Recent Posts

NERD1, a novel regulator of ovule number in Arabidopsis (PLOS Genetics)

Seed number is a critical component of crop yield; the number of ovules determines the number of seeds. Ovule initiation in the carpel margin meristem (CMM) is controlled by genetic (i.e., AINTEGUMENTA, LEUNIG, SEUSS) and hormonal factors (auxins, cytokinins, gibberellins, and brassinosteroids). Most…

EU regulatory approach to directed mutagenesis: consequences for international trade and potential steps forward (New Phytol)

The seed sector, and particularly plant breeders, are responsible for providing farmers with new plant varieties able to overcome challenges such as climate change, water restrictions or plant pests. In order to do their job, breeders have a collection of tools at their disposal. Among these are traditional…

Sunflower pan-genome, evidence for hybridization-altered disease resistance ($)

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is an important oil-producing crop, which was domisticated in North America about 4000 years ago with elite varities being developed through the 19th and 20th centuries, narrowing its genetic variation. It retains the ability to hybridize with wild relatives, providing…

Genetics of rose petal fragrance: RhPAAS and 2-phenylethanol (Plant Phys)

In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare wrote, “that which we call a rose, by any other word would smell as sweet,” but the truth is, most roses today don’t smell as sweet as the ones Shakespeare described; selection for prolonged cut flower life has largely been at the expense of fragrance. Roccia seek…

Opinion: Capsaicinoids: Pungency beyond Capsicum (Trends Plant Sci)

You probably saw this article being discussed in your favorite news channel (in the UK, coverage spanned from the Daily Mail to the Guardian). In an Opinion article, Naves et al. discuss the genetics, biochemistry, ecology and health-benefits of capsaicinoids (the “heat” in chili pepper), and consider…

The transcriptional landscape of polyploid wheat ($) (Science)

Wheat is a tough nut to crack, as it is hexaploid, comprising three diploid genomes (the A, B and D genomes). The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium has released a fully-annotated wheat reference genome, and Ramírez-González et al. present a thorough analysis of its transcriptome. Although…

Review: Overview of attitudes towards genetically engineered food ($) (Annu. Rev. Nutrition)

The appearance and growing importance of genetically engineered (GE) food, and the extensive resistance to it, raises many issues specific to this technology. Scott et al. analyze the bases of lay opposition to GE food and evidence for how attitudes change towards this topic. The authors indicate that…

Review: Medicine Is not Health Care, Food Is Health Care: Plant Metabolic Engineering, Diet and Human Health (OA)

New Phytol. One of the consequences of the green revolution has been the increasing dependence on few staple crops, which provide calories but often lack the right amount of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. The consequences are collectively called “hidden hunger” and concern not only…

Wheat research discovery yields genetic secrets that could shape future crops

A new study published in The Plant Cell has isolated a gene controlling shape and size of spikelets in wheat. Materials provided by the John Innes Centre. A new study has isolated a gene controlling shape and size of spikelets in wheat in a breakthrough which could help breeders deliver yield…