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The worldwide allometric relationship in anatomical structures for plant roots

Review

Zhang, Y; Cao, JJ; Yang, QP; Wu, MZ; Zhao, Y; Kong, DL

NA

2023

PLANT DIVERSITY

45

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The cortex (i.e., absorptive tissue) and stele (transportive vascular tissue) are fundamental to the function of plant roots. Unraveling how these anatomical structures are assembled in absorptive roots is essential for our understanding of plant ecology, physiology, and plant responses to global environmental changes. In this review, we first compile a large data set on anatomical traits in absorptive roots, including cortex thickness and stele radius, across 698 observations and 512 species. Using this data set, we reveal a common root allometry in absorptive root structures, i.e., cortex thickness increases much faster than stele radius with increasing root diameter (hereafter, root allometry). Root allometry is further validated within and across plant growth forms (woody, grass, and liana species), mycorrhiza types (arbuscular mycorrhiza, ectomycorrhiza, and orchid mycorrhizas), phylogenetic gradients (from ferns to Orchid-aceae), and environmental change scenarios (e.g., elevation of atmospheric CO2 concentration and ni-trogen fertilization). These findings indicate that root allometry is common in plants. Importantly, root allometry varies greatly across species. We then summarize recent research on the mechanisms of root allometry and potential issues regarding these mechanisms. We further discuss ecological and evolu-tionary implications of root allometry. Finally, we propose several important research directions that should be pursued regarding root allometry. Copyright (c) 2023 Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Publishing services by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of KeAi Communications Co. Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY -NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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