Recent Posts

The spermine synthase OsSPMS1 regulates seed germination, grain size, and yield (Plant Physiol)

Polyamines including spermine and spermidine are present in all eukaryotes and have diverse roles. In plants they have been implicated in responses ranging from abiotic and biotic stresses to grain filling. Tao et al. examined the function of OsPMS1, encoding a spermine synthase, through genetic methods…

Plant sex regions can “jump” in strawberry (PLOS Biol.)

Sex chromosome restructure has happened frequently during the evolution of eukaryotes, often resulting in highly differentiated sex chromosomes. However, little is known about this process in plants. The wild North American octoploid strawberries (Fragaria) have separate sexes with homomorphic, female…

Ploidy and size at multiple scales in the Arabidopsis sepal (Plant Cell)

Ploidy refers to the number of genomes contained within a nucleus. Ploidy levels can increase through whole-genome duplication, which affects every cell equally, and through endoreduplication, a cell-by-cell process in which DNA synthesis is not accompanied by cytokinesis. Robinson et al. investigated…

The transcriptional landscape of polyploid wheat ($) (Science)

Wheat is a tough nut to crack, as it is hexaploid, comprising three diploid genomes (the A, B and D genomes). The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium has released a fully-annotated wheat reference genome, and Ramírez-González et al. present a thorough analysis of its transcriptome. Although…

A New Epigenetic Switch Regulating Histone Modification

Mateo-Bonmatí et al. have found novel components of the Arabidopsis epigenetic machinery. Plant Cell (2018). https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.18.00300  By Eduardo Mateo-Bonmatí, Lucía Juan-Vicente, Riad Nadi, and José Luis Micol Background: In multicellular organisms, most cells contain the same…

Modulating plant growth–metabolism coordination for sustainable agriculture

Green revolution varieties of rice and wheat are dwarfed, making them resistant to lodging, and DELLA proteins contribute to this dwarfing. At the same time, green-revolution varieties are not very good at taking up nitrogen, so much of the applied fertilizer is wasted (and polluting). Li et al. have…

Genetic components of water use efficiency in the model grass Setaria

Increasing water use efficiency is important for improving crop yields in diverse environments. This has been difficult due to the complex morphological and biochemical processes involved in water use and plant growth. Feldman and colleagues use a high-throughput phenotyping platform to monitor an interspecific…

Old Gene, New Function

Xie et al. discover an EPSP synthase gene involved in the transcriptional regulation of the phenylpropanoid pathway in Populus trichocarpa The Plant Cell (2018). https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.18.00168. By Meng Xie, Wellington Mechuro, Jin-Gui Chen, and Gerald A. Tuskan Background: 5-enolpyruvylshikimate…

Mitigating Yield Loss Under Global Warming

Ma et al. investigate epigenetic aspects of heat-induced male sterility in cotton. By Yizan Ma, Ling Min and Xianlong Zhang Background:  Global warming causes extremely high temperatures in summer in some areas. Certain crops cultivated in summer cannot tolerate extreme heat stress and begin…