Recent Posts

Population genomic analysis of mango suggests a complex history of domestication ($) (New Phytol)

Mango trees have been cultivated for approximately 4000 years which places their domestication in the same timeline as that of walnut, peach, sweet orange, lychee, citron, sweet orange, lemon, and jujube. Throughout the process of domestication, most crops undergo severe bottlenecks which decrease genetic…

Development of genome-wide SNP markers for barley via reference- based RNA-Seq Analysis (Front Plant Sci)

The availability of marker-assisted systems is key for crop improvement, allowing trait selection by identifying consensus polymorphisms. However, for discriminating between related strains, these DNA markers are limited, time-consuming and expensive. Here, Tanaka et al. developed a RNA-Seq-based genotyping…

Review: CRISPR/Cas genome editing and precision plant breeding in agriculture (Annu Rev Plant Biol) ($)

To fulfill global food demand in the near future, plant researchers keep pursuing simpler and faster crop breeding strategies. CRISPR/Cas systems have been developed as a powerful tool for plant genome editing. In this review, Chen et al. highlight in detail advances in CRISPR/Cas9 and its variants and…

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…