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Manuel and his grandfather, Antonio Mora who continues to farm and tend his crops every day, except for Sundays which he reserves for family and church. This image was taken during a hike we shared in Santiago Tangamandapio Michoacan during December 2019, where he took Manuel to share the site and tree where his own grandfather passed.

URM Plant Scientist Highlights - Manuel Mora (he/him)

Manuel Mora (he/him) is a doctoral student in the Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Developmental Program (MBIDP)  at UCLA. Born in Santa Ana, CA, Manuel was raised between California and the town of Santiago Tangamandapio in Michoacan, Mexico. Growing up he enjoyed playing soccer, but when living…

Relevance of hop terroir for beer flavor (J. Inst. Brew.)

Beer is a simple beverage, basically fermented barley sugars. But recently, it’s been all about the hops. Hops are buds of Humulus lupulus, a member of the Cannabaceae family, and from humble origins they have been carefully bred and selected, resulting in many varieties with different aroma and flavor…

A Central Role for Genetics in Plant Biology (Annu. Rev. Plant Biol.)

Plant biology as a field of study encompasses a rich plethora of subjects, some of which themselves are their own fields. Maarten Koornneef, in this memoir-style article, describes how genetics in particular shaped his career that saw the rise of Arabidopsis as the lovable poster child of plant biology…

Genomic imbalance: an extra chromosome arm can induce severe phenotypic and gene expression changes

Yang et al. use haploid induction, genomic and transcriptomic sequencing to explore gene expression changes across the genome when the chromosome arm was varied in haploid maize. By Hua Yang, James Birchler, University of Missouri-Columbia Background: The phenotypic consequences of the addition…

Review: CRISPR screens in plants: Approaches, guidelines, and future prospects (Plant Cell)

We don’t need to remind you of the tremendous positive impact that CRISPR-based technologies have had on the life sciences through enabling any gene to be edited precisely. Here, Gaillochet et al. provide an up-to-date review of a lesser-known application of CRISPR, its use in large-scale screening…

Magnesium and calcium over-accumulate in the leaves of a schengen3 mutant of Brassica rapa (Plant Physiol)

Magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca) are essential nutrients for plants and also the animals that eat them. Human deficiencies of these elements are not uncommon. Here, Alcock et al. used Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy to measure the elemental composition of a mutagenized population of Brassica…

Who keeps PIF4 high on a hot day? RCB joins HEMERA as a partner in crime (Nature Comms)

PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR4 (PIF4) is a key protein that mediates thermomorphogenic responses in plants. Under warm temperatures, PIF4 levels are high in the daytime even in the presence of active phyB, which is known to induce degradation of PIFs. Thus, in warm temperatures there must be a mechanism…

Natural variation identifies a Pxy gene controlling vascular organization and formation of nodules and lateral roots in Lotus japonicus (New Phytol.)

Symbiosis between legumes and nitrogen-fixing bacteria such as Mesorhizobium loti requires an exchange of signals. Plants recognize both specific nod factors (lipochitooligosaccharides) as well as cell-surface exopolysaccharides through distinct pathways. The M. loti exoU mutant fails to properly form…

Plant Scientist Highlight: Barbara McClintock

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Barbara McClintock was born on June 16th, 1902 in Hartford, Connecticut, and was raised in Brooklyn, NY. She was one of four children of Sara and Thomas McClintock. She received her bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees from Cornell, completing her education in 1927. She defied norms at the time…