Recent Posts

Nanoscale movements of cellulose microfibrils in primary cell walls ($)

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Cell walls are complex mixtures of cellulose microfibrils, proteins and other materials. Their mechanical properties can be measured and modeled, but it is not always simple to translate these measurements to changes at the molecular level. Zhang et al. used atomic force microscopy to provide an unprecedented…

Wheat yield potential in controlled-environment vertical farms (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA)

When I think of vertical farms, I imagine baby lettuces and basil: small, leaf crops that benefit from growing close to the consumer. Here, Asseng et al. evaluate the potential to grow wheat, a staple seed crop, in a vertical farm system. Previous studies have demonstrated that wheat can be grown successfully…

Natural variations at the Stay-Green gene promoter control lifespan and yield in rice cultivars (Nature Comms)

Crop production is greatly influenced by the duration of the last stage of plant life cycle, senescence, through degradation of resources in leaves and remobilization of nutrients to developing seeds. Indeed, higher grain yield of important cereals such as maize and sorghum can be achieved by using stay-green…

ARGONAUTE2 enhances grain length and salt tolerance by activating BIG GRAIN3 to modulate cytokinin distribution in rice (Plant Cell)

Is it possible to simultaneously increase two incompatible features like grain yield and stress tolerance? Yin et al. suggest that optimizing cytokinin distribution in plant tissues is a promising strategy for that. ARGONAUTE2 (AGO2) and BIG GRAIN3 (BG3) genes work together promoting at the same time…

Farming plant cooperation in crops (Proc. R. Soc. B.)

If you want a great plant, select for a strong, vigorous, high-yielding individual; this is also the outcome of natural selection. But if you want a great field of plants, these traits may not be as suitable, because the plants will expend energy competing between themselves. When seeds from many plants…

Assessing the sustainability of post-Green Revolution cereals in India ($) (PNAS)

The major objectives of sustainable agriculture are to fulfill food requirements, maintain a safe environment and profitable economy, and withstand climate change. Here, Davis et al. discuss a multidimensional approach to achieve sustainable agriculture in India by transitioning some areas from growing…