Scientists have identified a gene that controls the root growth in plants, thus paving the way for agriculture revolution.

The study conducted by Philip Benfey, professor of biology at Duke University and director of Duke’s Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy Center for Systems Biology, and his team reveals that the absence of the gene UPBEAT1 (UPB1) triggers root growth in plants. This finding can help in the cultivation of more economically viable plants in the future by manipulating the gene that controls root growth.

This new research can also improve crop cultivation in dry lands as bigger roots can absorb more water from the surroundings. Bigger roots with its ability to grow faster can speed up the growth of switchgrass and Miscanthus considered being the future means of biofuel. This way the farmers can reduce the cultivation time for these perennial grasses. “With switchgrass, for example, frequently you cannot harvest the first year's crop because it takes a long time for the root system to establish," said Benfey, "that would be a huge boon for farmers," he adds.

In addition, the findings will lead to the creation of stronger and bigger plants that absorb more carbon di oxide from the atmosphere, thus reducing the carbon footprint in the atmosphere.

As the growth is manipulated by taking out a gene rather than adding one, this method would not come under the transgenic laws, thus offering a more viable and cost effective option for the farmers than the transgenic method.

The idea needs more research to put it in to practical application. "When we understand them well and can control them, we should be able to regulate root activity,” Benfey said.

Modern science has already presented revolutionary ideas for economically viable crop cultivation in the past. Recently a group of scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst found ways to silence multiple genes in a plant. Similar researches are conducted around the world to develop plants that aid human sustenance better.