Recent Posts

Drop-Seq for plants: High-throughput, single cell transcriptomics (Cell Reports)

Drop-Seq is an exciting high-throughput technology for single cell transcriptomics. Using microfluidics, single cells are encapsulated in drops with beads carrying “bar-coded” primers. The RNA from each individual cell is labeled with a unique primer code, then sequenced. Now, Shulse et al. have…

Reflections on Classics: Plant Cell‘s 30th anniversary

“The 1980s were an exciting and revolutionary time for biology, and plant molecular biology in particular,” begins an editorial by Bob Goldberg, Brian Larkins, and Ralph Quatrano, the three Founding Editors of The Plant Cell. They describe why the American Society of Plant Physiologists (ASPP; later,…

Wheat exome sequencing and wheat ancestry (Nature Genetics)

Wheat is of course a hugely important food for humans, and has been selectively bred across the globe for millennia. Modern bread wheats are hexaploid and contain three distinct subgenomes (AABBDD). As with other crops, there is a need to understand wheat’s ancestry and explore the greater genetic…

Identification of transcription factors regulating senescence in wheat through gene regulatory network modelling (Plant Physiol)

Like other seed crops, wheat yields depend in part on the efficiency with which nutrients stored in leaves are mobilized into the developing seeds. This depends on the several processes from macromolecule breakdown to transport, as well as the timing of leaf senescence. Borrill et al. used RNA analysis…

Origin of angiosperms and the puzzle of the Jurassic gap (Nature Plants)

Understanding the origin and evolution of flowering plants is key to explaining the development of major terrestrial ecosystems. The rapid diversification of angiosperms into over 360,000 extant species was famously termed ‘an abominable mystery’ by Charles Darwin. Here, Li et al reconstruct the…

Yam genomics supports West Africa as a major cradle of crop domestication (Sci Advances)

Yams (Dioscorea spp.) were domesticated independently in three continents. African yam (Dioscorea rotundata) is the second most produced crop in Africa, after cassava but ahead of maize, rice and sorghum. Scarcelli et al. use a genomic approach to learn more about its domestication, by sequencing many…

The macroevolutionary history of light signaling ($) (Mol Plant)

The ability to sense and respond to light is a fundamental feature of photosynthetic organisms like plants. Much has been learned about the molecular genetic mechanisms controlling light perception and downstream signaling processes in evolutionarily young land plant lineages like angiosperms, with comparatively…

Durum wheat genome highlights past domestication signatures and future improvement targets (Nature Genetics)

Durum wheat cultivar Svevo (Triticum turgidum L. ssp. durum) is a cereal crop predominantly grown for pasta production. It is the result of multiple rounds of domestication, originally deriving from wild emmer wheat from the Fertile Crescent approximately 10,000 years ago. Here, Maccaferri et al. report…

Chromatin signature and transcription factor binding provide a predictive basis for understanding plant gene expression (Plant Cell Physiol)

Machine learning is a booming research field, also in Plant Science. Here, Wu et al. use chromatin modifications and transcription factors to predict transcription levels in Arabidopsis and rice. This is not only important for prediction but also to understand the mechanisms underlying epigenetic regulation.…