Recent Posts

Nanoscale movements of cellulose microfibrils in primary cell walls ($)

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Cell walls are complex mixtures of cellulose microfibrils, proteins and other materials. Their mechanical properties can be measured and modeled, but it is not always simple to translate these measurements to changes at the molecular level. Zhang et al. used atomic force microscopy to provide an unprecedented…

As drought destroys maize, Zimbabwe tries out new staples

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JAMBEZI, Zimbabwe, Sept 11 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - For more than 20 years, Dalarex Ncube grew maize in arid Jambezi District, one of Zimbabwe's driest regions, and his family ate maize porridge, the national staple. But seven years ago, he began switching to growing sorghum and millet - both…

New York Times profile of Nobel Laureate Tu Youyou, discoverer of artemisinin

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What better advertisement for plant sciences than an important drug developed from plants, and recognition of that achievement by a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine? Source: New York Times, October 6, 2015 View full article

Weed to Wonder: Teosinite to Corn (e-book/app)

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The story of how humans changed corn and how corn changed human history. Topics include domestication, hybrid vigor, genome sequencing, jumping genes, and biofortification. The Weed to Wonder site is a flexible "e-book" that can be viewed as a website, an app, or a printable PDF. The site features…

NPR: An Arbor Embolism? Why Trees Die In Drought

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NPR (National Public Radio) story from 2012 discusses how drought kills trees. Read full article

The hottest place on Earth is covered in wildflowers after heavy autumn rain (Washington Post w/ Video)

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In February 2016, Death Valley in California (the place where the hottest temperature ever was recorded) had a "superbloom" as millions of seeds of desert ephemeral plants germinated, leading to a massive floral bloom. See pictures and a video of this once-in-a-decade event. View full article

Scientific American: All 2.3 Million Species Are Mapped into a Single Circle of Life

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"Researchers from a dozen institutions recently completed a three-year effort to combine tens of thousands of trees into one diagram, most readable as a circle. The lines inside the circle represent all 2.3 million species that have been named. Biologists have genetic sequences for only about 5 percent…