How do grasses grow?
The world around us displays an incredible array of shape. How do complex biological shapes form, how do they evolve, and how does shape impact on organism fitness? To answer these questions, our research combines genetics, 3D imaging and computational modeling to reveal fundamental rules that underpin the development of an organ that is essential for our survival: the grass leaf. Grasses comprise of more than 70% of crop species, and species like maize, rice, and wheat are solely responsible for directly providing more than 50% of global calories, in addition to feeding many of our other food sources. Natural grasslands cover ~30% of our land, without grasses our world would look dramatically different. Despite their importance how they grow and how the grasses may have evolved has remained a mystery. Our recent work has started to unlock this and is finally enabling cross-species comparisons to uncover rules that define how complex biological shapes arise.