Science - March 19, 2010

Student wins plant sciences award

Plant sciences student Arjen van Zeijl of Wageningen University has won the Rijk Zwaan Plant Sciences Award 2010 for his research into strigolactones, a recently discovered type of plant hormone.

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Van Zeijl gets a cheque for 1500 euros and a working visit to one of the 25 branches of the breeding company. He has chosen to visit Rijk Zwaan in Tanzania.
He investigated the workings of strigolactones, plant hormones which influence root and shoot branching in the small model plant Arabidopsis. Van Zeijl discovered that strigolactones interact with auxin, another plant hormone. This interaction determines the plant's architecture. His price-winning thesis is entitled: 'Regulation of auxin homeostasis by strigolactones in Arabidopsis'.
Van Zeijl is currently doing a second PhD subject with the university's Laboratory of Phytopathology. He will probably obtain his doctorate afterwards. 'The private sector can wait, I can get there anytime.'

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