Recent Posts

Review: Nitrogen sensing in legumes ($)

As a consequence of their ability to fix nitrogen in symbiosis with bacteria, legumes make key contributions to ecosystems and provide protein-rich foods for humans and other animals. Recent years have uncovered the nature of the signals involved in the cross-kingdom dialogues that occur between plant…

Aphid colonization on tansy influenced by emitted terpenes

Tansy plants (Tanacetum vulgare L.) have diverse ethnobotanical uses including that of insect repellent, as a consequence of their production of volatile terpenes. Clancy et al. investigated the diversity of these emitted terpenes, and how they affect colonization by aphids and the ants that tend them…

Domestication impacts on plant–herbivore interactions: a meta-analysis

It is widely stated that domestication has contributed to a decrease in plant resistance to herbivory, but to what extent is this true? In a contribution to a special issue on “Human influences on evolution”, Whitehead et al. describe results of their meta-analysis. Although their data show a consistent…

Calcium Deficiency Triggers Phloem Remobilization of Cadmium

Cadmium (Cd) is among the most toxic heavy metal to humans. Contamination of Cd in soils poses a serious threat to both crop productivity and human health in many parts of the world. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of Cd transport process will help in developing plants for soil remediation and…

Iron acquisition and saline-alkaline tolerance in rice

Soil saline-alkalization is a major abiotic stress to agriculture worldwide, causing considerable damage to crop growth and loss of crop productivity. In alkaline soil, iron availability to plants also becomes very limiting. This paper explores the physiological and molecular mechanisms of rice plant’s…

Epigenetic regulation of sex determination in polyploid persimmon

Although most flowering plants produce flowers with male and female parts, there are exceptions which are broadly classified as dioecious (two houses; each individual is male or female, usually associated with the presence of a sex chromosome) and monoecious (one house, separate male and female flowers…

A PNAS trio: DNA methylation and small RNAs in plant reproduction

Three PNAS papers explore DNA methylation and/or small RNAs in plant reproductive development. In angiosperms, sexual reproduction is accompanied by DNA demethylation in certain tissues, particularly those that have a nutritive or supporting role.  Park et al. (10.1073/pnas.1619047114) show that in…

Plant-permeable trehalose 6-phosphate analogues increase yield and resilience ($)

Trehalose-6-phosphate (T6P) is a sugar signaling molecule that regulates how plants allocate and use sucrose, which in turn affects stress resilience and yields. Griffiths et al. designed a plant-permeable, photo-activated T6P analogue that is converted to T6P in planta. Spraying this compound onto plants…

Opinion Paper: Bandwagons I, too, have known (reflections of a plant breeder) ($)

In this entertaining Opinion article written for the 150th anniversary of Mendel’s seminal work, Bernardo reviews “bandwagons” that have come and gone in plant breeding. Early bandwagons such as induced polyploidy are discussed, as well as more recent trends such as trangenics, molecular markers…