Recent Posts

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…

Genome assembly and population genomic analysis provide insights into the evolution of modern sweet corn (Nature Comms)

In maize (Zea mays), loss of function mutations in genes involved in starch biosynthesis characterize sweet corn varieties that have increased sugar content in the kernel. Specifically, lines carrying the shrunken2 (sh2) allele revolutionized the corn industry in Northern America in the last 50 years…

Review: Plant evolution driven by interactions with symbiotic and pathogenic microbes (Science)

One of the great questions in plant science has been, “How do plants recognize friend from foe?” Like most great questions, this one benefits from a historical perspective. In their new review, Delaux and Schornack look at plant evolution through the lens of plant interactions with symbiotic and…

Review: On tree longevity (New Phytol)

Everyone enjoys hearing about ancient trees that have been alive since various events in human history, but did you ever stop to wonder why some trees live for millennia and others don’t? If so, you’ll want to read this Tansley Review by Piovesan and Biondi. One of their first observations is that…