Taproot S6E5: Transforming Plants and the Culture of Publishing

In this episode, we speak with Yunde Zhao, a Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of California San Diego. Yunde earned his Bachelors in Biochemistry from East China University of Science and Technology, received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Michigan, and did his postdoctoral training in plant genetics at the Salk Institute, where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation. In January 2022, Yunde started his appointment as the Editor-in-Chief of Plant Physiology, one of the oldest plant journals.

We discuss a recent paper from Yunde’s lab describing a fast and non-invasive method for monitoring plant transformations, and talk about the transformations that are needed in the publishing world. We also address a recent controversy about diversity among some newly appointed Plant Physiology editors.

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Plant Physiology Synbio Initiative


Pandemic-related effects on publishing are gendered:





He, Zhang, Sun, Zhan, and Zhao. A reporter for noninvasively monitoring gene expression and plant transformation. (2020). Horticulture Research 19:152.



Twitter Handles 

Liz Haswell Twitter @ehaswell

Ivan Baxter Twitter @baxtertwi

Yunde Zhao Twitter @YundeZhao

Taproot Podcast Twitter @taprootpodcast


The Taproot is the podcast that digs beneath the surface to understand how scientific publications in plant biology are created. In each episode, co-hosts Liz Haswell and Ivan Baxter take a paper from the literature and talk about the story behind the science with one of its authors.

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Questions, feedback, suggestions?  Contact us at taproot@plantae.org.

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