Recent Posts

Insight: Why we need more non-seed plant models

There is much to be learned from comparing plant genomes, but as Rensing writes, currently available genomic data are skewed heavily towards angiosperms. He argues that a richer understanding of plant evolution depends upon gaining insights into the non-seed plants, including ferns, mosses and liverworts,…

Dissecting transposon silencing through introduction of exogenous TEs

Fultz and Slotkin explore the question of how transposable element (TE) silencing is initiated. As they describe, there are two recognized mechanisms, one based on TE identity (meaning that it can be silenced through siRNAs initiated from a related TE, and in which de novo silencing can occur in the…

Review: Mycorrhizal ecology and evolution: the past, present and the future

There are about 50,000 fungal species that form mycorrhizal associations with about 250,000 plant species. These associations significantly increase plant productivity by increasing nutrient uptake, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, although with a considerable carbon cost to plants. Van der Heijden…

Orchidstra 2.0 – A transcriptomics resource for the orchid family ($)

There are more than 25,000 species in the Orchidaceae, the orchid family. Chao et al. have updated and restructured the Orchidstra database, which now houses more than half-a million protein-coding genes from 18 species (12 genera and five subfamilies). Access and explore it at http://orchidstra2.abrc.sinica.edu.tw.…

MarpoDB: An open registry for Marchantia polymorpha genetic parts

Marchantia polymorpha (a liverwort) is a living relative of the earliest terrestrial plants. As it has a simple genome and morphology and is readily transformable, it provides a good platform for synthetic biology (see https://www.openplant.org/marchantia/). Delmans et al. have designed an “engineering-oriented”…

How can genomics help neglected crops fight disease?

Guest post by Kelsey Wood (@klsywd) a PhD student researching the genetics and genomics of plant-pathogen interactions at the University of California, Davis. I recently attended a Plant Pathology symposium on “Genomics Strategies for Developing Sustainable Disease Resistance for Neglected Crops…

Protocol: Laser capture microdissection for woody tissues

Laser capture microdissection (LCM) was developed 20 years ago as a way to isolate single cells or clusters of cells for subsequent –omic analysis.  In LCM, thin sections are generated, the cells of interest cut out using a focused laser, and the isolated cells collected for subsequent studies. Several…

Uncovering hidden variation in polyploid wheat

One of the big challenges of working with wheat, as compared to rice, is that the wheat we eat is polyploid; bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) is hexaploid (six copies of each gene) and pasta wheat (Triticum turgidum) is tetraploid (four copies each). Polyploidy makes forward genetics difficult; knocking…

CATchUP: A web database providing information on spatiotemporal specific gene expression

Nakamura et al. have created a searchable database, CATchUP (http://plantomics.mind.meiji.ac.jp/CATchUP) that allows the user to explore the spatiotemporal expression of genes across eight plant species (monocots and dicots) using data from publically available databases of large-scale RNA-Seq data.…