Recent Posts

A mutualistic interaction between Streptomyces bacteria, strawberry plants and pollinating bees (Nature Comms)

Some species of Streptomyces bacteria produce antimicrobial compounds that have been shown to enhance plant resistance to pathogens. Kim et al. show that his protection can extend to a pollinator.  The Streptomyces defends the plant against Botrytis cinerea and protects the bees against insect pathogens…

Ongoing accumulation of plant diversity through habitat connectivity in an 18-year experiment ($) (Science)

During the course of time, we have realized the importance of biodiversity for the maintenance of the ecosystem. However, the world has already been fragmented in small parts which resulted in a huge loss of habitat and threatening to biodiversity. Habitat connectivity, which means the degree to which…

Insect herbivory selects for volatile-mediated plant-plant communication ($) (Current Biology)

Plants release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in response to insect herbivory. The potential for VOCs to serve as diffusible signals has long been recognized. For example, VOCs can signal neighbors to prime for defense, signal distant parts of the emitting plant, and even attract predatory insects…

Genome editing retraces the evolution of toxin resistance in the monarch butterfly ($) (Nature)

When a few species from several distantly related groups produce a similar but unusual trait, we usually assume that this trait is an example of convergent evolution; starting from different places but ending up at the same place. The ability to eat plants that produce cardiac glycosides, which are toxic…

Natural selection on the Arabidopsis thaliana genome in present and future climates (Nature)

The rapidly changing climate will have profound effects on Earth’s ecosystems, but as yet it is difficult to determine exactly what these effects will be. Exposito-Alonso et al. have set up a large experiment to try to identify how a population’s genetic diversity will enable it to survive a future…

Large-effect flowering time mutations reveal conditionally adaptive paths through fitness landscapes in Arabidopsis thaliana (PNAS)

We have a tendency to think of genes carrying mutations as having a negative impact on fitness, which raises the question of why they might persist in a population. Taylor et al. tested whether large-effect mutations that affect flowering time might not be detrimental in all conditions, by comparing…

Increased atmospheric vapor pressure deficit reduces global vegetation growth (Science Advances)

Plant scientists know that when the air at the leaf surface is dry, the plant will tend to close its stomata, but we tend to think of this as a relatively localized effect. Yuan et al. have explored the global trends in vapor pressure deficit (VPD; difference between saturated and real water content…

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…

Root development is maintained by specific bacteria-bacteria interactions (bioRxiv)

Understanding plant-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions is challening. Both kinds of interactions have significant impacts on plant health and nutritional uptake. Finkel et al. address how microbe-microbe interactions shape plant phenotypes by using the synthetic microbial community (SynCom) consisting…