Entries by Mary Williams

New Teaching Tool, “Computational Microscopy: Revealing Molecular Mechanisms in Plants Using Molecular Dynamics Simulations”

We’re excited to annouce the publication of The Plant Cell‘s latest Teaching Tool, “Computational Microscopy: Revealing Molecular Mechanisms in Plants Using Molecular Dynamics Simulations,” by Jiangyan Feng, Jiming Chen, Balaji Selvam, and Diwakar Shukla. Available without subscription at The Plant Cell (soon) and Plantae.org. DOWNLOAD THE RESOURCES HERE Virtually all processes in living organisms, from […]

Review: Genetic strategies for improving crop yields (Nature)

Simply put, as food demand increases due to population growth and increased affluence, crop yields are likely to decrease due to the changing climate. Plant scientists will be familiar with many research avenues that aim to address this disconnect, ranging from increasing crop resilience to abiotic stresses, improving nutrient use efficiencies, and decreasing loss to […]

Overexpression of zmm28 increases maize grain yield in the field (PNAS)

This study, from scientists at Corteva Agriscience, demonstrates a yield boost in transgenic maize overexpressing a gene encoding a transcription factor. Expression of zmm28, a maize MADS-box transcription factor gene, is elevated through fusion to a maize GOS2 promoter, which provides moderate, constitutive expression in all cell types (GOS2 encodes a translation-initiation factor). The authors […]

A large transposon insertion in the stiff1 promoter increases stalk strength in maize (Plant Cell)

We all know the importance of staying upright, especially for our grass crops. Here, Zhang et al. identified a gene underlying a large-effect quantitative trait locus that confers stiff stalks, so prevents lodging. They show that the stiff-stock allele carries a large transposon that strongly represses expression of the encoded F-box protein. Lines carrying this […]

Plant Science Research Weekly: November 15

Review: Genetic strategies for improving crop yields Simply put, as food demand increases due to population growth and increased affluence, crop yields are likely to decrease due to the changing climate. Plant scientists will be familiar with many research avenues that aim to address this disconnect, ranging from increasing crop resilience to abiotic stresses, improving […]

Review: Exchange of small regulatory RNAs between plants and their pests (Plant Physiol)

Trans-species small RNAs are the latest class in the family of signals that move between plants and their attackers. Hudzik et al. review this topic, covering small RNAs that move from plant to pest and from pest to plant. The transmitted RNAs function by interfering with gene expression in the recipient. Naturally-occurring plant-produced small RNAs […]

Review: Mosses in biotechnology (Curr. Opin. Biotechnol.)

Plant biotechnology often refers to crops and, more recently, algae, but biotechnology also applies to mosses. As Decker and Reski summarize, mosses have some of the same desirable features as algae, including a largely haploid lifecycle that facilitates genetic studies (including homologous recombination and gene editing), and culturability in photobioreactors. To date, moss biotech has […]

Machine learning enables high-throughput phenotyping for analyses of the genetic architecture of bulliform cell patterning in maize (G3)

Bulliform cells lie in rows along the upper (adaxial) surface of the maize leaf, and through changes in volume contribute to leaf-rolling, which is a response to water deficit. Several mutants have been identified that affect bulliform cell formation and function, but as yet their occurance in natural populations have not been investigated. One limitation […]

A MYC-dependent transcription factor network regulates water spray-responsive gene expression and jasmonate levels ($) (PNAS)

Plants perceive and respond to touch and other physical contact including wounding. Van Moerkercke et al. explored the network of rapid gene responses to a gentle water spray, simulating rainfall. Many of these mecho-induced genes are also responsive to jasmonate, the hormone involved in response to herbivory. A high proportion encode transcription factors (TFs), including […]