The rice plants on the left are growing in a gel that contains β-cyclocitrical, a plant hormone that boosts root growth, while the plants on the right are growing in gel that doesn’t have the hormone.

Plant biologists exposed rice plants to a plant hormone called β-cyclocitrical, which promoted root growth. The authors note that plants treated with the hormone were also able to tolerate saltier conditions. “Untreated rice plants were very unhappy with that level of salt,” coauthor Philip Benfey says in a press release.

A.J. Dickinson et al., “β-cyclocitral is a conserved root growth regulator,” PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1821445116, 2019.

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