RESOURCES: Getting Hip to Plant Hormones

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Science  16 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5511, pp. 2053
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5511.2053d

Hormones get blamed for some crazy behavior in humans, but you should see what they do to plants. These potent growth regulators stimulate flowering, induce cell elongation, determine sex, and more. Students and professionals can learn about their form and function at the Plant Hormones site, created by plant physiologist Steve Croker of the University of Bristol, U.K., and colleagues.

The home page is adorned with a rotating model of gibberellin A1, one of the field's early finds and a ubiquitous hormone. If “gibberellin” sounds like gibberish to you, click on Educational Resources. A primer there describes this family of more than 90 hormones, first discovered by Japanese scientists in a rice seedling fungus. Read on for the history, biochemistry, and use in biotechnology of plant hormones, including auxins—growth hormones originally isolated by a student of Darwin's—plus cytokinins, ethylene, and abscisic acid. Other links lead to reviews of plant-hormone books, lectures, and molecular structures. Back at the home page, visitors can look up plant-hormone scientists in a directory or join an e-mail discussion group.

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