Recent Posts

Ancient seeds reconstruction and the evolution of integuments (New Phytologist)

The origin of seeds - the specialized structures that contain and protect the developing embryos- is a key event in plant evolution. Primitive seeds comprise an exposed nucellus surrounded by a lobate integument; in contrast, extant seeds have one or more integuments fully enclosing the nucellus.…

Trafficking of VHA-a isoforms in Arabidopsis thaliana (bioRxiv)

Vacuolar-type ATPase (V-ATPase) is a highly conserved enzyme but functionally diverse among eukaryotic cells. V-ATPases couple the energy released by ATP hydrolysis to pump protons across membranes of many cell types. In Arabidopsis, the V-ATPases containing different isoforms of V-ATPase catalytic…

Optimizing PollenCounter for high throughput phenotyping of pollen quality in tomatoes (MethodsX)

PollenCounter is an open source, ImageJ based macro that splits RGB images of stained pollen grains into the primary channels. The program estimates pollen viability in plants through analyzing red (total number of pollen grains) and green (only viable pollen grains) images, after which the particles…

Genes of the RAV family control heading date and carpel development in rice (Plant Physiol)

Seed-bearing annual plants essentially get one shot at getting their reproductive timing right; too early and there won’t be enough stored nutrients to produce healthy seeds, and too late and the seeds might not mature fully before bad weather or rot sets in. Previously, the RAV (RELATED TO ABI3 AND…

A single gene underlies the dynamic evolution of poplar sex determination (Nature Plants)

Dioecy (male and female flowers residing on distinct individuals) has independently arisen several times in angiosperms, yet the genetic basis of dioecy remains obscure. Here, Müller et al. reveal a single gene that acts as a sex-determination switch throughout the Populus genus. A negative regulator…

Plant dispersal strategies of high tropical alpine communities across the Andes (J. Ecol.)

Since dispersal is crucial for the assembly of plant communities, a better understanding of its relation to climate is needed to predict plant communities' responses to changes in the environment. However, this kind of association is still missing in tropical alpine ecosystems –one of the most vulnerable…

Hungry bumblebees bite plants to accelerate flowering (Science)

Bumblebees receive nutrition from flowers in exchange for aiding plant fertilization. This mutualistic relationship relies on timely availability of flowers for the pollinators, but annual variation in flowering time in changing environments can pose a challenge. Pashalidou and Lambert et al. now found…

Mutations PETALOSA cause a dominant double-flower phenotype (J. Exp. Bot.)

Flower development has always been a fascinating field of research in plant biology. While molecular studies in the past focused on regulatory genes involved in the formation of floral organs in model species, current investigations are addressing the genetic determinants underlying the huge variety…

The negative effect of a vertically transmitted fungal endophyte on seed longevity is stronger than that of ozone transgenerational effect ($) (Environ. Exp. Bot.)

Global environmental change brings new challenges to plants at different levels, including seed development and persistence. For example, the increasing ground-levels of ozone (O3) can affect seed viability, as a result of changes in the mother plant antioxidant machinery. These responses might depend…