Entries by Mary Williams

Pushing back the dawn of life

Our understandings of the forces that have shaped Earth and the forces that have shaped life on Earth have common roots. Charles Darwin was famously inspired by the work of early geologists such as Charles Lyell, who proposed that Earth was subject to slow but gradual change. This idea recurs in Darwin’s insights about evolution […]

GARNet2016 CRISPR/Cas workshop presentation

Slides from the recent CRISPR/Cas workshop held at the GARNet2016 meeting are now available to download. Organized by Vladimir Nekrasov and Amanda Hopes (The Sainsbury Laboratory/University of East Anglia, UK), the workshop title was, “Introduction to CRISPR-Cas, troubleshooting target design and verification of mutants.” The meeting included: 1. Introduction on CRISPR/Cas as a tool for genome editing […]

Did a Swedish researcher eat the first CRISPR meal ever served?

From Science, By Jon Cohen Sep. 7, 2016 http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/09/did-swedish-researcher-eat-first-crispr-meal-ever-served In what Swedish plant scientist Stefan Jansson declares “maybe” a historic event, he cultivated, grew, and ate a plant that had its genome edited with CRISPR-Cas9. Umeå University, where Jansson studies how trees know it’s autumn and how proteins allow plants to harvest light, released a […]

Mining the Gap: Assessing Leadership Needs to Improve 21st Century Plant Pathology

Plant pathologists like all other scientists are imparted scientific knowledge and technical expertise, building the educational side of their career. Beckerman and Schneider emphasize the pressing needs of teaching ‘soft skills’ scientists need in order to improve their leadership and professional management abilities in advancing their careers. The authors emphasize the strategic inclusion of ‘soft […]

Adaptive evolution of complex traits explored through genome biogeography

It has been stated that adaptive evolution occurs in plant populations with respect to various complex traits. Olofsson et al. validated the hypothesis that different components of a complex trait can evolve in isolation and later be combined by gene flow by using C4 photosynthesis as a study system. Local adaptations might fix certain alleles […]

E/quality and Diversity

Recently, I was asked it if is ethical to give a job to a woman rather than to a man of higher quality. I replied, “How do we measure “quality”? This is the longer answer that I didn’t have time to provide. The opinions expressed are my own. Achievement does not equal quality Imagining that […]

Transcript, protein and metabolite dynamics in CAM-plant Agave ($)

Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a specialized form of photosynthesis that greatly increases water-use efficiency by taking up CO2 through stomata that are open at night (when evapotranspiration is low). Engineering plants that can switch to CAM during periods of drought is a key goal towards improving agricultural water efficiency, but how CAM plants achieve […]

Construction of a male sterility system for hybrid rice production via nuclear male sterility gene

Traditionally, the production of hybrid maize seed involved the removal of male flowers to prevent self-fertilization of the female flowers. Rice produces bisexual flowers, so mechanical emasculation is not as amenable. Therefore, hybrid rice production requires that the female parent be genetically male sterile. There are several tactics to achieve this including conditional male sterility […]

Bacteria establish an aqueous living space in plants crucial for virulence ($)

Although it is widely accepted that high humidity has a strong influence on plant diseases of the phyllosphere (the above-ground portions of the plant), the molecular basis is not understood.  Xin et al. report that an important step in bacterial infection of the phyllosphere is a pathogen-driven humidity-dependent establishment of an aqueous intercellular space (apoplast). The authors […]