Recent Posts

One thousand plant transcriptomes and the phylogenomics of green plants (Nature)

With a collaborative effort by multiple laboratories across the world, a database of transcriptomics data has been generated for 1124 species encompassing green plants, glaucophytes, and red algae. This extensive work referred to as onekp (one thousand plant transcriptomes) will aid in researchers to…

Divergent gene expression networks underlie morphological diversity of abscission zones in grasses ($)

Grasses scatter their seeds through the process of cell abscission. Losing this trait, in a process known as loss of shattering, was an early step in the domestication of cereals. Interestingly, the abscission zone (AZ) is positionally and morphologically different in different cereals. In order to understand…

Single-cell genomics unveils an ectosymbiont cyanobacteria associated with a dinoflagellate host (PNAS)

Cyanobacteria are important contributors to global carbon fixation. They can be free-living in many different environments, but also form close symbiotic associations with various eukaryotic organisms. Nakayama et al. have idea identified a new type of cyanobacteria that lives as an ectosymbiont in a…

Perspective: Grazing animals drove domestication of grain crops (Nature Plants)

Here’s an interesting question: Without human intervention, why would one find a dense stand of plants, growing in rather nutrient-rich soil? Perhaps you recognized that these conditions suggest seed dispersal by endozoochory, which involves passage through an animal's digestive tract. Spengler and…

12 inquiry-based labs to explore the 12 principles of plant biology

The 12 Principles of Plant Biology are a framework to support understanding of the critical roles of plants to create, improve and sustain life These 12 inquiry-based activities were developed to support the teaching of plant biology, and are developed for use by students in middle school (approximately…

Origin of angiosperms and the puzzle of the Jurassic gap (Nature Plants)

Understanding the origin and evolution of flowering plants is key to explaining the development of major terrestrial ecosystems. The rapid diversification of angiosperms into over 360,000 extant species was famously termed ‘an abominable mystery’ by Charles Darwin. Here, Li et al reconstruct the…

Molecular digitization of 689 vascular plant species from the Ruili Botanical Garden (Giga Science)

Recent advances in genome sequencing have increased our understanding of plant evolution and provided insights into factors affecting agriculturally important traits (e.g., yield, stress tolerance). There is an impetus to increase the quantity and quality of genomes publically available with around 350…

Evolution of phytolith deposition in modern bryophytes (New Phytol) ($)

When monosilicic acid is present in the soil, many plants absorb it through their roots and precipitate rigid silica aggregates known as phytoliths. Phytolith deposition has been observed in all major groups of vascular plants, however the patterns of deposition in bryophytes are comparatively under…

A bidirectional switch controls sexual dimorphism in the liverwort (EMBO J)

Bryophytes spend most of their lifecycle in the haploid, gametophytic form, of which there are two types, male (sperm forming) and female (egg forming). Hisanaga et al. investigated the genetic basis that determines sex in the model liverwort Marchantia polymorpha. Their findings are fascinating. A single…