Recent Posts

Developing High-Yield Early-Maturation Crops by Manipulating Nitrogen Utilization

Wang et al. investigate the function of OsNRT1.1A in rice. Plant Cell (2018). https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00809. By Wei Wang, Bin Hu and Chengcai Chu Background: To cope with an increasing global population and decreasing availability of arable land, improving crop yield is a major agricultural…

Genomewide association study of ionomic traits on diverse soybean populations from germplasm collections

Germplasm collections are invaluable resources for plant science and the elemental content of the seeds is a strong indication of the plant’s response to its specific environment. In this study, Ziegler et al. have selected 1,653 soybean accessions from the USDA Soybean Germplasm Collection and seeds…

Hidden shift of the ionome of plants exposed to elevated CO2 depletes minerals at the base of human nutrition

eLife. Free air CO2 enrichment (FACE) has been used to surround plants with an elevated concentration of CO2 (eCO2) during growth, and has consistently conferred an increase in carbon assimilation and plant productivity.  However, the effect of eCO2 on nutrient status of the plant is unclear due to…

Production of low-Cs+ rice plants by inactivation of the K+ transporter OsHAK1 with the CRISPR-Cas system

Nuclear accidents in recent years such as the Fukushima incident during the tsunami in 2011 revealed the detrimental effects of leaked radioactive cesium (Cs) in environmental soil and water. Due to Cs's chemical similarity with potassium, an essential macronutrient for plants, cesium is taken up by…

Medicine is not health care, food is health care: Plant metabolic engineering, diet and human health

A diet consisting of a wide range of plant matter is optimal for human heath, but due to various historical and social factors (including the relatively high cost of fresh fruit and vegetables), many people don’t get the nutrients they need. Biofortification of staple foods like rice through breeding…

Fighting Fusarium wilt to beat the bananapocalypse

 Dr. Sarah Schmidt (@BananarootsBlog), Researcher and Science Communicator at The Sainsbury Laboratory Science. Sarah got hooked on both banana research and science writing when she joined a banana Fusarium wilt field trip in Indonesia as a Fusarium expert. She began blogging at https://bananaroots.wordpress.com and…

Auxin Biosynthesis and Wheat Yield

In plants, there are two biosynthetic pathways for the production of the plant hormone indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), namely the Trp-dependent and the Trp-independent pathways. Shao et al. (10.1104/pp.17.00094) have performed a genome-wide analysis to identify a key gene in wheat that functions in the tryptophan-dependent…

Insights from 292 pigeonpea genomes ($)

Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) is a widely-grown tropical legume domesticated in India about 3500 years ago. Yields have plateaued, and there is evidence for a genetic bottleneck that limits breeding potential in the elite varieties. Varshney et al. resequenced nearly 300 pigeonpea accessions including modern…

Review: Enhancing genetic gain in the era of molecular breeding ($)

Yield is determined by the crop’s genetic potential and the realization of that potential as affected by agronomic practices and environmental factors. Xu et al. address how yields can be improved through enhancing genetic gain, which they define as “the amount of increase in performance that is…