Recent Posts

Review. Multicellular systems biology: Applying network science to plant organ patterning and function (Mol Plant)

I really enjoyed this review article, which very successfully introduces the reader to the why and how of how to apply network science to plant science. Bassel never veers off into abstraction or “math-speak”, but instead roots his explanations in familiar biological or ordinary terms. As an example,…

Flavor-cyber-agriculture: Metabolite optimization through surrogate modeling (PLOS One)

Cyber-agriculture is a computer-controlled plant growing environment which regulates climatic conditions through machine learning, finding optimized variables (“recipes”) to maximize a specific plant trait. Here, Johnson et al. applied cyber-agriculture to chemotype optimization for flavor in basil…

Metabolism gene prediction using diversiform molecular features (PNAS)

Advances in sequencing technologies enable scientists to obtain molecular features of genes in high-dimensionality. Features of individual gene like expression, methylation, histone modification, evolutionary signals and sequence itself provide high resolution for distinguishing annotated genes. In plant…

Cell geometry determines symmetric and asymmetric division plane selection in Arabidopsis early embryos (PLOS Comp Biol)

Cells proliferate via symmetric divisions while asymmetric divisions are associated with new cell types, layers and developmental patterns. The correct orientation of cell divisions planes is required for plant tissue architecture and organ morphogenesis. In plants, previous attempts to predict division…

Global topological order emerges through local mechanical control of cell divisions in the Arabidopsis shoot apical meristem (Cell Systems)

In plants, the final shape of organs depends on how and when the cells divide. To get some insights about the rules governing this process, Jackson et al. applied network science to study the cell organization dynamics in the shoot apical meristem (SAM). They studied the L1, L2 and L3 cell layers in…

Global plant–symbiont organization and emergence of biogeochemical cycles resolved by evolution-based trait modelling (Nature Ecol Evol)

Most plants depend on microbial partners (symbionts) to help them take up nutrients from the soil. Lu and Hedin set out to identify how these plant-symbiont partnerships contribute to plant distributions and biogeochemical cycles, using an evolution-based modelling approach. The model takes into account…

Proteome-wide, structure-based prediction of protein-protein interactions (Plant Physiol)

Genomics and transcriptomics have brought huge advances in understanding of plant science, but proteomics is both more challenging and in some ways more relevant to understand what is happening inside of a cell. Proteins function largely through their interactions with other proteins, so it is important…

Review: How to analyse plant phenotypic plasticity in response to a changing climate

Phenotypic plasticity, or the ability to change in response to the environment, is one of the most characteristic (and to me, endearing) qualities of plants. As Arnold et al. observe, it is also one of the most important in terms of future climate change; phenotypic plasticity will mean the difference…

Arabidopsis bioinformatics resources: Current state, challenges, and priorities for the future (Plant Direct)

Future research success demands that data are reliable, accessible and shareable. This means that as types and magnitudes of data change, best practices for how data are collected and stored must be regularly updated. Following a focused workshop, the International Arabidopsis Informatics Consortium…