Recent Posts

Review: Evolution of plant hormone response pathways ($) (Annu. Rev. Plant Biol.)

Spatio-temporal action of hormones is essential for proper growth and development of plants. In this review, Blázquez et al. discuss the evolution of the shared features of  signaling pathways of different plant hormones. Auxin, jasmonic acid, gibberellic acid, and strigolactone signaling pathways…

Gene duplication accelerates the pace of protein gain and loss from plant organelles (Mol. Biol. Evol.)

Organelles, such as the chloroplast and nucleus, are structures with specific functions within a plant cell. It has been reported that many related, or homologous, proteins function in different organelles. However, how and why organellar proteins have diverged over evolutionary time remains unclear.…

Mitochondrial fostering: the mitochondrial genome may play a role in plant orphan gene evolution (bioRxiv)

Orphan genes are those that are found in only a single species. In trying to understand the origin of orphan genes, O’Conner and Li have found that many of these orphan genes are likely to have originated as mitochondrial genes, as many are nuclear genes whose encoded proteins are targeted to the mitochondria…

The origin of land plants is rooted in two bursts of genomic novelty (Curr. Biol)

The transition of plants from water to land is one of the most momentous shifts in the history of life on Earth. 500 million years ago, the first land plants dramatically changed the environments on the planet, creating soils, rivers and the oxygen-rich atmosphere. However, the factors that enabled early…

Isolation of an archaeon at the prokaryote–eukaryote interface (Nature)

Sometime around 1.8 to 2 billion years ago, complex eukaryotic cells appeared for the first time, providing the ancestor for plants, animals and fungi. Many lines of evidence have indicated that this event probably involved an ancient archaeon taking up an ancient bacterium, the progenitor of all mitochondria.…

Review: The many roads to (and from) multicellularity (J. Exp. Bot)

Multicellularity is without doubt a fantastic fluke. We know that it arose independently in plants and animals, but how many times? And is there a common “predisposition” to multicellularity in the universal common ancestor? These are the questions addressed in this review by Niklas and Newman. Looking…

Primer: Rhynie chert ($) (Curr. Biol.)

This short Primer by Strullu-Derrien et al. introduces the amazing early vascular plant fossils from the Rhynie chert. The fossils' high level of detail is a consequence of their being embedded in a glass-like silica matrix, possibly derived from hydrothermal springs. The fossils are approximately 407…

Evolution of carnivorous traps from planar leaves through simple shifts in gene expression (Science)

When is a leaf not a leaf? When it’s a trap. Just about everyone, including Charles Darwin, has been fascinated by carnivory in plants, which involves the development of structures that capture or trap food. Whitewoods, Gonçalves, Cheng et al. investigated how traps form in the humped bladderwort…

Genetic contribution of paleopolyploidy to adaptive evolution in angiosperms (Mol Plant)

Genetic contribution of paleopolyploidy to adaptive evolution in angiosperms Comparative genomics has revealed that the angiosperms have experienced numerous whole-genome duplications (WGD), which have been proposed to have contributed to their global dominance. Following WGD, many of the…