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Shaping up to fight

The battle is on: Purdue scientists are helping plants "toughen up" in the fight against insects and drought.

Purdue plant scientists and University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineers gained new insights into the ways plants grow. They studied how proteins and tubes in the plant cytoskeletons cooperated to produce complex cell shapes.

More research could help improve plant defense against insects and lead to improved cotton fibers. The study results also could help toughen root response to drought.

"This collaboration enabled us to learn more about what really controls plant cell shape in one year than we had in the previous 10," says Daniel Szymanski, Purdue professor of botany and plant pathology and leader of the research team.

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