Recent Posts

News and Views: Harnessing the potential of germplasm collections (Nature Genetics) ($)

There are more than 7 million crop accessions in gene banks around the world, however the information records for them are in multiple formats, making a comparison between and within collections difficult. Extrapolating from a new paper by Milner et al. (Nature Genetics 51: pages319–326) Langridge…

Nitrate transporter gene OsNRT1.1A/ OsNPF6.3 confers high yield in rice (Plant Cell)

In many ecosystems, nitrogen (N) is a limiting factor for plant growth. In agro-ecosystems, the application of synthetic N fertiliser has solved that issue. However, N fertiliser application is costly both to the farmers and the environment (in terms of N leaching and atmospheric release of greenhouse…

Speed breeding is a powerful tool to accelerate crop research and breeding (Nature Plants) ($)

Accelerated development of improved plant varieties is imperative to meet the ever-growing needs in the agri-food sector. Breeding has been a durable solution for developing elite cultivars; however, the entire process is time-consuming and labor-intensive. Here, Watson et al. demonstrated how extending…

AP2-like transcription factor SUPERNUMERARY BRACT controls rice seed shattering and seed size (Plant Cell)

Non-shattering seed, or seed that stays attached to the stem when mature, is a key domestication trait that makes harvesting easier. Previous studies have identified several domestication genes that suppress the formation of the seed's abscission zone, thus preventing shattering. Jiang et al. used a…

New Teaching Tool: "Molecular Control of Plant Shoot Architecture"

We’re excited to announce the publication of The Plant Cell’s latest Teaching Tool, “Molecular Control of Plant Shoot Architecture,” by Agustin Zsögön and Lázaro E. P. Peres, available without subscription at Plantae.org. Manipulation of plant form and height has been instrumental in…

Review: Perspective on wheat yield and quality with reduced N supply (TIPS)

Wheat production demands huge inputs of nitrogen as fertilizer, with accompanying financial and environmental costs. Zorb et al. discuss several strategies by which to maintain wheat yields and wheat quality while decreasing N use and wastage. Some of these are agronomic, such as ensuring that the N…

Towards Pathogen-Resistant Apples

Zhang et al. show that a single-nucleotide polymorphism in a hairpin RNA promoter contributes to Alternaria alternata leaf spot resistance in apple and could serve as a marker to distinguish susceptible versus resistant apple cultivars. https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.18.00042. Background: Apple Alternaria…

Review. Review. Functional phenomics: An emerging field integrating high-throughput phenotyping, physiology, and bioinformatics (J. Exp. Bot)

Understanding the processes contributing to plant productivity will help to secure food production in the future. Larry York proposes how this can be achieved using functional phenomics. First the ideotype needs to be constructed; the ideotype is a set of phene states that are hypothesized to enhance…

A crucial gene controls stem juiciness in sorghum and beyond

The discovery of the gene behind stem juiciness in sweet sorghum could have huge agricultural implications Perhaps you've never tasted sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), the fifth most popular crop in the world, but you probably will soon. This ancient grain is a common source of food in developing countries…