Recent Posts

Review: Evolutionary perspective on auxin’s role in shoot branching

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Shoot branching increases the photosynthetic surface area and the points at which reproductive structures can form. In angiosperms, auxin (specifically, auxin depletion) has been shown to be involved in the initiation and outgrowth of shoot branches. For example, in apical dominance the primary shoot…

Review: Endosperm and Imprinting

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"The endosperm is often viewed as a complicated and rather strange tissue" begins this review by Gehring and Satyaki. They go on to describe that the endosperm is the site of expression of imprinted genes, which are genes that are expressed soley when inherited from the mother or father.  The authors…

Biofortification of plants: New Reviews ($)

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Biofortification is the nutritional enhancement (using conventional or genetic engineering approaches) of food with vitamins or micronutrients with the goal of improving the human diet. A set of new reviews in Current Opinion in Biotechnology summarizes progress towards biofortification of plants to…

Review: Plasmodesmata, pores between cells ($)

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The cytosol of most plant cells are connected by plasmodesmata, tiny channels that form bridges between adjoining cells (guard cells notably lack plasmodesmatal connections). Water, ions, small molecules, proteins and viruses can move through plasmodesmata. Upon wounding or infection, plasmodesmatal…

Mining the Gap: Assessing Leadership Needs to Improve 21st Century Plant Pathology

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Plant pathologists like all other scientists are imparted scientific knowledge and technical expertise, building the educational side of their career. Beckerman and Schneider emphasize the pressing needs of teaching ‘soft skills’ scientists need in order to improve their leadership and professional…

Adaptive evolution of complex traits explored through genome biogeography

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It has been stated that adaptive evolution occurs in plant populations with respect to various complex traits. Olofsson et al. validated the hypothesis that different components of a complex trait can evolve in isolation and later be combined by gene flow by using C4 photosynthesis as a study system.…

Transcript, protein and metabolite dynamics in CAM-plant Agave ($)

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Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a specialized form of photosynthesis that greatly increases water-use efficiency by taking up CO2 through stomata that are open at night (when evapotranspiration is low). Engineering plants that can switch to CAM during periods of drought is a key goal towards…

Construction of a male sterility system for hybrid rice production via nuclear male sterility gene

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Traditionally, the production of hybrid maize seed involved the removal of male flowers to prevent self-fertilization of the female flowers. Rice produces bisexual flowers, so mechanical emasculation is not as amenable. Therefore, hybrid rice production requires that the female parent be genetically…

Bacteria establish an aqueous living space in plants crucial for virulence ($)

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Although it is widely accepted that high humidity has a strong influence on plant diseases of the phyllosphere (the above-ground portions of the plant), the molecular basis is not understood.  Xin et al. report that an important step in bacterial infection of the phyllosphere is a pathogen-driven…