Entries by Mary Williams

Base-editing-mediated artificial evolution of OsALS1 in planta to develop novel herbicide-tolerant rice germplasms (Mol. Plant)

The trait of herbicide tolerance allows farmers to use chemical means to eliminate weed competitors. Acetolactate synthase (ALS) is an enzyme targeted by more than 50 different herbicides. In order to generate novel herbicide tolerance traits, Kuang et al. used a base-editing artificial evolution approach, by targeting nucleotide-modifying enzymes (cytosine deaminase and adenosine deaminase) to […]

Two MYB proteins in a self-organizing activator-inhibitor system produce spotted pigmentation patterns (Curr. Biol.)

The questions of how patterns are formed is one of the oldest in biology, and even considered by the famous mathematician Alan Turing, who proposed that reaction-diffusion (RD) models underly de novo pattern formation. Briefly, a reaction that takes place in one place sends a signal that leads to a different effect. A new paper […]

Mildew Locus O facilitates colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in angiosperms (New Phytol.)

In plants, disease resistance genes typically act in a dominant way – the presence of a resistance allele, even a single copy, is enough to confer resistance. The barley gene Mildew Resistance Locus O (MLO1) is different, as it acts in a recessive way; loss-of-function mlo1 plants are resistant to the pathogenic powdery mildew fungus. […]

Some mycoheterotrophic orchids depend on carbon from deadwood: novel evidence from a radiocarbon approach (New Phytol.)

A mycoheterotrophic (“fungal-other-eating”) plant takes carbon nutrients from a fungus, but as fungi are not themselves photosynthetic, the (ectomycorrhizal) fungus must get its carbon from somewhere, usually a plant. Thus the typical flow of carbon goes from autotrophic photosynthesizing plant to fungus to mycoheterotrophic plant. Now, using carbon dating, Suetsugu et al. have shown that […]

Plant Science Research Weekly: March 7

Review: How mycorrhizal associations drive plant population and community biology ($) Great strides have been made in discovering the molecular players that allow plants and mycorrhizal fungi to establish their symbiosis. Here, Tedersoo et al. look beyond the single plant and address how these associations affect plant communities. Notably, they review the functions of the […]

Review: Crop phenomics and high-throughput phenotyping (Mol. Plant)

Crop phenomics has lagged behind crop genomics because traditional methods are time-consuming, expensive, invasive and subjective. Recently, high-throughput, automated, sensor and machine-vision methods have been developed, as reviewed by Yang et al. This review describes a large number of phenotyping platforms, including the early efforts, and compares their applications, strengths and weakenesses. (It’s interesting to […]

Metabolic labeling of RNAs uncovers hidden features and dynamics of the Arabidopsis transcriptome (Plant Cell)

The ability to directly sequence RNAs (RNA-seq) has revolutionized our understanding of gene expression, but it can miss or underestimate short-lived RNAs. Several methods have been developed to identify newly-synthesized mRNAs to provide a snapshot of transcription as it happens. Szabo present Neu-seq, an in vivo pulse-labeling method using a non-toxic uridine analog (5-EU; 5-ethynyl […]