Wheat crowding

Wheat plants grown in the same pot behave cooperatively and produce the same collective biomass as a single plant grown in the same pot.

Plants can detect each other through their root systems, and depending on the identity of the neighbours, may respond cooperatively, competitively or in a hostile manner. It is thought that plants can distinguish between close kin, distant kin and non-kin in this manner. However the signalling systems that underlie this perception, and the corresponding growth responses, are poorly characterised. We want to identify the mechanisms by which plants can detect and distinguish their neighbours.