Recent Posts

Review: Mosses in biotechnology (Curr. Opin. Biotechnol.)

Plant biotechnology often refers to crops and, more recently, algae, but biotechnology also applies to mosses. As Decker and Reski summarize, mosses have some of the same desirable features as algae, including a largely haploid lifecycle that facilitates genetic studies (including homologous recombination…

The greenhouse gas impacts of converting food production in England and Wales to organic methods (Nature Comms)

Many discussions about organic food production are dominated by dogma rather than pragmatism. Nevertheless, here’s a useful report that examines the impact of organic farming methods in England and Wales on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Are the well-documented lower yields offset by differences in…

Dynamic control of plant water use using designed ABA receptor agonists (Science)

ABA is synthesized in response to water stress and promotes stomatal closure, thus decreasing transpiration. Crop yields can be increased by controlling transpiration early in the growing season, ensuring that soil water resources persist through the seed-set period. Building upon earlier studies, Vaidya,…

Letter. The human health benefits from GM crops (Plant Biotech J)

If you’ve ever spoken publicly about GM crops, you’ve probably heard people express concern about how eating GM crops might affect their health. Smyth lays out a positive case for the human health benefits of GM crops, which will be a useful resource for science communicators. Here he focuses on…

Exploring the hydraulic failure hypothesis of esca leaf symptom formation (Plant Phys)

Esca is a leaf scorch (necrosis) disease of grapevine that causes tremendous yield losses. Bortolami et al. have investigated the etiology of this condition, which is known to be a consequence of fungal pathogen infection. But how exactly does the fungal infection contribute to the observed symptoms?…

Carbon nanotube-mediated DNA delivery in intact plants (Nature Protocols)

One promising use of nanomaterials is the delivery of biomolecules into cells. Demirer et al. report a detailed protocol for Carbon Nano Tube-mediated DNA delivery into intact plants, allowing transformation without transgene integration, that can be used in both model and crop species. In brief, carboxylated…

Editorial and Special Issue. Biotechnology of the sweetpotato: Ensuring global food and nutrition security in the face of climate change (Plant Cell Reports)

Global food security is increasingly threatened by expanding industrialization and skyrocketing human populations set in the backdrop of dramatically shifting environmental conditions due to climate change. Innovations in agricultural practices and technology are required to overcome the unprecedented…

Cannabis glandular trichomes alter morphology and metabolite content during flower maturation ($) (Plant J)

The therapeutic and recreational applications of Cannabis sativa (Cs) attract public and clinical interest thanks to its secondary metabolites (cannabinoids and terpenes) synthesized and stored in glandular trichomes, hair-like epidermal protrusion densely concentrated in the flowers. Little is known…

Glyphosate-based herbicide effectiveness can be maximized by considering plant circadian rhythms (Nature Comms)

Plants’ internal circadian clocks regulate the timing of many physiological and developmental processes. This circadian clock also controls plant sensitivity to the herbicide glyphosate, which is maximally effective at dawn. Here, Belbin et al. showed that the minimum effective dose varies with time…