Recent Posts

Breakthrough Technology: High-throughput phenotyping and QTL mapping of maize

Zhang et al. identify the goal of high-throughput phenotyping as to “bridge the gap between genomics and phenomics”. In this Breakthrough Technology report, they used automatic phenotyping to quantify more than 100 traits across 16 developmental stages in a maize recombinant inbred line population,…

Review: Coastal wetland blue carbon

Coastal wetlands (mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses) are important carbon sinks, in both biomass and soils. Howard et al. describe and quantify the carbon flow through these different coastal ecosystems, and their potentials as long-term carbon sinks. Unlike the open ocean, these coastal ecosystems…

Review: Developmental phase transitions in oxygen status ($)

Hypoxia is a condition in which oxygen availability is insuffient to support normal cellular functions. Hypoxia is often associated with stress such as flooding, and responses to hypoxia include increased glycolytic activity and fermentation. Considine et al. review the role lf hypoxia and tissue oxygen…

Review: Seed Coating: Science or Marketing Spin? ($)

To meet the Sustainable Development Goal 2, Zero hunger, degraded ecosystems should be brought under cultivation with quality seeds that have good germination and produce healthy seedling for vigorous plant population establishment. Seed technologies like seed coating with inoculants, germination promoters,…

Review: Plant diversity change across scales during the Anthropocene ($)

We’re living in the Anthropocene, a term that reflects the profound impact of human activities on Earth’s geology and ecology. A hallmark of the Anthropocene is  a decrease in biodiversity due to an increase in the rate of extinctions. Vellend et al. examine the plant diversity has been affected…

How can genomics help neglected crops fight disease?

Guest post by Kelsey Wood (@klsywd) a PhD student researching the genetics and genomics of plant-pathogen interactions at the University of California, Davis. I recently attended a Plant Pathology symposium on “Genomics Strategies for Developing Sustainable Disease Resistance for Neglected Crops…

Exploring education resources focused on medicinal plants and ethnobotany

Medicinal plants, which the majority of people use to some degree for their health needs, provide a platform for engaging students in scientific inquiry. Straus & Chudler present an overview of online teaching resources focused on medicinal plants and ethnobotany. The sites highlighted provide a…

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;…

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…