Entries by Katie Rogers

From Golden Rice to aSTARice: Bioengineering astaxanthin biosynthesis in rice endosperm (Molecular Plant)

Zu et al., have successfully harnessed the power of synthetic biology to increase the nutritional content of rice by overexpressing only four synthetic genes in rice endosperm. Here, the authors have created a colorful gradient of carotenoid-enriched rice by expressing two, three, and then four genes involved in astaxanthin synthesis. Overexpressing phytoene synthase and phytoene […]

Review: The evolution of root branching: increasing the level of plasticity (J Exp Bot) ($)

Without roots, plants are unable to gain height due to poor anchorage and are less fit for survival outside of humid environments. Root branching allows plants to better adapt to their environmental conditions and improves their capability to forage for water and nutrients. In this review, Motte and Beeckman explore major differences in the way […]

Books for plant scientists

The holiday season is upon us! If you are looking for a good book to read and relax with, browse the Plantae Bookshelf Network to find your next favorite. In this post, Juniper Kiss has compiled a list of some of your 2018 favorites including, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh by Carl Zimmer, The Food […]

Greatly enhanced removal of volatile organic carcinogens by a genetically modified houseplant ($)

Plants provide us with food, fiber, shelter, medicine, and fuel. In the process, they also release the oxygen that we breathe. Now, they can also help remove carcinogens from our homes. Zhang et al., have developed a genetically modified a common houseplant, Epipremnum aureum, pothos ivy, that can remove chloroform and benzene from the air […]

A femtomolar-range suicide germination stimulant for the parasitic plant Striga hermonthica (Science)($)

Striga hermonthica (Striga) parasitizes a wide range of crops including sorghum and rice, mainly  in sub-Saharan Africa. This parasite decreases crop yields and results in billions of dollars in economic damage. Striga seeds are numerous and remain dormant in the soil until prompted to germinate by the presence of host-generated hormones called strigolactones. Application of […]

Review: Long distance signlaing in plant stress response (COPB)

To compensate for their lack of a nervous system, vascular plants have developed complex mechanisms to connect their organs and coordinate stress. Many different types of molecules are involved in long-distance signaling and must be integrated to maintain homeostasis. In this review, Takahashi and Shinozaki explore current knowledge of plant molecules including small proteins, peptides, […]

An unexpected flower from the Jurassic of China (eLIFE)

The economic importance of angiosperms, whether for food, ornamentals, timber, pharmaceuticals, or any other commercial product is easy to prove. However, their origin is not. Evolutionary biologists have long debated the origin of flowering plants. Fu et al., have unearthed fossils from the Early Jurassic period that suggest angiosperms may have been here longer than […]

Primula vulgaris (primrose) genome, and the heterostyly supergene (Sci. Reports)

Floral heteromorphy (differences in form) in Primula has long been of interest to plant biologists. Over 150 years ago, Charles Darwin recognized the importance of this floral anatomy for promoting cross-pollination. In heterostylous Primula species, plants produce either, pin or thrum flowers. Pins have a long style and low anthers, whereas thrums have a short […]

Pivotal roles of cryptochromes 1a and 2 in tomato development and physiology (Plant Phys)

Cryptochromes are a class of flavoproteins found in plants and animals that are sensitive to blue light. In Arabidopsis, cryptochromes are involved in many important physiological processes including de-etiolation, flowering, circadian rhythms, cotyledon opening and expansion, anthocyanin accumulation, and root growth. In economically important crops, these photoreceptors could be manipulated to influence horticultural traits such […]