Recent Posts

Hornwort genomes (Nature Plants)

A major update in plant genome information is taking place. Two independent groups have published genomes of hornwort species from the Anthoceros genus. Both papers arrive at similar conclusions supporting the model of a single “Setaphyta” clade, with hornworts sister to liverworts and mosses. These…

The cis-regulatory codes of response to combined heat and drought stress (bioRxiv)

As sessile organisms, plants must not only respond to a single stress, but multiple stresses at the same time. To understand the DNA regulatory elements that mediate the transcriptional response to heat, drought and combined heat and drought stress, Azodi et al. utilized the known transcription factor…

Opinion: We aren’t good at picking candidate genes, and it’s slowing us down (COPB)

Recent advances have facilitated the generation of huge phenotypic datasets from plant populations. However, the means to inexpensively organise such datasets to unequivocally determine causal genes has evaded researchers. Here, Baxter discusses how human bias when selecting candidate genes is compromising…

An ancestral signalling pathway is conserved in intracellular symbioses-forming plant lineages ($) (Nature Plants)

It’s widely thought that plants acquired the ability to live on land thanks to a little help from their friends, specifically arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Even now, most land plants form mutually beneficial associations with fungi or bacteria, and these often involve the plant cells acting as hosts…

Review. Gossypium genomics: Trends, scope, and utilization for cotton improvement (Trends Plant Sci)

Cotton (Gossypium spp.) provides the world’s most important natural fiber, and I suspect with our growing realization of the problems with plastics there will be still more demand for it. Yang et al. review the current state of Gossypium genomics. As a crop that has been domesticated for millennia,…

Expression   atlas   of Selaginella   moellendorffii   provides   insights   into   the evolution of vasculature, secondary metabolism, and roots (Plant Cell)

Lycophytes, including the model species Selaginella moellendorffii, are extant (still alive today) seedless vascular plants that were particularly abundant around 400-300 million years ago (and major contributors to the formation of coal). To further understand the biology of some of these oldest extant…

Gene duplication accelerates the pace of protein gain and loss from plant organelles (Mol. Biol. Evol.)

Organelles, such as the chloroplast and nucleus, are structures with specific functions within a plant cell. It has been reported that many related, or homologous, proteins function in different organelles. However, how and why organellar proteins have diverged over evolutionary time remains unclear.…

Mitochondrial fostering: the mitochondrial genome may play a role in plant orphan gene evolution (bioRxiv)

Orphan genes are those that are found in only a single species. In trying to understand the origin of orphan genes, O’Conner and Li have found that many of these orphan genes are likely to have originated as mitochondrial genes, as many are nuclear genes whose encoded proteins are targeted to the mitochondria…

The origin of land plants is rooted in two bursts of genomic novelty (Curr. Biol)

The transition of plants from water to land is one of the most momentous shifts in the history of life on Earth. 500 million years ago, the first land plants dramatically changed the environments on the planet, creating soils, rivers and the oxygen-rich atmosphere. However, the factors that enabled early…