Recent Posts

RecQ Proteins: Masters of Genome Surveillance

Wiedemann et al. show that RecQ6 in Physcomitrella enhances homologous recombination and gene targeting https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.006372.  Background: All living cells have mechanisms to protect their DNA against breaks during duplication and against damage by UV-light or chemicals. RecQ helicases…

Update: The role of trehalose 6-phosphate in crop yield and resilience

By Matthew J. Paul, Asier Gonzalez-Uriarte, Cara A. Griffiths, and Keywan Hassani-Pak Significant increases in global food security require improving crop yields in favourable and poor conditions alike. However, it is challenging to increase both the crop yield potential and yield resilience simultaneously,…

Unleashing meiotic crossovers in hybrid plants ($) (PNAS)

To generate new plant varieties with desirable traits, plant geneticists cross existing varieties that contain the characters they want to combine. The genetic variability is obtained thanks to events called crossovers, in which segments of homologous chromosomes are swapped during meiosis. The frequency…

A family of small, cyclic peptides buried in preproalbumin since the Eocene epoch (Plant Direct)

Small cyclic peptides are produced in many organisms; some are produced by ribosomes and others not. Fisher et al. explore a class of small cyclic peptides known as orbitides, which have been identified in plants of Asteroideae subfamily of the plant family Asteraceae. The fact that these are abundant…

Impact of genetically engineered maize on agronomic, environmental and toxicological traits (Sci. Rep.)

The question of the relative risks and benefits of genetically engineered (GE) maize is still in the middle of a heated debate, despite the widespread cultivation of GE crops (12% of the global crop-land) and long standing commercialization (since 1996).  Pellegrino et al. report a meta-analysis of…

REVIEW Cryobiotechnology of apple (Malus spp.) (Plant Cell Rep.) ($)

Apple  (Malus spp.) is an economically important tree that faces, like other crops cultured in temperate regions, remarkable challenges due to climate change such as abiotic (drought and salinity) and biotic (fungi, bacteria and aphids) stresses. For that, there is increasing need to preserve Malus…

Regeneration of different genotypes of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) via somatic embryogenesis (Sci. Hortic.) ($)

The global demand for cocoa (from Theobroma cacao) has been increasing, but production has not kept up with demand due to global climate change, pest and disease issues, and low productivity due to old cocoa trees. Currently, grafting and seeds (produced by cross-pollination) are used to propagate cocoa,…

Conservation of Genomic Imprinting during Wheat Polyploidization

Yang et al. discover conservation of genomic imprinting between closely related Triticum and Aegilops species. https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00837 By Guanghui Yang and Mingming Xin Background: Genomic imprinting causes genes to be differentially expressed depending on their parent-of-origin, which…

Gene duplication and aneuploidy trigger rapid evolution of herbicide resistance in common waterhemp

Plant Physiol. Herbicide resistance is a serious problem in contemporary agriculture. One of the most widely used herbicides, glyphosate, interferes with the activity of EPSPS (5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase). Koo et al. previously showed that glyphosate-resistant waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus,…