Recent Posts

Replaying the evolutionary tape to investigate subgenome dominance in allopolyploid Brassica napus (bioRxiv)

Following interspecific hybridization, one of the two parental genomes (aka subgenomes) tends to become dominant (more highly retained and expressed). What determines which of the subgenomes will become dominant, or is it random? To explore this question, Bird et al. made several crosses between Brassica…

Evolutionary flexibility in flooding response circuitry in angiosperms ($) (Science)

Flooding is unpredictable and can lead to plant death due to insufficient oxygen (hypoxia). Some plant species and varieties are better able to survive periods of submergence. Here, Reynoso et al. looked at gene networks induced transcriptionally and translationally by flooding in rice, Medicago and…

KonMari for Maize - keeping genomes clutter-free during selfing ($) (Nature Plants)

Just like years of hoarding can end up cluttering our homes, years of self-fertilization or selfing can also accumulate harmful mutations in plant genomes. By removing such harmful alleles from the genome (i.e., purging) plants can reduce the mutational load and prevent fitness loss due to selfing. Roessler…

Genome sequence of Striga asiatica provides insight into the evolution of plant parasitism (Curr Biol)

The parasitic plant Striga asiatica is both a serious agricultural pest and a fascinating plant oddity. Yoshida et al. report its genome sequence, which provides a glimpse into how a plant becomes an obligate parasite. Three key findings are the tremendous expansion of receptors for strigolactones (host-released…

A reference genome for pea provides insight into legume genome evolution (Nature Genetics)

Pea (Pisum sativum) is an important protein-rich crop that introduces most students to the principles of Mendelian genetics, but it has lagged behind in the genomics era due to its much larger genome size than newer model legumes. Kreplak et al.  have now released an annotated chromosome-level reference…

Selaginella moellendorffii expression atlas provides insight into the origin and evolution of plant vasculature (bioRxiv)

Land plants (embryophytes) evolved from freshwater algal predecessors over 450 million years ago and have since separated into the morphologically diverse lineages observed today. A key feature in the expansion of plant life on land was the development of the plant vasculature and complex rooting systems.…

Divergent gene expression networks underlie morphological diversity of abscission zones in grasses ($)

Grasses scatter their seeds through the process of cell abscission. Losing this trait, in a process known as loss of shattering, was an early step in the domestication of cereals. Interestingly, the abscission zone (AZ) is positionally and morphologically different in different cereals. In order to understand…

MapMan4: A refined protein classification and annotation framework applicable to multi-omics data analysis (Mol Plant)

Revolutions in omics technologies have rapidly increased the number of plant genomes, transcriptomes and proteomes available. However, protein sequences need to be assigned a biological function to provide useful insights for comparative genomics and transcriptomics. Here, Schwacke et al present MapMan4,…

Gene networks underlying cannabinoid and terpenoid accumulation in cannabis (Plant Physiol)

Recent changes in the legal status of cannabis and cannabis-products have allowed renewed scientific interest in the genetic and metabolic basis of cannabis’ effects as well as the regulatory issues related to quality control of the products. Many varieties of Cannabis spp. have poorly documented pedigrees,…