Recent Posts

Review: Potential applications of plant biotechnology against SARS-CoV-2 (Trends Plant Sci.)

For those of you about to start teaching again, here’s a great article to share with your plant science students, showcasing the ways that plant biologists are contributing to the international efforts to develop diagnostic reagents, vaccines, and antiviral drugs to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic.…

Modifying plant photosynthesis and growth via simultaneous chloroplast transformation of Rubisco large and small subunits (Plant Cell)

In an interesting evolutionary artifact, the genes encoding the small subunit of Rubisco, rbcS, reside in the nuclear genome, whilst those encoding RbcL persists in the chloroplast. The RbcS protein is translocated into the chloroplast where the holoenzyme forms. This complexity adds to the challenge…

Optimizing PollenCounter for high throughput phenotyping of pollen quality in tomatoes (MethodsX)

PollenCounter is an open source, ImageJ based macro that splits RGB images of stained pollen grains into the primary channels. The program estimates pollen viability in plants through analyzing red (total number of pollen grains) and green (only viable pollen grains) images, after which the particles…

Review: Banishing barberry: The history of Berberis vulgaris prevalence and wheat stem rust incidence across Britain (Plant Pathology)

Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici (Pgt) has a strange life strategy in that it requires two hosts to complete its sexual life cycle; wheat and barberry. In the absence of barberry, it reproduces clonally; clonal reproduction limits its ability to generate diversity and therefore its ability to evade plant…

Identification of novel seed longevity genes by GWAS and reverse genetics (Plant Cell Environ.)

Seed longevity (i.e., the inherent lifespan of a seed) is a polygenic feature that demands the coordination of multiple biological processes, and that shapes the persistence of seeds in the soil and the time they can be stored ex situ. Recent studies on this trait highlight the role of the antioxidant…

Induced tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses of broccoli and Arabidopsis after treatment with elicitor molecules (Sci. Rep.)

Plant hormones such as jasmonates (JAs) and salicylic acid (SA) are known for their role in regulating plant growth under both abiotic and biotic stresses. These hormones, which are synthesized within the plant, can modulate cellular processes in targeted cells locally and can be moved to other parts…

A gene knock-out that leads to seedless parthenocarpic fruits in Solanaceae plants ($) (PNAS)

Parthenocarpy, or the ability to make fruit without fertilization, is desirable for many reasons including the opportunity to make seedless fruits and a greater resiliency in crop production in the face of climate change. Matsuo et al. identified a new gene involved in parthenocarpy, starting with a…

A chemical elicitor, 4- fluorophenoxyacetic acid suppresses insect pest populations and increases crop yields (PNAS)

Plant strengtheners, synthetic chemical elicitors, have been shown to enhance plant resistance against various insect pests without toxic effects on the environment, but evidence is lacking for a significant increase in crop growth and yield after using these elicitors. To address this, Wang et al. studied…

Accumulation of high value bioproducts in planta can improve the economics of advanced biofuels (PNAS)

Biofuels can be obtained from bioenergy crops such as sorghum, maize and sugarcane. However, the production of bioethanol is still more expensive than that of petroleum. Given the importance of replacing conventional fossil fuels with renewable liquid fuels, the biorefinery system should be improved…