Recent Posts

Review: Biogeochemical effects of early life on land

Earth colonization by life happened billions of years ago. Weathering of soils by microbial mats leave a characteristic signal that can be used to shed light on the mechanisms involved in colonization. In this review, Lenton and Daines discuss the growing mass of evidence that points to the biogeochemical…

Review: Endosperm and Imprinting

"The endosperm is often viewed as a complicated and rather strange tissue" begins this review by Gehring and Satyaki. They go on to describe that the endosperm is the site of expression of imprinted genes, which are genes that are expressed soley when inherited from the mother or father.  The authors…

Pushing back the dawn of life

Our understandings of the forces that have shaped Earth and the forces that have shaped life on Earth have common roots. Charles Darwin was famously inspired by the work of early geologists such as Charles Lyell, who proposed that Earth was subject to slow but gradual change. This idea recurs in Darwin’s…

Adaptive evolution of complex traits explored through genome biogeography

It has been stated that adaptive evolution occurs in plant populations with respect to various complex traits. Olofsson et al. validated the hypothesis that different components of a complex trait can evolve in isolation and later be combined by gene flow by using C4 photosynthesis as a study system.…

Commentary: Chemical nature of the root-shoot signals

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: Applications of plant volatile-mediated signaling

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…

From LUCA to Lily: 12 perspectives for teaching about plants

The other day I was talking to a friend about the need to demystify plants, so that teachers feel as confident in their teaching of plant biology as they do about animal biology. I wonder if sometimes we teach plants too much in isolation, so it’s not always clear how plants relate to other organisms…

Invisible No Longer: Peptidoglycan in Moss Chloroplasts

IN BRIEF by Nancy Hofmann nhofmann@aspb.org Most bacteria have a peptidoglycan layer between the inner and outer membranes (reviewed in Typas et al., 2012). The cyanobacterial endosymbiont that gave rise to plastids would have contained such a peptidoglycan wall including d-amino acids. Indeed, peptidoglycan…