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Architectural models

It is essential for future models to provide predictive outputs that can be applied to agronomic, ecologic or environmental issues. In the future, models will be asked to address more diverse challenges such as; how can crops tolerate weeds? what would be the impact of drier seasons on crop yield? is it possible to reduce fertiliser input without significant loss of yield?

The current modelling approaches (process based or functional-structural models) have focused on balance, flux and allocation rules in fixed architectural development schemes. These models assume a unique genotype and developmental programme. It is now essential to incorporate an understanding of how a specific genotype influence developmental processes and responses to the environment. This can be achieved by developing models that explain the genetic control of plant architectural development.

Figure 1: Simulation model
Figure 1: Simulation model developed at the James Hutton Institute representing roots biological structures as concentric surface layers possessing arbitrary distributions of molecular concentrations. (a) theoretical activator(red)-inhibitor(green) model is used to predict the position of lateral root initiation. (b) Whole root system architecture simulated using this principle.

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.