Recent Posts

Genome assembly and population genomic analysis provide insights into the evolution of modern sweet corn (Nature Comms)

In maize (Zea mays), loss of function mutations in genes involved in starch biosynthesis characterize sweet corn varieties that have increased sugar content in the kernel. Specifically, lines carrying the shrunken2 (sh2) allele revolutionized the corn industry in Northern America in the last 50 years…

Genomic mechanisms of climate adaptation in polyploid bioenergy switchgrass (Nature)

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a tall, perennial species native to the prairies of North America. Switchgrass is well-known for its uses as a biofuel and forage crop. However, switchgrass is also a fascinating model to investigate how plants adapt to changing environments, as historical glacial cycles…

The Arabidopsis NOT4A E3 ligase promotes PGR3 expression and regulates chloroplast translation (Nature Comms)

Pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) domain containing proteins are nuclear encoded with functions in the chloroplast, but regulation of PPR gene expression in the nucleus before import to the chloroplast has not been well studied. Bailey et al. identified and characterized the ubiquitin ligase NOT4A and its…

Review: Orphan crops and their wild relatives in the genomic era (Mol. Plant)

More than half of human calories come from rice, wheat, and corn, although many other cereals have been domesticated as food crops. Several of these “orphan” cereal crops and their wild relatives are being studied with the goal of diversifying our food supply, which is particularly important due…

Systematic characterization of gene function in a photosynthetic organism (bioRxiv)

Vilarrasa-Blasi and coworkers described their impressive work on a huge barcoded Chlamydomonas collection, in which they screened almost 60,000 insertion mutants grown under a wide range of environmental and chemical stress conditions. The authors assessed genotype-phenotype specificity for almost…

Allelic variation of MYB10 controls natural variation in skin and flesh color in strawberry (Plant Cell)

Few fruits have a more distinctive color than strawberry (Fragaria spp). Anthocyanins are responsible for strawberry’s characteristic red pigmentation with variations in receptacle color caused by altered anthocyanin levels. While the flavonoid synthesis pathway accountable for anthocyanin accumulation…

Leaf angle control across the sorghum canopy (Plant Physiol.)

In a rosette-forming plant like Arabidopsis, leaf radial angle is optimized to prevent self-shielding. By contrast, in a plant such as sorghum, leaf vertical angle affects self-shading. A “smart canopy” model has been proposed in which upper leaves have a more upright orientation to allow more light…

Review: Homoeologous exchanges, segmental allopolyploidy, and polyploid genome evolution (Front. Genetics)

Polyploidy or whole-genome duplication (WGD) is an important process in plant evolution and speciation. Additional sets of chromosomes can be derived from intraspecific genome duplication (autopolyploidy) or hybridization of divergent genomes and chromosome doubling (allopolyploidy). In early stages…

Multi-omics analyses of wild tomato introgression lines reveal a set of gene expression-metabolite-pathogen sensitivity interactions (Nat. Genet.)

Domesticated tomato has been subjected to human selection to satisfy marketing and economic desires, leading to a loss of genetic diversity and elimination of fruits traits such as flavor, aroma and pathogen resistance. Introgression lines (ILs) that capture the genome of wild desert-adapted tomato Solanum…