KAUST DepartmentBiological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division
Plant Cell and Developmental Biology, Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia
Desert Agriculture Initiative
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/669485
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractPlants, as sessile organisms, have evolved a remarkable developmental plasticity to cope with their changing environment. When growing in hostile desert conditions, plants have to grow and thrive in heat and drought. This review discusses how desert plants have adapted their root system architecture (RSA) to cope with scarce water availability and poor nutrient availability in the desert soil. First, we describe how some species can survive by developing deep tap roots to access the groundwater while others produce shallow roots to exploit the short rain seasons and unpredictable rainfalls. Then, we discuss how desert plants have evolved unique developmental programs like having determinate meristems in the case of cacti while forming a branched and compact root system that allows efficient water uptake during wet periods. The remote germination mechanism in date palms is another example of developmental adaptation to survive in the dry and hot desert surface. Date palms have also designed non-gravitropic secondary roots, termed pneumatophores, to maximize water and nutrient uptake. Next, we highlight the distinct anatomical features developed by desert species in response to drought like narrow vessels, high tissue suberization, and air spaces within the root cortex tissue. Finally, we discuss the beneficial impact of the microbiome in promoting root growth in desert conditions and how these characteristics can be exploited to engineer resilient crops with a greater ability to deal with salinity induced by irrigation and with the increasing drought caused by global warming.
CitationKirschner, G. K., Xiao, T. T., & Blilou, I. (2021). Rooting in the Desert: A Developmental Overview on Desert Plants. Genes, 12(5), 709. doi:10.3390/genes12050709
SponsorsThis study was supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) baseline funding given to Ikram Blilou.
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.
- Emergent Protective Organogenesis in Date Palms: A Morpho-Devo-Dynamic Adaptive Strategy during Early Development.
- Authors: Xiao TT, Raygoza AA, Pérez JC, Kirschner G, Deng Y, Atkinson B, Sturrock C, Lube V, Wang JY, Lubineau G, Al-Babili S, Cruz Ramírez A, Bennett M, Blilou I
- Issue date: 2019 Aug
- Nitrogen fixation and metabolism by groundwater-dependent perennial plants in a hyperarid desert.
- Authors: Arndt SK, Kahmen A, Arampatsis C, Popp M, Adams M
- Issue date: 2004 Nov
- Comparison of Rooting Strategies to Explore Rock Fractures for Shallow Soil-Adapted Tree Species with Contrasting Aboveground Growth Rates: A Greenhouse Microcosm Experiment.
- Authors: Nie Y, Chen H, Ding Y, Yang J, Wang K
- Issue date: 2017
- Root distribution of Nitraria sibirica with seasonally varying water sources in a desert habitat.
- Authors: Zhou H, Zhao W, Zheng X, Li S
- Issue date: 2015 Jul
- Hydraulic conductivity and anatomy along lateral roots of cacti: changes with soil water status.
- Authors: Huang B, Nobel PS
- Issue date: 1993 Mar