Recent Posts

Minimal auxin sensing levels in vegetative moss stem cells revealed by a ratiometric reporter$

Auxin plays multiple developmental roles from embryogenesis to seed development. To understand the mechanism of auxin response in plants, researchers utilize the early-diverging land plant models, Physcomitrella patens and Marchantia polymorpha. In this paper, Thelander et al., have identified a…

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…

Deep conservation of cis-element variants regulating plant hormonal responses (Plant Cell)

Promoter regions upstream of transcription start sites contain DNA regulatory elements (RE) crucial for the transcriptional control of gene expression. However, REs are short degenerated sequences with low conservation during evolution. In this paper, Lieverman-Lazarovich et al. studied REs in core hormone…

A novel hypothesis for the role of photosynthetic physiology in shaping macroevolutionary patterns (Plant Physiol)

In the 450 million(ish) years since plants acquired the ability to live on land, they have caused dramatic changes in the concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and O2 levels. As an example, due to tremendous increases in photosynthesis, CO2 levels dropped and O2 levels rose dramatically in the late Paleozoic…

Effector gene reshuffling involves dispensable mini chromosomes in wheat blast fungus (PLOS Genetics)

The emerging disease wheat blast is devastating and has the capacity to cause 100% yield loss. Wheat blast is caused by the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae pathotype Triticum (MoT). This pathotype is distinct from most of the pathotypes that causes disease in other plants such as M. oryzae Oryza (MoO) in rice.…

Plant microbe co-evolution: Allicin resistance in Pseudomonas fluorescens (bioRxiv)

Garlic (Allium sativum L.) produces allicin (diallylthiosulfinate), which is an antibiotic defense substance. It can oxidize thiols in celular targets such as cysteines and glutathione.  Because allicin has multiple sites and mechanisms of action, it is difficult for an organism to become resistant.…

KonMari for Maize - keeping genomes clutter-free during selfing ($) (Nature Plants)

Just like years of hoarding can end up cluttering our homes, years of self-fertilization or selfing can also accumulate harmful mutations in plant genomes. By removing such harmful alleles from the genome (i.e., purging) plants can reduce the mutational load and prevent fitness loss due to selfing. Roessler…

Genome sequence of Striga asiatica provides insight into the evolution of plant parasitism (Curr Biol)

The parasitic plant Striga asiatica is both a serious agricultural pest and a fascinating plant oddity. Yoshida et al. report its genome sequence, which provides a glimpse into how a plant becomes an obligate parasite. Three key findings are the tremendous expansion of receptors for strigolactones (host-released…

Mapping the landscape of C4 gene regulation

Burgess et al characterize genome-wide patterns of transcription factor binding to provide insight into the architecture associated with C4 photosynthesis gene expression. Plant Cell https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.19.00078 By Steven James Burgess (University of Cambridge, UK) and Ivan A. Reyna-Llorens…