Recent Posts

Review: Ten years of the maize nested association mapping population: Impact, limitations, and future directions (Plant Cell)

Linking phenotype to genotype is a major obstacle in plant biology, and conventional approaches (linkage analysis, association mapping) have limitations. Here Gage et al. review the past, present, and future impacts of a maize Nested Association Mapping (NAM) population developed throughout the 2000s.…

How far does stomatal activator and inhibitor signaling work in the plant epidermis? (bioRxiv)

Stomata are the pores on the plant surface surrounded by a pair of guard cells that control gaseous exchange and water loss. Among the many genes involved in stomatal patterning and development, EPIDERMAL PATTERNING FACTOR 1 (EPF1) and STOMAGEN encode signaling peptides and acts as negative (inhibitor)…

A molecular toolkit for screening elite rhizobia (PNAS)

N2-fixing rhizobia bacteria are able to establish symbiotic interactions with legumes in specialized organs called root nodules. Identifying elite rhizobia that are both competitive for nodule occupancy and effective in N2 fixation in agricultural environments is crucial for maximizing the yield of legumes.…

Review: Plant science's next top models (Ann. Bot)

Thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) has been the absolute star of plant science research for more than 40 years, being the ideal model organism for its ease of handling and transferable knowledge to crops. In this review, Cesarino and coworkers explain how advances in "omics" technologies, together with…

A close-up view of the thylakoids (eLIFE)

The thylakoid membranes inside the chloroplasts house the major protein complexes required for photosynthesis, including photosystems I and II (PSI/II), the b6f complex and ATP synthase. To optimize photosynthetic efficiency, the distribution and abundance of these complexes are dynamically regulated…

Review: Delayed luminescence of seeds: are shining seeds viable? (Seed Sci. Technol.)

Most of the current methods for assessing seed viability are time-consuming and destructive. As an alternative, some authors have suggested using procedures based on delayed luminescence; an ultra-weak light emitted by biological materials exposed to illumination. Here, Adeboye and Börner review the…

Perspective: What is replication? (PLOS Biol)

This is an interesting paper and certainly one to share with students. Nosek and Errington argue that how we usually think of as “replication”, repeating a study and observing the same results, is incorrect. Instead, they argue for abroader definition of replication, as something that supports the…

Versatile auto-luminescent luciferase-based reporters for spatiotemporal gene expression studies (eLIFE)

Firefly luciferase constructs are extensively used for gene expression studies but require a reaction with an exogenous substrate, so expression to some extent reflects tissue penetrance. Khakhar et al. designed customizable auto-luminescence constructs based on a fungal bioluminescence pathway (FBP)…

The Q-System as a synthetic transcriptional regulator in plants (Front. Plant Biol.)

The ability to reliably induce a transgene has greatly enhanced the study of plant biology. Various chemical inducible system have worked robustly in plants, but plant synthetic biology is still lacking an efficient orthogonal (from outside) inducible system where multiple genes can be controlled at…