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By Bob Sharp, University of Missouri
Jonathan Lynch, Penn State University
Roots do more than anchor plants securely in the soil. They take up moisture and nutrients, allowing the stalk, leaves and ears to develop. Roots are important in standability and in the uptake of water and nutrients, says Bob Sharp, professor of plant sciences at the University of Missouri.
The root system is complex. Because they're underground, they're hard to study.
"There are about 20 leaves on a corn plant, but there are tens of thousands of tiny roots," notes Jonathan Lynch, professor of plant nutrition at Penn State University. "We haven't put the same amount of work into understanding corn roots as we have into leaves and ears."
Understanding root growth is a key to increasing yields.
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