Recent Posts

Technical Advance: A robust, high-throughput method for computing maize ear, cob and kernel attributes automatically from images

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The yield of a maize plant is correlated with the size, shape and number of kernels it produces. Miller et al. have developed an automated system to quantify these crucial attributes from photographs of kernels both on and off the cob. Their methods will enable researchers and breeders to record…

Commentary: Chemical nature of the root-shoot signals

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Unravelling the mechanism and signals originating from roots and able to contribute to stomatal control has been the subject of research for decades. In this commentary, Tardieu summarizes and discusses many studies and models on root-shoot signals, including work in the same issue by Visentin et…

Review: Advances on plant-pathogen interactions from molecular through systems biology perspectives ($)

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In an interesting and accessible review, Peyraud et al. provide a big-picture view of how systems biology can be used to address plant-pathogen interactions. They describe the core interactions scaling from molecular to ecosystem / environment, and describe the different types of models that can…

Review: Applications of plant volatile-mediated signaling

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Smell is one of the many senses that insects use to locate the plants that they use as food sources. Plants have evolved ways to exploit insects’ sense of smell, for example by producing volatile compounds that attract pollinators. Pickett and Khan review plant volatile–mediated signals in terms…

Review: Programmed Cell Death in Development and Disease

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Programmed cell death (PCD) is an active process that occurs as part of normal development and also contributes to defense against pathogens. While there are many similarities in developmental PCD (dPCD) and pathogen-triggered PCD (pPCD), there are also differences. Huysmans et al. review and contrast…

Genome editing in maize directed by CRISPR–Cas9 ribonucleoprotein complexes

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Svitashev et al. demonstrate a new way to introduce CRISPR-Cas9 reagents into a plant cell, through the biolistic delivery of pre-assembled Cas9-gRNA ribonucleoproteins. This approach was successful in the production of engineered plants, and also demonstrated that this method can be done in a DNA- and…

Improving carotenoid production in synthetic maize through data-driven mathematical modeling ($)

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Carotenoids are nutritionally important phytonutrients. Comas et al. describe a strategy to enhance the production of cartotenoids in the seed endosperm. They start with quantitative metabolomics and gene expression data which they feed into mathematical models to determine which gene(s) need to be engineered.…

Review: Biotechnology and synthetic biology approaches for metabolic engineering of bioenergy crops

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Shih et al. review how the many and diverse tools of plant synthetic biology can be applied towards bioenergy crops, focusing on traits related to lignocellulose, oil, and soluble sugars. Tools include those that edit genes, those that alter protein activities, and those that enable gene stacking in…

Review: Plant synthetic biology for molecular engineering of signalling and development

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Nemhauser and Torii define synthetic biology as “an engineering approach to design, build and analyize dynamic molecular devices and/or pathways from biological components to produce cells and organisms with customized functionality.” In their review, they describe several plant synthetic biology…