Entries by Isabel Mendoza

New approaches to optimize somatic embryogenesis in maritime pine (Front Plant Sci)

Pinus pinaster Aiton, commonly known as maritime pine, is a coniferous tree, native to the Mediterranean region, and presently used as a model plant when studying coniferous trees due to the interest in its environmental adaptability. Maritime pine breeding programs use somatic embryogenesis, a biotechnological process in which a plant embryo is derived from a somatic plant […]

EU regulatory approach to directed mutagenesis: consequences for international trade and potential steps forward (New Phytol)

The seed sector, and particularly plant breeders, are responsible for providing farmers with new plant varieties able to overcome challenges such as climate change, water restrictions or plant pests. In order to do their job, breeders have a collection of tools at their disposal. Among these are traditional randomly induced mutagenesis and, since the 1970s, […]

Alternate careers after PhD

Part of the “Self Reflection” series by and for early-career researchers These chapter of the “Self-reflection Series” was conceived to provide an insight for early-career scientist into options after defending their PhD dissertation, especially because many natural science degrees are (almost) exclusively academia oriented. When I first began in the university for my Biochemistry degree it […]

Scientists on Twitter: Preaching to the choir or singing from the rooftops?

Science communication is as old as science itself, reaching even best-selling levels with some extraordinary examples such as “On the Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin or “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes” by Stephen Hawking. Currently, and thanks to social media, communication including science communication is incredibly accelerated. […]

Balancing professional and personal life

Part of the “Self Reflection” series by and for early-career researchers Scientists are sometimes obsessive with their work: this is both a cliché and many times a reality, at least during certain periods of their professional life. The infamous “Publish or perish” saying comes to mind. However, this behavior is most of the time not by […]

Opinion: Non-mycorrhizal Plants: The exceptions that prove the rule (TIPS)

Most vascular plants establish in their roots a multifunctional symbiosis with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi.  Among the 29% that do not host AM fungi are 66-92%  of the members of the Brassicaceae family, including some major crops (broccoli, oilseed rape) as well as the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.  Although Arabidopsis is considered a non-host, conditional […]

Insight: The impact of domestication and crop improvement on arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis in cereals (New Phytol)

Cereals, such as rice, maize, wheat and sorghum are the nutritional base for many human societies, accounting for over 50% of the global caloric intake. Therefore, sustainability of (cereal) agriculture and quality of the cereals consumed is a great concern. This has led to an increasing interest into the potential benefit of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) […]

Impact of genetically engineered maize on agronomic, environmental and toxicological traits (Sci. Rep.)

The question of the relative risks and benefits of genetically engineered (GE) maize is still in the middle of a heated debate, despite the widespread cultivation of GE crops (12% of the global crop-land) and long standing commercialization (since 1996).  Pellegrino et al. report a meta-analysis of the existing data on the GE maize related […]

Review: The pivotal role of ethylene in plant growth (Trends Plant Sci)

Phytohormones, their ratios and gradients, regulate plant development to allow them to adapt to environment changes.  Ethylene, one such hormone, is produced in response to a multitude of stresses: biotic, osmotic, flooding, drought or even shading by neighbors. Dubois et al. report in this review how ethylene specifically regulates plant growth, mainly focussing in leaves. […]