Recent Posts

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…

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…

Review: The spring of systems biology-driven breeding ($) (TIPS)

In this excellent review, Lavarenne et al. provide an accessible introduction to the tools and objectives of gene regulatory network (GRN) analysis. They include a glossary, show diagrams displaying different stages of GRN analysis, and provide links to key papers in which different methods have been…

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…