Recent Blog Posts by Category

Update: Pollen Development at High Temperature: From Acclimation to Collapse

The seeds and fruits derived from the sexual reproduction of flowering plants constitute the major part of the human diet. Our capacity to generate sufficient crop yield is increasingly compromised by human population expansion, competition for land use, biodiversity loss, and global climate change.…

Scientists tackle deadly fall armyworm infestation devastating maize in southern Africa

From CIMMYT, by Brenda Wawa / February 23, 2017 "Smallholder farmers in eastern and southern Africa are facing a new threat as a plague of intrepid fall armyworms creeps across the region, so far damaging an estimated 287,000 hectares of maize. Since mid-2016, scientists with the International…

Quinoa—quest to feed the world

The high-quality sequencing of a quinoa genome brings new potential for global food security. “Quinoa was the staple ‘Mother Grain’ that fueled the ancient Andean civilizations, but the crop was marginalized when the Spanish arrived in South America and has only recently been revived as a new…

New lines of broccoli flowers without need for cold treatment

Today the BBSRC strategically funded John Innes Centre has announced a potential breakthrough in broccoli production that will aid in UK food resilience and global food security. Scientists at JIC are developing a new line of fast-growing sprouting broccoli that goes from seed to harvest in 8-10 weeks.…

Breaking Ground: Monica Mezzalama keeps vital check on seed health and biosafety

"A curiosity for disease and a passion to cure led Mezzalama to a career as a plant pathologist. While studying for an undergraduate degree in agronomy in her hometown of Turin, Italy, she visited nearby vineyards to study plant pathogens for the first time. “It was working in the vineyards where…

Opinion: Gender diversity leads to better science (PNAS)

In this Open Access article, Wullum Nielsen et al. explore the "innovation dividend" that comes from greater diversity. They point out that "maximizing gender diversity’s benefits requires careful management." As examples, "motivating managers to voluntarily engage in the recruitment and training of…

1135 Arabidopsis genomes reveal global pattern of polymorphism

There are many accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana beyond the ecotypes predominantly used in research laboratories.  In this article, The 1001 Genomes Consortium describe a resource based on whole-genome sequencing of 1,135 A. thaliana genomes from Europe, North Africa, and North America.  This data…

Durable resistance gene Xa4 encodes a cell wall-associated kinase

Xa4 is a durable rice disease resistance gene that confers resistance against Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo), causal agent of bacterial blight. Hu et al. show that Xa4 encodes a wall-associated kinase (WAK) that promotes cellulose synthesis and suppresses wall loosening, thereby strengthening the…

Allelic diversity underlying flowering-time adaptation in maize landraces ($)

Landraces are native varieties that have been selected for adaptation to their native environment, and as such they provide a wealth of largely unexplored genetic potential. Romero Navarro et al. used a new approach called F-one association mapping (FOAM) in combination with genome-wide association strategy…