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Introduction

Induction and further development of new roots is a key developmental process which usually takes place during most of the life cycle of a plant and provides a substantial basis for survival, growth and reproduction. While development of the primary root starts already with embryogenesis, adventitious roots can be formed in non-root tissues via induction of new root meristems in response to certain stimuli such as wounding or other stress factors. Later, lateral roots develop mostly in the pericycle of both, embryonic and adventitious roots. While timing and localization of lateral root formation is decisive for the establishment of root architecture, adventitious rooting is another fascinating process reflecting the plasticity and great potential of plants to regenerate and to cope with stress conditions. Furthermore, adventitious root formation in isolated plant parts is an essential step in the vegetative propagation of economically important species.

By use of sophisticated tools such as transcriptome and proteome analysis and also modification of target genes remarkable progress has been made recently in elucidation of important mechanisms that control root development. However, there is still the great challenge to develop new tools and to make them applicable to diverse plant species, to complete and integrate the knowledge aiming at a better understanding of the specific systems, and finally to make use of the knowledge for the enhancement of quantity and quality of roots to improve technology of propagation and to add value to our environment.

In this spirit and based on the tradition of the recent symposia held in the US, Israel, The Netherlands, Spain and Canada, the 7th International Symposium on Root Development aims to exchange recent knowledge and ideas on fundamental and applied aspects of root induction and further development, including primary, lateral and adventitious roots. Genetic, hormonal and metabolic control of root development will be covered as well as regulation of root development via modulation of environmental conditions before (e.g. via donor plants) and during rooting. Plenary lectures and poster sessions will be the main platforms in a friendly atmosphere to initiate open discussions and stimulate mutual collaborations.

The symposium will be hosted by the Leibniz-Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops Grossbeeren/Erfurt (IGZ) and will be held in the congress centre “Neue Weimarhalle” in Weimar, Germany, where excellent conditions are provided in close walking distance to the hotels in the surrounding city. There, beautiful architecture and great diversity in cultural sites and activities reflect the literary genre of Weimar Classicism, majorly influenced by the writers Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, and also the acting of diverse famous composers and architects including the German design school “Bauhaus”. Weimar is UNESCO World Heritage site since 1998 and in 1999 became European Capital of Culture.