Recent Posts

Nanoscale movements of cellulose microfibrils in primary cell walls ($)

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Cell walls are complex mixtures of cellulose microfibrils, proteins and other materials. Their mechanical properties can be measured and modeled, but it is not always simple to translate these measurements to changes at the molecular level. Zhang et al. used atomic force microscopy to provide an unprecedented…

Review: Gemma cup and gemma development in Marchantia polymorpha (New Phytol.)

Plants have the astounding capacity to generate new plants derived from specialized organs (i.e., roots, leaves, and stems). This capacity, known as vegetative propagation, is used by horticulturists and farmers to propagate clonal varieties. This form of reproduction is fueled by the ability to…

Review: Less is more, natural loss-of-function mutation is a strategy for adaptation (Plant Communications)

Gene gain through duplication and gene loss through loss-of-function (LoF) mutations determine genetic variation underlying diversification and adaptive evolution. In this review, Xu and Guo highlight the importance of LoF mutations in the evolutionary success of several organisms as revealed by advancements…

Origins and evolution of cuticle biosynthetic machinery in land plants (Plant Physiology)

The availability of annotated genomes for a wide range of plants allows for tremendous opportunity to perform comparative genomics studies such as that carried out by Kong et al. detailing the evolution of cuticle biosynthesis. The cuticle is the waxy hydrophobic layer that protects aerial plant tissue…

Review: The hornworts: morphology, evolution and development (New Phytol.)

Bryophytes and vascular plants share a land plant as a common ancestor, but they have evolved independently for more than 400 million years. Recent genomic studies of model bryophytes, particularly mosses and liverworts, have provided insights into this ancient common ancestor. Here, Frangedakis et al.…

Plantae Presents: Sophien Kamoun and Phil Carella

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Plantae Presents - Sophien Kamoun and Phil Carella Recorded Wednesday September 16 10am EDT, 4pm CET Sophien Kamoun: Evolutionary dynamics of NLR immune receptors in plants Sophien Kamoun is senior scientist at the Sainsbury Laboratory and professor of biology at the University of East Anglia.…

Review: Compartmentalization drives the evolution of symbiotic cooperation (Proc. Roy. Soc.)

Many plants take advantage of microbial symbionts to boost their nutrient uptake, with classic examples provided by mycorrhizal fungi and the legume/Rhizobia partnership. Similar symbiotic partners are found in other domains of life, including the coral/dinoflagellate symbiosis, and the symbiosis…

Among-population variation in seed mass for 190 Tibetan plant species: Phylogenetic pattern and ecological correlates (Glob. Ecol. Conserv.)

Seed mass is a central trait in plant life history that impacts on seed production, germination, and establishment. Several studies have documented the variation in seed mass between species, but little is known about its variation among populations of the same species. In this paper, Zhang et al. tested…

Phylogenetic relatedness mediates persistence and density of soil seed banks ($) (J. Ecol.)

Soil seed banks are classified into two types, depending on how long seeds remain viable in the soil before germination or decay: transient (< 1 year) or persistent (> 1 year). In turn, a species' ability to form a persistent seed bank presumably depends on seed traits and plant habitat. However,…

Cones structure and seed traits of four species of large‐seeded pines: Adaptation to animal‐mediated dispersal (Ecol. Evol.)

Different studies show that animal-dispersed pines have particular cone and seed structures to match their dispersers. However, most research has either addressed the changes in cone and seed traits in a single species over an environmental gradient or the differences between wind-dispersed and animal-dispersed…