Review: Root branching plasticity: collective decision-making results from local and global signalling

Roots are extraordinary examples of developmental plasticity, and hundreds of papers have reported on the mechanisms by which root system architecture responds to the environment and the global nutritional status of the plant. McCleery et al. propose a model that synthesizes evidence of intrinsic, local and long-distance signals. They suggest that the root system is best represented as a set of rhizomers (analogous to the phytomers that compose the shoot system), and that each rhizomer perceives and processes input (including hormones, peptides, miRNAs, and nutrients) to promote or suppress its developmental journey to lateral root emergence. Curr. Opin. Cell Biol. 10.1016/j.ceb.2017.03.001