Recent Posts

Iron acquisition and saline-alkaline tolerance in rice

Soil saline-alkalization is a major abiotic stress to agriculture worldwide, causing considerable damage to crop growth and loss of crop productivity. In alkaline soil, iron availability to plants also becomes very limiting. This paper explores the physiological and molecular mechanisms of rice plant’s…

Epigenetic regulation of sex determination in polyploid persimmon

Although most flowering plants produce flowers with male and female parts, there are exceptions which are broadly classified as dioecious (two houses; each individual is male or female, usually associated with the presence of a sex chromosome) and monoecious (one house, separate male and female flowers…

A PNAS trio: DNA methylation and small RNAs in plant reproduction

Three PNAS papers explore DNA methylation and/or small RNAs in plant reproductive development. In angiosperms, sexual reproduction is accompanied by DNA demethylation in certain tissues, particularly those that have a nutritive or supporting role.  Park et al. (10.1073/pnas.1619047114) show that in…

Plant-permeable trehalose 6-phosphate analogues increase yield and resilience ($)

Trehalose-6-phosphate (T6P) is a sugar signaling molecule that regulates how plants allocate and use sucrose, which in turn affects stress resilience and yields. Griffiths et al. designed a plant-permeable, photo-activated T6P analogue that is converted to T6P in planta. Spraying this compound onto plants…

Opinion Paper: Bandwagons I, too, have known (reflections of a plant breeder) ($)

In this entertaining Opinion article written for the 150th anniversary of Mendel’s seminal work, Bernardo reviews “bandwagons” that have come and gone in plant breeding. Early bandwagons such as induced polyploidy are discussed, as well as more recent trends such as trangenics, molecular markers…

J. Exp. Bot. Special Issue: Making Connections: Plant Vascular Tissue Development

The Journal of Experimental Botany has a special issue on vascular development that features several outstanding review and opinion articles. Topics include Evolution of Conducting Cells, Regulation of Vascular Cell Division, overviews of hormones, peptide signals, receptors and transcription factors…

Review: History of Solanaceae family in genetic research

Plants from the Solanaceae family had, and continue to have, fundamental roles in plant genetic research.  Gebhardt summarizes the historical contributions of the Solanaceous plants tomato, tobacco, petunia, potato, pepper, and eggplant.  The tomato has been a model plant for studying fruit traits…

Sub-Antarctic plants warm up themselves

High latitude and altitude plants experience short growing seasons, consistent low temperatures, windy environments and unpredictable sunny spots. These plants are usually small and rely on self-pollination, but in Campbell, a Sub-Antarctic island, there are gardens of megaherbs that defy the predictions…

Evolution of fruit types in the Rosaceae family

The evolution of fruits might have been the most important feature that made angiosperms so successful. Fruits protect seeds and contribute to seed dispersal, as well as comprise a food source for humans and other animals, therefore, studying their evolution would help us shed light on the evolution…