Recent Posts

Electrical and hormonal signals of prey capture in sundew ($)

Without eyes, mouths or noses, how do carnivorous plants know that they’ve captured prey? Previous studies in various carnivorous species have shown that electrical signals as well as the jasmonate defense hormones contribute to prey detection. Krausko et al. examined these signals in leaves of the…

Convergence in the molecular basis of carnivory

Cephalotus follicularis is a heterophyllous pitcher plant that makes two types of leaves, carnivorous and non-carnivorous. By growing plants at different temperatures, Fukushima et al. were able to get plants to produce one of the two leaf forms. They sequenced the plant’s genome and compared transcriptomes…

Rewiring carotenoid biosynthesis in plants using a viral vector

A healthy human diet should include phytonutrients such as carotenoids. Several approaches including classical breeding and transgenic plant production have been used to increase carotenoid abundance in plant tissues; challenges to these approaches include feedback controls, cell toxicity due to abnormally…

Orchidstra 2.0 – A transcriptomics resource for the orchid family ($)

There are more than 25,000 species in the Orchidaceae, the orchid family. Chao et al. have updated and restructured the Orchidstra database, which now houses more than half-a million protein-coding genes from 18 species (12 genera and five subfamilies). Access and explore it at http://orchidstra2.abrc.sinica.edu.tw.…

MarpoDB: An open registry for Marchantia polymorpha genetic parts

Marchantia polymorpha (a liverwort) is a living relative of the earliest terrestrial plants. As it has a simple genome and morphology and is readily transformable, it provides a good platform for synthetic biology (see https://www.openplant.org/marchantia/). Delmans et al. have designed an “engineering-oriented”…

Protein degradation rate in Arabidopsis thaliana leaf growth and development

Protein synthesis is an energetically-demanding process, made even more so by the fact that many proteins have a short half-life and must be repeatedly synthesized and degraded. Using a 15N-labeling approach, Li et al. determined the in vivo half-life for more than 1200 Arabidopsis leaf proteins; these…

Contrasting phytochrome responses in wild plants

Shade avoidance syndrome (SAS) is a growth pattern in which stem and petiole elongation is stimulated in plants exposed to vegetative shade, as revealed through a low ratio of red to far-red light perceived by phytochrome; red light is absorbed by chlorophyll, leading to a far-red enrichment in light…

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…