Different tropes for different folks

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been exploring why scientists seem to publish so many studies on one particular topic (you can find previous comics about this here and here). I mentioned that differing research methodologies could lead to differing conclusions, which adds to the growing number of papers published. In today’s comic, I’ll be focusing on a recent article that illustrates this issue pretty well (“Comparative Analysis of Arabidopsis Ecotypes Reveals a Role for Brassinosteroids in Root Hydrotropism”). They studied a process called root hydrotropism — but how do they do that? And could their approach put their findings in conflict with previous studies?

hydrotropism methods (1)hydrotropism methods (2)hydrotropism methods (3)hydrotropism methods (4)

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Dietrich D (2018) Hydrotropism: how roots search for water. J Exp Bot, doi:10.1093/jxb/ery034

Jaffe M et al. (1985) A Pea Mutant for the Study of Hydrotropism in Roots. Science 230: 445-445.

Miao R et al. (2018) Comparative Analysis of Arabidopsis Ecotypes Reveals a Role for Brassinosteroids in Root Hydrotropism. Plant Physiol 176: 2720-2736

Morohashi K et al. (2017) Gravitropism interferes with hydrotropism via counteracting auxin dynamics in cucumber roots: clinorotation and spaceflight experiments. New Phytol 215: 1476-1489

Saucedo M et al. (2012) An altered hydrotropic response (ahr1) mutant of Arabidopsis recovers root hydrotropism with cytokinin. J Exp Bot 63: 3587-3602

Salazar-Blas A et al. (2017) Robust root growth in altered hydrotropic response1 (ahr1) mutant of Arabidopsis is maintained by high rate of cell production at low water potential gradient. J Plant Physiol 208: 102-114

For further reading:

Full text of Darwin and Darwin’s “The Power of Movement in Plants” from the free ebook repository, Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5605

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