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Cross-disciplinary research needed to unleash the potential of plant morphology

This white paper exemplifies the need for multi-scale to advance plant science. Understanding how to modify plant morphology is critical to improving crops. Great progress has been made in quantifying and describing form and patterning in plants using mathematical descriptions and simulations. Yet, work needs to be done to link these mathematical descriptions with biological processes to link the inheritance and activity of genes with observed phenotypes and predict phenotypic response to the environment. The authors call for integration of models of different levels of organization to help researchers understand the complex interdependent processes occurring at multiple spatio-temporal scales. These include genetic and functional–structural plant models.

The authors call for cross-disciplinary education, workshops and funding to bridge the gap between mathematics and plant biology to accelerate scientific progress.

Written by Rachel Shekar

Rachel has served as lead manager of both Global Change Biology and GCB Bioenergy for over ten years and has been instrumental in the success of both journals. Rachel has overseen the development of GCBB as a fully open access online journal and the social media that has been a major part of promotion of both journals. Rachel has also served as coordinator of the Crops in silico project and organization.

Graphics series of a flowering plant seedling grows into a conifer

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