Entries by Mary Williams

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 I first saw plant […]

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 underrepresented groups better supports the advancement of women and minorities”, and “Research also […]

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 cell wall. Suppression of disease is due to Xa4’s effects on […]

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 (GWAS) to query an initial population of nearly 5000 diverse […]

Molecular signals for regeneration ($)

Every gardener knows that pulling off a shoot is not sufficient to kill a plant. Plants are able to reprogram cells in order to regenerate missing tissues. Pulling off a shoot removes photosynthetic tissues, but the root responds by activating chloroplasts to take over this role. Kobayashi et al. (Plant Physiol. 10.​1104/​pp.​16.​01368) examine the signals […]

A novel chemical inhibitor of ABA signaling targets all ABA receptors

Chemical genetics is an approach that enables small molecules with specific effects on phenotypes to be identified. Through a screen for small molecules that would reverse the inhibitory effect of ABA on seed germination, Ye et al. identified AA1 (ABA Antagonist 1). AA1 interferes with the interaction between all of the ABA PYR-PYL receptors and […]

Review: Stomatal development in time: the past and the future ($)

Stomata, epidermal pores for gas exchange, first appeared about 400 million years ago. Since then, there has been functional and structural diversification. Qu et al. synthesize the developmental genetics underpinning diverse stomata, spanning from bryophytes through monocots and the astomatous (without stomata) marine angiosperms, as revealed by seagrass. Curr. Opin. Genet. Devel. 10.1016/j.gde.2017.02.001

Meeting Review: Auxin 2016 ($)

Vernoux and Robert discuss research presented at the Auxin 2016 meeting, held in October 2016 on the island of Hainan, China. The result is a nice review of very current research, spanning auxin metabolism and signaling, the role of auxin in development, interactions between auxin and other signals, and modeling and synthetic biology approaches to […]

Reviews: Challenges in bacterial molecular plant pathology

Molecular Plant Pathology has released a new series of free reviews on “Challenges in Bacterial Molecular Plant Pathology.” Topics so far: Morris et al. Frontiers for research on the ecology of plant-pathogenic bacteria: fundamentals for sustainability 1111/mpp.12508 Pfeilmeier et al. Bacterial pathogenesis of plants: future challenges from a microbial perspective 1111/mpp.12427 Sundin et al. Bacterial […]