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Plant Hormones

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Controlling Plant Hormones
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Controlling Plant Hormones

An experimental array of Arabidopsis thaliana an important "model" species for biologists.

Topic

Control of Plant Stress Hormones

Student Exploration

What Does A Plant have To Be Stressed About?

Stress is a big topic in today's societies. Whole industries have been created just to help people deal with everyday stress. However, people are not the only ones to experience stress. After all, despite all our accomplishments Homo sapiens are still animals, and stress is something all animals share. As a matter of fact, all organisms whether plant, animal, bacteria or fungi experience stress. Stress is particularly relevant when it comes to agricultural plants. For example, a plant experiencing stressful conditions such as drought, cold or a pathogen will use hormones to adjust it's metabolism and respond to the stress. Scientists at the Salk Institute are studying plant hormones and the metabolic paths by which they act in order to increase the global food supply. Here you can find out what they've learned so far.

Extension Investigation

Use the resources below to answer the following questions:

  1. How much of the annual food crop is lost to spoilage? What is one of the main causes of this spoilage?
  2. What effects does ethylene (C2H4) have on plants. How does a plant's response vary with environmental conditions?
  3. What kind of protein was discovered which affects a plant's use of ethylene? How can this information be applied to the problem of food spoilage?
  4. What other uses can you think of for this protein? Do you think this may help extend the kinds of environments in which plants can grow?
  5. What characteristics does Arabidopsis thaliana have that make it an excellent model species for plants? Would it be a good model species for studying liverworts? Why or why not?

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