Entries by Benjamin Jin

A research road map for responsible use of agricultural nitrogen (Front. Sustain. Food Syst.)

Recently, the UN Environment Programme identified excessive reactive nitrogen (N) resulting from anthropogenic activity as one of the five emerging threats facing our planet. Much of this derives from agricultural practices in which N fertilizers are inefficiently applied to crops, a significant proportion of N being lost to surrounding environments. Udvardi et al. outline a […]

Plant scientists’ research attention is skewed towards colourful, conspicuous and broadly distributed flowers (Nature Plants)

Chicana feminist writer Cherríe Moraga wrote in her anthology This Bridge Called My Back, with regards to the necessary inclusion of women of color in contemporary progressive politics: “It is not always a matter of the actual bodies in the room, but of a life dedicated to a growing awareness of who and what is […]

Review: Functional morphology of plants – a key to biomimetic applications (New Phytol.)

Humans have derived inspiration from innumerable corners of the natural world. Plants of diverse forms have inspired many “biomimetics,” or technical products derived from biological models. Speck and Speck review how plant-based biomimetics have developed over time and elaborate on their current use. An interesting perspective from this review is the generalization of the biomimetic […]

Innovation, conservation, and repurposing of gene function in root cell type development (Cell)

Plants demonstrate a gorgeous diversity in cell types to adapt to their unique environments. Certain cell types, such as the epidermal, cortex, and vascular cells within plant roots, or the classically-defined root developmental zones (meristematic, elongation, and maturation), are homologous in angiosperms. However, how tightly they are conserved across species is unknown. To give insight […]

A biosensor for the direct visualization of auxin (Nature)

Auxin is an omnipresent, tryptophan-derived phytohormone that plays roles in innumerable physiological processes, so it is imperative to understand its distribution. Currently the best tools to do so employ the use of indirect sensors, such as the synthetic auxin-responsive promoter DR5. While invaluable, these tools suffer from being indirect. In addition, their readouts tend to […]

Integration of cell growth and asymmetric division during lateral root initiation in Arabidopsis thaliana (bioRxiv)

Lateral roots continually form and develop out of the primary root throughout the plant’s lifetime, enabling the root system to optimize its development to its environment. In this study, Schütz et al. used light-sheet microscopy to generate 4D movies of Arabidopsis lateral root primordia expressing markers to label the plasma membranes and nuclei. The images […]

Coordination between microbiota and root endodermis supports plant mineral nutrient homeostasis (Science)

Roots have been described as the gut of the plant, as they are the main interface for nutrient and water intake from their surrounding environment. This interface is remarkably complex. Not only must the root allow for the proper diffusion of substances into the plant, but by virtue of being constantly exposed to an entire […]

Effect of leaf temperature on the estimation of photosynthetic and other traits of wheat leaves from hyperspectral reflectance (J. Exp. Bot.)

Efficient phenotyping is important for plant breeding. For wheat, leaf reflectance spectra can be used to calculate leaf traits that impact crop yield, particularly constituent (leaf mass per area, nitrogen/chlorophyll content) and physiological (Rubisco carboxylation activity, electron transport rate, respiration rate) traits. However, experiments and models that correlate leaf reflectance spectra with these phenotypes have […]