Recent Posts

Review: Ten years of the maize nested association mapping population: Impact, limitations, and future directions (Plant Cell)

Linking phenotype to genotype is a major obstacle in plant biology, and conventional approaches (linkage analysis, association mapping) have limitations. Here Gage et al. review the past, present, and future impacts of a maize Nested Association Mapping (NAM) population developed throughout the 2000s.…

Review: Evo-physio: on stress responses and the earliest land plants (J. Exp. Bot.)

Streptophytes are a grade of mostly freshwater algae that transitioned into land, a singularity that in turn gave rise to all present terrestrial flora. This passage along the hydrological gradient that culminated in land habitation required key adaptations to overcome previously unencountered terrestrial…

Tissue-resolved multi-omics atlas of Arabidopsis (Nature)

Arabidopsis as a model system has been intensively studied over the past twenty years, but the proteome of Arabidopsis has been less well characterized. Here, Mergner et al. report the first 30-tissue-type integrated proteome, phosphoproteome and transcriptome atlas of Arabidopsis. The data cover the…

Review: Evolution of virulence in rust fungi — multiple solutions to one problem (COPB)

Rust fungi are a diverse group (more than 7800 species) of phytopathogenic fungi that cause considerable economic loss. (Coincidently, I’m writing on Robigalia, the Roman “anti-rust” festival, which dates from before we understood that microbes, not gods, cause disease). Figurero et al. have written…

No-Genome-Required-GWAS (Nature Genetics)

Conventional approaches to connect phenotype to genotype, including genome-wide association studies (GWAS), are often limited by the quality of the species’ reference genome, and frequently neglect to detect structural variants that are common in plant genomes. Here, Voichek and Weigel present a “No-Genome-Required-GWAS”…

Phylogenomic evidence for reductive evolution of stomata (Curr. Biol.)

Colonization of the terrestrial environment by land plants (embryophytes), a monophyletic clade that evolved from freshwater streptophyte algae, forever changed Earth by transforming biogeochemical cycles. The evolution of stomata was a key adaptation that allowed the colonization of terra firma. Present…

AthCNV: A map of DNA copy number variations in the Arabidopsis thaliana genome (Plant Cell)

Intraspecific phenotypic variability can be attributed to differences at the genome level such as copy number variations (CNVs). CNVs are large DNA fragments which differ in number between individuals and likely have a crucial evolutionary role. Due to the 1001 Genomes Project, over 1,000 Arabidopsis…

Structural evolution drives diversification of the large LRR-RLK gene family (New Phytol)

Leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinases (LRR-RLKs) act as signaling receptors, are the largest plant-specific protein kinase family, and are involved in myriad developmental activities and defense systems. Due to the large number of proteins in this group, their diversification and consequent redundancy…

Innovation, conservation, and repurposing of gene function in plant root cell type development (bioRxiv)

Roots have many specialized cells arranged in concentric circles that are functionally homologous among various plant species but with varying cell-type-specific developmental programs. To further understand these developmental programs, Kajala et al. performed TRAPseq (Translating Ribosome Affinity…