Recent Posts

Evolution of Gene Regulation During Domestication

Liu, et al. examine how wound response and its control mechanism differs between domesticated and wild tomato. Plant Cell https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.18.00194. By Ming-Jung Liu and Shin-­Han Shiu Background: Two related species accumulate differences between each other over time. If one of the…

Old Gene, New Function

Xie et al. discover an EPSP synthase gene involved in the transcriptional regulation of the phenylpropanoid pathway in Populus trichocarpa The Plant Cell (2018). https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.18.00168. By Meng Xie, Wellington Mechuro, Jin-Gui Chen, and Gerald A. Tuskan Background: 5-enolpyruvylshikimate…

Is Genetic Evolution Predictable?

Yang et al. investigate the evolution of flowering time in the young species Capsella rubella. https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.18.00124 Background: Flowering time is an important adaptive life-history trait in plants. Capsella rubella, a close relative of Arabidopsis thaliana and—in evolutionary time—a…

Footprints of parasitism in the genome of the parasitic flowering plant Cuscuta campestris (Nature Comms)

Even without knowing a lot about parasitic plants, you can probably guess some of the insights that come from the first parasitic plant genomic sequence. Because parasitic plants get their nutrients from another organism (functionally, they become heterotrophic), you might expect they would gradually…

Genome assemblies of maize lines Mo17 and W22: Extensive intraspecific variation, and resource for functional biology (Nature Genetics)

The maize genome is largely composed of transposable elements, which is one reason maize has been such a powerful genetic model. However, these transposons also mean that there is a great deal of genetic variability between inbred lines, which can contribute to heterosis (hybrid vigor). In a pair of…

Convergent evolution of effector protease recognition by Arabidopsis and barley (bioRxiv)

Pathogenic bacteria Pseudomonas syringae produce an effector protein, AvrPphB. The indirect interaction between this bacterial effector and the Arabidopsis resistance (R) protein RPS5 has been characterized previously; AvrPphB is a cysteine protease that targets another plant protein, PBS1, causing it…

Aquatic fern genomes provide insight into land plant evolution and symbiosis (Nature Plants)

Land plants evolved from freshwater charophytic algae over ~450 million years ago and have since diverged into the plethora of embryophyte genera that we see today. Genomics efforts have classically focused on key angiosperm species representing experimental model systems and/or agriculturally important…

Gender Identity in Kiwifruit

Akagi et al. identify a gender determining gene in kiwifruit. The Plant Cell (2018). https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00787 By T. Akagi, I. M. Henry, H. Ohtani, T. Morimoto, K. Beppu, I. Kataoka, and R. Tao Background: In flowering plants, hermaphroditism, or the presence of both male and female…

Of puzzles and pavements: a quantitative exploration of leaf epidermal cell shape (bioRxiv)

Arabidopsis plants have epidermal pavement cells (the cells that make up the bulk of the epidermis, other than guard cells or trichomes) that are often described as “jigsaw puzzle” shaped, and, because Arabidopsis is such a useful model organism, we have nice models for how these distinctive shapes…