Entries by Mary Williams

American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) and Botanical Society of America (BSA) are recruiting 20 PlantingScience Fellows to participate in Digging Deeper Project

  Digging Deeper: Developing a Model for Collaborative Teacher/Scientist Professional Development Are you passionate about science education? Would you like to build connections with high school biology teachers and their students? Are you excited about an opportunity to share what’s so exciting about plants and science with the next generation? Did you receive valuable mentoring […]

Origins of the regular vegetation patterns described as Namibian fairy circles ($)

For decades, scientists have debated the origin of the strange patterns of grass growth known as fairy circles in the Namibian desert. Photographs show a strikingly regular pattern circles of bare ground surrounded by a ring of grass. One hypothesis is that these patterns form due to the action of insects; perhaps termites space themselves […]

A salivary endo-β-1,4-glucanase acts as an effector that enables the brown planthopper to feed on rice

The rice brown plant hopper (BPH) Nilaparvata lugens is a damaging herbivorous insect that sucks nutrients from phloem.  Previously, Ji et al. surveyed genes encoding putative secreted proteins from the BPH salivary gland and identified NlEIG1 as a putative endo-β-1,4-glucanase (cell-wall degrading enzyme). In this new work they showed that NlEIG1 is introduced into plant […]

MATRILINEAL, a sperm-specific phospholipase, triggers maize haploid induction ($)

Sexual reproduction, with all that recombination and independent assortment, is an excellent way to generate genetic diversity and increase the likelihood that some progeny will survive. However, the seed industry strives to produce genetically uniform seeds. Although there are various ways to circumvent sexual reproduction through the production of a double haploid, none are easy. […]

Entire photodamaged chloroplasts are transported to the central vacuole by autophagy

Autophagy is the process by which macromolecules and organelles are recycled. Previously it was shown that during leaf senescence or energy starvation, chloroplasts are degraded piecemeal by autophagy. In this work, Izumi et al. examined the role of autophagy in UVB damaged chloroplasts, using wild-type and autophagy-deficient mutants (atg2, atg5 and atg7). In wild-type plants, […]

An early-branching freshwater cyanobacterium at the origin of plastids ($)

Plastids are derived from an ancient endosymbiosis of a cyanobacterium, but which cyanobacteria are plastid’s nearest living relatives? Ponce-Toledo et al. generated an extensive phylogeny comprising numerous cyanobacteria and plastid-bearing eukaryotes (glaucophytes, red algae and green algae). Their data show that this nearest relative is the recently described freshwater cyanobacterium Gloeomargarita lithophora, which has a […]