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Manuel and his grandfather, Antonio Mora who continues to farm and tend his crops every day, except for Sundays which he reserves for family and church. This image was taken during a hike we shared in Santiago Tangamandapio Michoacan during December 2019, where he took Manuel to share the site and tree where his own grandfather passed.

URM Plant Scientist Highlights - Manuel Mora (he/him)

Manuel Mora (he/him) is a doctoral student in the Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Developmental Program (MBIDP)  at UCLA. Born in Santa Ana, CA, Manuel was raised between California and the town of Santiago Tangamandapio in Michoacan, Mexico. Growing up he enjoyed playing soccer, but when living…
An arrow points from left to right, showing steps to sustainable nitrogen use. These include traditional agricultural practices, improved agricultural practices, plant breeding, beneficia N-fixation, and soi N-cycling.

A research road map for responsible use of agricultural nitrogen (Front. Sustain. Food Syst.)

Recently, the UN Environment Programme identified excessive reactive nitrogen (N) resulting from anthropogenic activity as one of the five emerging threats facing our planet. Much of this derives from agricultural practices in which N fertilizers are inefficiently applied to crops, a significant proportion…

A bacterial effector targets a plant iron sensing protein, and benefits pathogen growth (Plant Cell)

Pathogens often appropriate iron from their hosts, as acquisition of iron is vital to sustain life for most organisms. As demonstrated in this paper by Xing et al., an effector protein, AvrRps4, from a common bacterial plant pathogen, Pseudomonas syringae, directly interacts with BRUTUS (BTS), an iron…

Effect of nitrogen addition on selection of germination trait in an alpine meadow on the Tibet Plateau (Front. Plant Sci.)

Considering that atmospheric nitrogen (N) and N deposition have increased due to human activities, understanding the effects of this element in plant communities has become increasingly important. Still, the role of germination traits in these changes at the community level is poorly understood. Here,…

Give and Take: Lipid exchanges drove the evolution of mutualism during plant terrestrialization (Science)

Plants form symbiotic associations with a variety of microbial partners, among which arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are prominent. AMF are known to enrich plants with a host of vital nutrients including the essential macronutrient phosphorus. While the finer details of plant-AMF association are known…

Magnesium and calcium over-accumulate in the leaves of a schengen3 mutant of Brassica rapa (Plant Physiol)

Magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca) are essential nutrients for plants and also the animals that eat them. Human deficiencies of these elements are not uncommon. Here, Alcock et al. used Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy to measure the elemental composition of a mutagenized population of Brassica…

Update: Lateral root formation and nutrients: nitrogen in the spotlight (Plant Physiol)

We marvel at the ability of starfish to regenerate an arm, or a lizard a new tail, but even more impressive than these feats is the ability of a plant root system to create lateral roots when and where they are needed. This root system plasticity has been long studied, with a wealth of insights into…

Review: Can smart nutrient applications optimize the plant's hidden half to improve drought resistance? (Physiol. Plant.)

The root system has three key functions: support/anchoring, uptake of water, and uptake of nutrients. Many questions remain about how roots integrate all of these functions into the architecture of a single system. Here, Bardhan et al. explore whether modifying the nutrient environment (hence root’s…

Coordination between microbiota and root endodermis supports plant mineral nutrient homeostasis (Science)

Roots have been described as the gut of the plant, as they are the main interface for nutrient and water intake from their surrounding environment. This interface is remarkably complex. Not only must the root allow for the proper diffusion of substances into the plant, but by virtue of being constantly…