Recent Posts

Two fern genome papers (Nature Plants)

The September 2022 issue of Nature Plants includes two papers describing the analysis of homosporous fern genomes. Ferns are interesting for many reasons including the diversity of the clade, their typically very large genomes, their often free-living gametophytes, and in many cases, homospory (a single…
An image of Taylor Beaulie (masked and gloved) underneath an orange tree. Next to her is a plastic container with a measuring tape, spray bottle, clipboard, and test tubes in a rack to collect samples.

URM Plant Scientist Highlights - Taylor Beaulieu (she/her)

Taylor Beaulieu (she/her) is currently a third year graduate student at UC-Riverside (UCR). She received her BS in Plant Biology from UCR and also received a minor in Education. She originally spent her undergraduate education training to become a K-12 science teacher which gave her training experience…

A conserved superlocus regulates above- and belowground root initiation (Science)

The vascular plant body composed of root and shoot is specified during embryogenesis, but most flowering plants can also develop additional root systems post-embryonically: lateral roots, as a response to wounding, or shoot-borne roots (“adventitious” roots, literally meaning “in the wrong place”).…

Review: A rulebook for peptide control of legume–microbe endosymbiosis (Trends in Plant Sci)

Symbiotic associations with bacterial or fungal partners enhance nutrient uptake for most plants, and recent years have uncovered the very sophisticated means by which these associations are established and controlled. Peptides have emerged as key regulators of many facets of mycorrhizal and rhizobial…

Water-related innovations in land plants evolved by different patterns of gene cooption and novelty (New Phytol)

The availability of genome data from across the kingdom of plants has provided insights into plant evolution, and particularly the emergence of land plants. Here, Bowles et al. explore the genetic origins of three key innovations that supported the expansion of land plants: stomata, vascular tissues,…

After all, mutations are not that random (Nature)

Mutations, defined as changes in DNA sequence, have long been considered to be random. However, growing evidence suggests that maybe mutations are not random, but instead some loci in the genome are hot spots for mutations, while other loci rarely mutate. This effect is considered mutation bias. A recent…

The genomic ecosystem of transposable elements in maize (PLOS Genetics)

A new paper looking at transposable elements in maize uses the framework that genomes are similar to ecosystems, in that it is essential to study them comprehensively, from the level of each element to the global structure. Transposable elements (TEs) are dynamic and persistent within plant genomes.…

The evolutionary advantage of losing genes after endosymbiosis (Genome Biol)

The emergence of eukaryotes is associated with endosymbiosis of mitochondria and chloroplast. In the course of evolution, most of the genes from these organelles have either migrated to the nucleus or been lost. But why have a small but significant number of genes remained in these organelle genomes?…

Extensive genome study to boost yield and improve agronomic traits in chickpea (Nature)

In recent years, there has been increasing awareness about the environmental impact of animal-based protein sources. Legumes such as chickpea (Cicer arientinum) are relatively cheap and sustainable sources of proteins, dietary fibres and micronutrients. Although there is a vast chickpea germplasm collection,…