Recent Posts

Review: Sequencing and analyzing the transcriptomes of a thousand plant species (Annu. Rev. Plant Biol.)

Over the past decade, Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) has been used for de novo assembly of crop genomes (i.e., tomato, potato) under the motto “If it tastes good, let’s sequence it”. By contrast, the One Thousand Plant (1KP) Initiative set out to obtain transcriptomic data of phylogenetically…

Repurposed genes and the evolution of plant carnivory (Curr. Biol.)

Carnivorous plants attract, trap, digest, and import nutrients from small animal prey, enabling these plants to thrive in nutrient-poor soil. Palfalvi et al. sequenced, annotated, and compared draft genomes from the family Droseraceae for the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula), the waterwheel plant (Aldrovanda…

Dissecting the genome of star fruit (Averrhoa carambola L.) (Hort. Res.)

Starfruit is a sweet and sour fruit that has a shape of a five-point star. It belongs to the Oxalidaceae family and is a fruit of Averrhoa carambola, a species of tree native to tropical Southeast Asia. The fruit is consumed in many parts of the world and is known for its many economic, medicinal and…

Genomic history and ecology of the geographic spread of rice (Nature Plants)

Originating in China’s Yangtze Valley ~9,000 years ago, rice (Oryza sativa) is a staple food for over half of the world’s population. While rice domestication has been well-researched, studies addressing the species' diversification and spread post-domestication are lacking. Here, Gutaker et al. tell…

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”…