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Plant Growth Roundup

June 2, 2006

A new finding could someday put an end to that endless summertime chore: mowing the lawn.


Living astroturf. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

[sounds of suburbia—interrupted by sound of lawn mower]

Ah, what would suburbia be like without the throaty roar of the lawnmower? We may find out, with the decoding of plant hormone signaling by researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego. They report in the journal Nature that they’ve figured out how plant hormones regulate plant height, aging and other key functions. The result could be grass that grows to a specified height and then stops.

In other plant development news, Swedish scientists report in the journal Science on the discovery of a gene that regulates growth and flowering in a major family of trees. By manipulating the gene, they were able to induce a poplar tree to flower at only a few weeks of age. Normally, the trees don’t flower for about a decade. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.