to increasing knowledge of root development in non-model species.

This Research Topic aims to showcase current progress in the study of the cellular mechanisms and genetic regulation of root development in model plants, as well as to highlight the peculiarities of root development in non-model species.

Original Research, Opinions, Perspectives, Hypothesis, Reviews and Mini-Reviews related to the following topics are welcome for submission:
• Genetic regulation and cellular mechanisms of primary/lateral root development
• Mechanisms regulating cell division, elongation, and differentiation
• Crosstalk and convergence between genetic regulatory pathways
• Modelling the complex behavior of gene regulatory networks
• GWAS/natural variation study of root traits
• Root system architecture
• Peculiarities of root development in non-model plants


Keywords: Root Growth, Cell Differentiation, Root Plasticity, Root Architecture, Gene Regulatory Networks


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

29 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

29 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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