Recent Posts

Natural Variation Reveals Interplay between C4 Biology and Water Use Efficiency

The year 2016 marked a half-century since the discovery of C4 photosynthesis, yet we still seek to elucidate many of the mechanisms underpinning the C4 cycle. Although C4 and C3 plants share molecular units involved in photosynthesis (Miyao, 2003; Kellogg, 2013), C4 plants have unique morphological traits…

Low Xylem Vulnerability in Oaks

Under conditions of drought stress, the continuous column of water in the plant xylem experiences increasing tension caused by declining water potential at the sites of evaporation. Eventually, air is drawn into the water transport system, forming embolisms in the xylem conduits. Although plants have…

Perspective: Farming with crops and rocks to address global climate, food and soil security (Nature Plants)

Rising atmospheric CO2 levels are causing wide-ranging climate abnormalities. Beerling et al. discuss ways to capture CO2 in soils through augmenting soils with crushed basalt, or silicate-rich wastes such as sugarcane mill ash. As the added rock weathers, it reacts with gaseous CO2 to release cations…

Genomewide association study of ionomic traits on diverse soybean populations from germplasm collections

Germplasm collections are invaluable resources for plant science and the elemental content of the seeds is a strong indication of the plant’s response to its specific environment. In this study, Ziegler et al. have selected 1,653 soybean accessions from the USDA Soybean Germplasm Collection and seeds…

C4 photosynthesis evolved in warm climates but promoted migration to cooler ones

Ecol. Lett. C4 photosynthesis represents a biochemical CO2-concentrating mechanism that increases Rubisco-mediated carboxylation of RuBP and reduces photorespiration. However, there is an energy cost associated with C4 photosynthesis, and so it is presumed to become advantageous over C3 photosynthesis…

Spatial and temporal patterns of mass bleaching of corals in the Anthropocene

Science. As our ecosystems are changing rapidly, more studies are needed to document them. One of these important events is “coral bleaching”, a phenomenon that occurs due to environmental stress and when coral hosts lose their algal symbionts or zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium spp.), showing the white…

HOW TO BUILD A SEAWEED

Godfroy et al investigate basal cell fate determination in the brown alga Ectocarpus https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00440 BACKGROUND: Brown algae are multicellular photosynthetic marine organisms living on rocky shores across the globe and representing one of the most developmentally complex groups…

Maize adaptation to higher latitudes has been facilitated by transposon activities.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. Flowering is a major determinant of crop adaptation to new environments. Starting from its tropical origins and requirement for short-day conditions to flower, natural selection and breeding have allowed maize to adapt to long-day environments and thus be grown over a wider…

Cell density and airspace patterning in the leaf can be manipulated to increase leaf photosynthetic capacity

Increasing photosynthetic conversion efficiency is an attractive target for improving crop yields.  One way of affecting this is to alter the way CO2 is delivered to Rubisco, the carbon-fixing enzyme of photosynthesis.  Lehmeier et al. aimed to change the pattern of air spaces within Arabidopsis leaves…