Recent Posts

Interactions of plant RETINOBLASTOMA RELATED PROTEINS

RETINOBLASTOMA-RELATED (RBR) is the plant homolog of the metazoan Retinoblastoma protein (pRB) tumor suppressor and is a conserved cell cycle regulator. RBR has been linked to several multicellularity-related processes, such as controlled cell proliferation, stem cell regulation, and asymmetric cell…

Hydraulic failure as a primary driver of xylem network evolution in early vascular plants (Science)

The earliest terrestrial plants had relatively small, simple forms. The evolution of water-conducting cells provided opportunities for increased size. However, water movement by tension (driven by evaporation) can fail when the water column breaks and is blocked by an air bubble called an embolism. Looking…

To stripe or not to stripe in monkeyflower leaves

In biology nothing makes sense but in the light of evolution. However, understanding how new traits can appear through modification of pre-existing elements has been a complex question in evolutionary biology. LaFountain et al. studied a population of a species of monkeyflower (Mimulus verbenaceus) which…

Two fern genome papers (Nature Plants)

The September 2022 issue of Nature Plants includes two papers describing the analysis of homosporous fern genomes. Ferns are interesting for many reasons including the diversity of the clade, their typically very large genomes, their often free-living gametophytes, and in many cases, homospory (a single…

Special issue on Grasses (Science)

“Grassy biomes—from the steppes of Mongolia to the savannas of Tanzania— are predicted to be the ecosystems hardest hit by the ongoing climate and land use crises,” begins a Perspective by Strömberg and Staver in the August 4, 2022 Science special issue on Grasses that raises awareness of the…

Review: Deep origin and gradual evolution of transporting tissues: Perspectives from across the land plants (Plant Physiol)

The development of vascular plants (tracheophytes) was a major innovation during the evolution of land plants. The classic view is that the evolution of transporting tissues is distinct to tracheophytes, but Woudenberg and Renema et al. discuss an alternative hypothesis where this was a gradual process…

Allelic shift in cis-elements of the transcription factor gene RAP2.12 underlies adaptation associated with humidity in Arabidopsis thaliana (Science Adv)

To better understand plant responses to different environments, Lou et al. compared Arabidopsis thaliana accessions derived from Sichuan (high precipitation/regular flooding) and Tibet (arid) to isolate genetic adaptations towards flooding stress. The two accessions showed divergent phenotypes: the Sichuan…

A plant gene that shapes its ecosystem (Science)

Keystone species shape the structure of an entire ecosystem, but can a gene determine structure of the whole ecosystem?  A recent study indicates yes, some genes can, and such genes are called keystone genes. Barbour et al. set up a small ecosystem containing two herbivore aphids, one predator of these…

Make two from one: How embryonic algal cells divide in an orchestrated flow of subcellular structures

Von der Heyde and Hallmann uncover the enormous dynamics of early cell divisions in Volvox embryos.  https://doi.org/10.1093/plcell/koac004 Eva Laura von der Heyde and Armin Hallmann Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology of Plants, University of Bielefeld, Universitätsstr. 25, 33615…