Recent Posts

Evolution of fruit types in the Rosaceae family

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The evolution of fruits might have been the most important feature that made angiosperms so successful. Fruits protect seeds and contribute to seed dispersal, as well as comprise a food source for humans and other animals, therefore, studying their evolution would help us shed light on the evolution…

Genetic basis of primrose floral dimorphism

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Self-fertilization in Primula is avoided by the production of two flower forms (morphs), one with a long style in which the stigma is elevated above the anthers (the L morph or pin) and one with a short style in which the anthers are well above the stigma (the S morph or thrum), although there are also…

Review: Volvox as a developmental model

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Matt and Umen introduce the multicellular green alga Volvox carteri as a model for developmental studies. They provide an overview of embryonic patterning including the role of asymmetric cell divisions, inversion, (a process with some similarities to vertebrate gastrulation), and the role of cell size…

Best of 2016: Top Topics in Plant Physiology jounal

We’ve highlighted some of the Plant Physiology papers that were widely shared, liked, blogged, retweeted and otherwise garnered high-levels of attention this year. Perhaps you can use some of that holiday-season quiet time to catch up on those you missed. The breakaway attention-getter from Plant…

Plant farming by ants ($)

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Farming mutualisms, in which an organism benefits from another to promote growth, have evolved in many lineages. In particular, symbioses between plants and ants are mostly defensive mutualisms. In this paper, Chomicki and Renner describe the obligate mutualism observed between epiphytes in the genus…

Evolutionary origins of stomata ($)

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Questions remain about the evolutionary origins and functions of stomata. They are absent from liverworts, present to a limited extent in mosses, and are found on 410 million year-old fossils of Cooksonia, a leafless plant. Chater et al. show that orthologs of two key transcription factors that control…

Review: Biogeochemical effects of early life on land

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Earth colonization by life happened billions of years ago. Weathering of soils by microbial mats leave a characteristic signal that can be used to shed light on the mechanisms involved in colonization. In this review, Lenton and Daines discuss the growing mass of evidence that points to the biogeochemical…

Review: Intracellular innate immune surveillance devices in plants and animals ($)

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Cells recognize invaders through both cell-surface receptors and intracellular receptors, the latter of which can recognize the invader directly or indirectly, for example through its effects on host proteins. Intracellular surveillance proteins in animals and plants share a core domain, the nucleotide…

Review: Evolutionary perspective on auxin’s role in shoot branching

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Shoot branching increases the photosynthetic surface area and the points at which reproductive structures can form. In angiosperms, auxin (specifically, auxin depletion) has been shown to be involved in the initiation and outgrowth of shoot branches. For example, in apical dominance the primary shoot…