Recent Posts

Comparative profiling examines roles of DNA regulatory sequences and accessible chromatin during cold stress response in grasses

Physical access to regulatory DNA, including cis-regulatory sequences found within proximal promoters and distal enhancer elements, is a vital property of chromatin.  In turn, their access is determined by nucleosome occupancy and post-translational modification of histone proteins. A continuum of chromatin…

The genome of Prasinoderma coloniale unveils the existence of a third phylum within green plants (Nature Ecol. Evol.)

The green plant lineage (Viridiplantae) has long been described as having a single origin (starting with the engulfment of a cyanobacteria-like endosymbiont) that has led to two phyla: the Streptophyta, including embryophytes (land plants) and some algae such as chara and nitella, and the Chlorophyta,…

Mutation bias shapes gene evolution in Arabidopsis thaliana (bioRxiv)

Classical evolutionary theory states that the probability of a mutation occurring is independent of fitness consequences. However, reassessment of traditional assumptions is warranted with recent discoveries showing that cytogenetic (DNA sequences and epigenetic) features can affect local mutation probabilities.…

Macroevolutionary patterns in seed component mass and different evolutionary trajectories across seed desiccation responses ($) (New Phytol)

Seeds are made out of two functionally distinct components: the seed coat and the seed reserves (which include endosperm and embryo). It is known that the relative contribution of these parts to the total seed mass varies greatly among species. Still, little is known about the evolution of each component's…

Review: Sequencing and analyzing the transcriptomes of a thousand plant species (Annu. Rev. Plant Biol.)

Over the past decade, Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) has been used for de novo assembly of crop genomes (i.e., tomato, potato) under the motto “If it tastes good, let’s sequence it”. By contrast, the One Thousand Plant (1KP) Initiative set out to obtain transcriptomic data of phylogenetically…

Multiple metabolic innovations and losses are associated with major transitions in land plant evolution (Curr. Biol.)

The colonization of land by a single streptophyte algae lineage around 450 million years ago culminated in the evolution and radiation of all terrestrial flora, the embryophytes. Adapting and thriving in the land environment required many morphological and physiological innovations, as well as the acquisition…

Genomic evidence for convergent evolution of gene clusters for momilactone (PNAS)

Plants produce a rich diversity of chemical compounds. In fungi, the genes encoding specialized biosynthetic pathways are frequently arranged in contiguous loci forming biosynthetic gene clusters (BGC). In plants, BGCs are not common, however, some cases have been found in angiosperms. Among the known…

Repurposed genes and the evolution of plant carnivory (Curr. Biol.)

Carnivorous plants attract, trap, digest, and import nutrients from small animal prey, enabling these plants to thrive in nutrient-poor soil. Palfalvi et al. sequenced, annotated, and compared draft genomes from the family Droseraceae for the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula), the waterwheel plant (Aldrovanda…

Design principles of a minimal auxin response system (Nature Plants)

Auxin controls virtually all facets of growth and development. This plant hormone is sensed by TIR1/AFB F-box receptors which promote ubiquitin-mediated degradation of AUX/IAA transcriptional repressors, releasing ARF transcription factors from inhibition. Phylogenetic analyses divide the ARF family…