Interviews of the CIG PIs: C.Fankhauser

Series of interviews were written to present each PI of the CIG.
Most of them are already available on the new CIG Report’s website, and every week we will be displaying one of them in the newsletter.

“Let there be light!”

Shade avoidance response in plants

Plants are weird forms of life: they just sit around all day whilst the sun provides their elixir of life: light. Arabidopsis thaliana, for example, has no less than 5 different families of photoreceptors, which capture light with great eagerness. But what happens if the neighbouring oak tree gets too big and casts a dark and gloomy shadow over its surroundings? Believe it or not, the tiny Arabidopsis has seen this coming from the very beginning – a phenomenon termed “neighbor detection” – and has already taken all possible precautions to secure the species’ survival. Prof. Fankhauser and his research team are trying to unravel the mechanisms that control the shade avoidance response in plants: a highly sophisticated machinery, involving hormonal signals and all-encompassing transcriptional events that provoke the appropriate physiological and development responses. Welcome to the world of plants.

“Will you please step out of my sun?”

Diogenes to Alexander the Great (around 330 BC)