Recent Posts

Sunflower pan-genome, evidence for hybridization-altered disease resistance ($)

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is an important oil-producing crop, which was domisticated in North America about 4000 years ago with elite varities being developed through the 19th and 20th centuries, narrowing its genetic variation. It retains the ability to hybridize with wild relatives, providing…

A bidirectional switch controls sexual dimorphism in the liverwort (EMBO J)

Bryophytes spend most of their lifecycle in the haploid, gametophytic form, of which there are two types, male (sperm forming) and female (egg forming). Hisanaga et al. investigated the genetic basis that determines sex in the model liverwort Marchantia polymorpha. Their findings are fascinating. A single…

The Terpene Synthases of Red Algae Have a Bacterial Origin

The red algae (Rhodophyta), encompassing over 8,000 species, are the richest source of marine secondary metabolites. Among red algae, many genera produce terpenes, which constitute the largest class of secondary metabolites. Despite the rich diversity of terpenes in red algae, little is known about how…

Large-scale phylogenomic analysis resolves a backbone phylogeny in ferns (GigaScience)

  A look back at the most popular articles shared on Plantae social media in 2018. Plantae Social Media Interns Katie Rogers and Juniper Kiss have been reviewing the 2018 stats. Previously they shared the most popular posts overall. Here, they share the posts to research and review articles that…

Review: The evolution of root branching: increasing the level of plasticity (J Exp Bot) ($)

Without roots, plants are unable to gain height due to poor anchorage and are less fit for survival outside of humid environments. Root branching allows plants to better adapt to their environmental conditions and improves their capability to forage for water and nutrients. In this review, Motte and…

An unexpected flower from the Jurassic of China (eLIFE)

The economic importance of angiosperms, whether for food, ornamentals, timber, pharmaceuticals, or any other commercial product is easy to prove. However, their origin is not. Evolutionary biologists have long debated the origin of flowering plants. Fu et al., have unearthed fossils from the Early Jurassic…

Primula vulgaris (primrose) genome, and the heterostyly supergene (Sci. Reports)

Floral heteromorphy (differences in form) in Primula has long been of interest to plant biologists. Over 150 years ago, Charles Darwin recognized the importance of this floral anatomy for promoting cross-pollination. In heterostylous Primula species, plants produce either, pin or thrum flowers. Pins…

Genomic diversification of LATE EMBRYOGENESIS ABUNDANT (LEA) protein gene families (GBE)

LEA genes were first identified as being highly abundant during seed desiccation (hence their name), but later were also shown to accumulate in other tissues in response to drought stress, and to confer desiccation tolerance in “resurrection plants”. These small proteins are characterized by having…

Pseudogenization and resurrection of a speciation gene (Curr. Biol)

Many flowers have evolved to attract pollinators through scent, shape, nectar production and color. Small changes in any of these attributes can be sufficient to dramatically shift pollinator preferences and pollination efficiency. Petunia has recently diverged into several species, characterized as…