Multiscale Systems Analysis of Root Growth and Development: Modeling Beyond the Network and Cellular Scales

Leah R. Band, John A. Fozard, Christophe Godin, Oliver E. Jensen, Tony Pridmore, Malcolm J. Bennett & John R. King

Over recent decades, we have gained detailed knowledge of many processes involved in root growth and development. However, with this knowledge come increasing complexity and an increasing need for mechanistic modeling to understand how those individual processes interact. One major challenge is in relating genotypes to phenotypes, requiring us to move beyond the network and cellular scales, to use multiscale modeling to predict emergent dynamics at the tissue and organ levels. In this review, we highlight recent developments in multiscale modeling, illustrating how these are generating new mechanistic insights into the regulation of root growth and development. We consider how these models are motivating new biological data analysis and explore directions for future research. This modeling progress will be crucial as we move from a qualitative to an increasingly quantitative understanding of root biology, generating predictive tools that accelerate the development of improved crop varieties.

The Plant Cell Online 24 (10), 3892-3906