Mutant roots reveal how we can grow crops in damaged soils

For years, conventional wisdom has held that roots don’t grow as deep in hard soil because it’s just too difficult for them to physically push through it. But new research has unearthed another reason: their growth is controlled by a biological signal which can be “switched off,” enabling them to punch through compacted earth. It’s a discovery that could help crops to grow in even the most damaged of soils.