Same same, but different: growth responses of primary and lateral roots

J Exp Bot. 2020 Apr 23;71(8):2397-2411. doi: 10.1093/jxb/eraa027.


The root system architecture describes the shape and spatial arrangement of roots within the soil. Its spatial distribution depends on growth and branching rates as well as directional organ growth. The embryonic primary root gives rise to lateral (secondary) roots, and the ratio of both root types changes over the life span of a plant. Most studies have focused on the growth of primary roots and the development of lateral root primordia. Comparably less is known about the growth regulation of secondary root organs. Here, we review similarities and differences between primary and lateral root organ growth, and emphasize particularly how external stimuli and internal signals differentially integrate root system growth.

Keywords: Lateral root; nutrients; plant hormones; primary root; root system architecture.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Plant Roots*
  • Soil*


  • Soil