Recent Posts

Regulatory Divergence in the Stress Response of Tomato

Humans have domesticated crops for thousand of years by artificially selecting plants for numerous traits including morphology, lower toxicity or higher yield. As a result, plant domestication often altered plant fitness and resistance to stress under controlled conditions (Meyer & Purugganan 2013).…

Is Genetic Evolution Predictable?

How often does evolution repeat itself? When the same evolutionary strategy arises multiple times, how often are these strategies built on the same genetic foundations? Addressing this question allows us to understand the relative roles of constraint and contingency in the history of life, but (without…

Strategic seed sourcing will enable species to better adapt to changing environments (eLIFE)

Yellow box, Eucalyptus melliodora, is an iconic Australian tree and foundation species of a critically endangered woodland community that is the target for restoration efforts. This community is currently severely fragmented, and less that 5 % of its original distribution remains. Models of climate prediction…

Phylogenomics reveals multiple losses of nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbiosis (Science)

The ability to participate in nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbiosis shows an interesting phylogenetic pattern, with some families showing a large number of nodulating species interspersed with non-nodulating ones, and some families showing only a few nodulating species. A current model suggests that…

The amount of nitrogen used for photosynthesis modulates molecular evolution in plants (Mol Biol Evol)

Plant growth is often limited by the availability of nitrogen (N), which is required to synthesise monomers and macromolecules, and is especially important in the synthesis of the carbon assimilating enzymes of the Calvin-Benson-Bassham (CBB) cycle.  In this article, Kelly has demonstrated that photosynthetic…

A moss glycosyltransferase produces a novel cell wall arabinoglucan ($) (Plant Cell)

Plants produce a wide range of polysaccharides in their cell walls, some of which are restricted to certain species. Roberts et al. investigated a moss gene encoding an enzyme that resembles a mixed-linkage (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan (MLG) synthase. When expressed in tobacco, this enzyme produces a novel unbranched,…

Origin of Plant R Genes

Plants rely on two branches of the innate immunity system to prevent or eliminate microbial infections: one involves cell surface receptors to respond to pathogen- or microbe- associated molecular patterns, and the other acts inside plant cells by using proteins with nucleotide-binding site (NBS) and…

Similar but Different: A Functionally Conserved of COI1 Receptor Recognizes Jasmonate Precursors in the Liverwort Marchantia polymorpha ($)

Land plants evolved from freshwater charophyte algae over 450 million years ago and have since diverged into the multitude of plant lineages observed today. The extent to which prominent plant hormones and cognate receptor proteins, which play essential roles in evolutionarily young angiosperms, are…

Review: The origin and evolution of mycorrhizal symbioses (New Phytol)

Many fungi are pathogens that kill or weaken their plant hosts. However, there are also many species that form beneficial relationships with plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. One of these mutualisms is the mycorrhizal association between a fungus and a plant root, where the fungus provides the plant…