Plants cope with the environment in a variety of ways, and ecological analyses attempt to capture this through life-history strategies or trait-based categorization. These approaches are limited because they treat the trade-off mechanisms that underlie plant responses as a black box. Approaches that involve the molecular or physiological analysis of plant responses to the environment have elucidated intricate connections between developmental and environmental signals, but in only a few well-studied model species. By considering diversity in the plant response to the environment as the adaptation of an information-processing network, new directions can be found for the study of life-history strategies, trade-offs and evolution in plants.
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Many more papers than are listed formed the basis of the ideas expressed in this Review and we apologize to those whose work was not cited due to space constraints. We thank M. Bezemer, A. Biere, B. Johnson, M. Laskowski, R. Pierik, C. Pieterse, D. de Ridder and C. Testerink for constructive comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. Image credits: Fig. 1d: X. Cheng; Fig. 1f: D. Donnelly, J. Leake and D. Read.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Reviewer Information Nature thanks P. Benfey, O. Leyser and T. Mitchell-Olds for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
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Scheres, B., van der Putten, W. The plant perceptron connects environment to development. Nature 543, 337–345 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature22010
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