Physiologically mediated self/non-self discrimination in roots

Michal Gruntman, Ariel Novoplansky

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    122 Scopus citations


    Recent evidence suggests that self/non-self discrimination exists among roots; its mechanisms, however, are still unclear. We compared the growth of Buchloe dactyloides cuttings that were grown in the presence of neighbors that belonged to the same physiological individual, were separated from each other for variable periods, or originated from adjacent or remote tillers on the same clone. The results demonstrate that B. dactyloides plants are able to differentiate between self and non-self neighbors and develop fewer and shorter roots in the presence of other roots of the same individual. Furthermore, once cuttings that originate from the very same node are separated, they become progressively alienated from each other and eventually relate to each other as genetically alien plants. The results suggest that the observed self/non-self discrimination is mediated by physiological coordination among roots that developed on the same plant rather than allogenetic recognition. The observed physiological coordination is based on an as yet unknown mechanism and has important ecological implications, because it allows the avoidance of competition with self and the allocation of greater resources to alternative functions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3863-3867
    Number of pages5
    JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Issue number11
    StatePublished - 16 Mar 2004


    • Buchloe dactyloides
    • Competition
    • Development
    • Phenotypic plasticity
    • Physiological coordination

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General


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