Recent Posts

Review: Evolutionary innovations driving abiotic stress tolerance in C4 grasses and cereals (Plant Cell)

Grasses fall into two clades, the more temperate BOP clade of C3 grasses (Bambusoideae, Oryzoideae, and Pooideae subfamilies), and the more tropical PACMAD clade of C3 and C4 grasses (Panicoideae, Arundinoideae, Chloridoideae, Micrairoideae, Aristidoideae, and Danthonioideae subfamilies). This review,…

SHOOT: Phylogenetic gene search and ortholog inference (bioRxiv)

BLAST (basic local alignment search tool) is more than 30 years old, and most readers have probably had the opportunity to BLAST a sequence. BLAST takes an input sequence and searches databases for closely related sequences. However, this tool uses only sequence information to find close matches. Hypothetically,…

Review: Convergent evolution of gene regulatory networks underlying plant adaptations (Plant Cell Environ.)

The transition from aquatic to terrestrial habitats exposed plants to low water availability, high light, radiation, and other environmental challenges. To overcome these challenges, plants developed morpho-physiological adaptations to tolerate dry environments and make photosynthesis more efficient.…

Exploring the evolution of immunity responses in Brassicaceae

Winkelmüller, Entila, Anver et al. uncover the considerable variation in gene expression patterns in closely related Brassicaceae species during pattern triggered immunity. Plant Cell  By Thomas M. Winkelmüller, Frederickson D. Entila, Shajahan Anver, and Kenichi Tsuda  Background: Plants…

Focus Issue: Focus on the Biology of Plant Genomes (Plant Cell)

The Plant Cell has published a Focus Issue on the Biology of Plant Genomes. This Focus Issue includes reviews and research articles that highlight some of the most important recent advances in plant genomics and foreshadow future discoveries. Although Arabidopsis is represented in this article collection…

Give and Take: Lipid exchanges drove the evolution of mutualism during plant terrestrialization (Science)

Plants form symbiotic associations with a variety of microbial partners, among which arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are prominent. AMF are known to enrich plants with a host of vital nutrients including the essential macronutrient phosphorus. While the finer details of plant-AMF association are known…

Viewpoint: Bryophytes are not early diverging land plants (New Phytol.)

Phylogenetic trees demonstrate the evolutionary relationship between organisms, but sometimes these relationships are described by inappropriate terminology. In this Viewpoint, McDaniel observes that based on a phylogeny as drawn here, bryophytes (represented by the genus Physcomitrella, aka Physcomitrium)…

An evidence-based 3D reconstruction of Asteroxylon mackiei, the most complex plant preserved from the Rhynie chert (bioRxiv)

The Rhynie chert holds some of the oldest and best-preserved fossils of vascular plants (Rhynie is a village in north-east Scotland, and chert is a type of sedimentary rock). Analysis of thin section of fossils from here have provided the earliest cellular details of “rhizoid-based rooting systems,…

Whitefly hijacks a plant detoxification gene that neutralizes plant toxins (Cell)

The sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci, are devastating crop pests that lower yields and transmit viruses. They feed off more than 600 species, most of which produce toxic phenolic glycosides. Xia et al. investigated how the whiteflies manage to avoid the effects of the toxin. They found convincing…