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Sri Lanka national flower threatened by hybrid species

Sri Lanka national flower threatened by hybrid species | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Recent research has revealed that the national flower of Sri Lanka ‘Blue Water Lily or Nil Manel’ (Nymphaea nouchali) is facing the threat of extinction due to its hybridization with the violet flowered Nymphaea which is often misidentified as the national flower.

This research by Peradeniya University Botany Department Senior Lecturer Prof Deepthi Yakandawala and Wayamba University Horticulture and Landscape Gardening Department Senior Lecturer Dr Kapila Yakandawala has revealed a range of hybrids of these two varieties some closer to the native and some closer to the violet flowered Nymphaea which is acting as a silent invader. Prof Deepthi Yakandawala said that these hybrids are widely spreading over the country becoming a threat to the native original national flower.

“The violet flowered Nymphaea is thought to have been introduced into the country as an ornamental aquatic a long time back and has now got established in local water-bodies. It has been erroneously identified as the native variety in many literatures. It has not only invaded the natural habitats of the native variety, but has also extended its territory into larger tanks which are habitats of other aquatic plants."

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Why plant 'clones' aren't identical

Why plant 'clones' aren't identical | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Scientists have known for some time that 'clonal' (regenerant) organisms are not always identical: their observable characteristics and traits can vary, and this variation can be passed on to the next generation. This is despite the fact that they are derived from genetically identical founder cells.
Now, a team from Oxford University, UK, and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia, believe they have found out why this is the case in plants: the genomes of regenerant plants carry relatively high frequencies of new DNA sequence mutations that were not present in the genome of the donor plant.

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Talking Plants: The hundred day alga and five seasons for the UK, just for the record

Talking Plants: The hundred day alga and five seasons for the UK, just for the record | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Tim Entwisle reviews his first 100 days as Director of Conservation, Living Collections and Estates at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

Interesting thoughts on the big tasks ahead, such as working out what a 'Director of Conservation' does in an organisation where almost everything is about conservation.

"And on my 100th day? I visited Wakehurst Place to talk about the UK Seed Hub project (and exciting new venture bulking up seed for restoration projects) and the future of this estate as a premier visitor attraction (which it already is really, with more than 400,000 visitors a year in a fairly difficult to get to place).

On my return to Kew I spent my 'research afternoon' (my job includes a 10% research expectation) collecting some algae from a few of the ponds in the estate. There are massive filamentous algal blooms in nearly every pond at the moment so I'm curious, and we should know, what species are in them. I was also inspired by reading two papers by Brian Whitton on the pond flora of St James lake. Brian sampled the lake a few times back in the sixties and published algal lists in at least 1966 and 1969. He made a plea for more regular long term monitoring of ponds and the like.

Whether I can sustain regular collecting at Kew I don't know but at the very least we should know what algae grow in our ponds. I can also add this data to the currently blank fields under algae in Kew's Wildlife pages."

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Crop breeding could ‘slash CO2 levels’ (The University of Manchester)

Crop breeding could ‘slash CO2 levels’ (The University of Manchester) | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Breeding crops with roots a metre deeper in the ground could lower atmospheric CO2 levels dramatically, with significant environmental benefits, according to research by a leading University of Manchester scientist.

Writing in the journal Annals of Botany, Professor Douglas Kell argues that developing crops that produce roots more deeply in the ground could harvest more carbon from the air, and make crops more drought resistant, while dramatically reducing carbon levels.

In principle, any crops could be treated in this way, giving more productive yields while also being better for the environment.

Although the amount of carbon presently sequestered in the soil in the natural environment and using existing crops and grasses has been known for some time, Professor Kell’s new analysis is the first to reveal the benefits to the environment that might come from breeding novel crops with root traits designed to enhance carbon sequestration.

Professor Kell, Professor of Bioanalytical Science at the University as well as Chief Executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), has also devised a carbon calculator that can show the potential benefits of crops that burrow more deeply in the ground.

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Plant science: A leaf that's loud and proud

Plant science: A leaf that's loud and proud | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Many plants lure pollinators to their flowers with diverse colours and patterns, but Marcgravia evenia (pictured) has evolved to attract pollinators that rely on sound rather than sight. The Cuban rainforest vine grows a deep cup-shaped leaf above its flowers that creates a distinct echo for nectar-feeding bats.

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Coconuts: not indigenous, but quite at home nevertheless | Thoughtomics, Scientific American Blog Network

Coconuts: not indigenous, but quite at home nevertheless | Thoughtomics, Scientific American Blog Network | AnnBot | Scoop.it
Humans have always been eager to bring coconuts along on their travels, and for good reasons. Coconuts are not only a source of both food and water, different parts of the coconut palm can also be used for other purposes. Alcohol and sugar can be extracted from its sap, and cocos oil from the nut itself, for example. Today, they grow on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific ocean. But where did this useful crop first come from?
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Largest-ever Map of Interactions of Plant Proteins Produced

Largest-ever Map of Interactions of Plant Proteins Produced | AnnBot | Scoop.it
An international consortium of scientists has produced the first systematic network map of interactions that occur between proteins in the plant Arabidopsis thaliana. (Arabidopsis is a mustard plant that has 27,000 proteins and serves as a popular model organism for biological studies of plants, analogous to lab rats that serve as popular model organisms for biological studies of animals.)
Known as an "interactome," the new Arabidopsis network map defines 6,205 protein-to-protein Arabidopsis interactions involving 2,774 individual proteins. By itself, this map doubles the volume of data on protein interactions in plants that is currently available.
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Plant has a bat beckoning beacon

Plant has a bat beckoning beacon | AnnBot | Scoop.it
A rainforest vine has evolved dish-shaped leaves to attract the bats that pollinate it. The leaves were supremely efficient at bouncing back the sound pulses the flying mammals used to navigate. When the leaves were present the bats located the plant twice as quickly as when these echoing leaves were removed. The study is the first to find a plant with "specialised acoustic features" to help bat pollinators find them using sound.
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Outcomes of the 2011 Botanical Nomenclature Section at the XVIII International Botanical Congress

Outcomes of the 2011 Botanical Nomenclature Section at the XVIII International Botanical Congress | AnnBot | Scoop.it
The Nomenclature Section held with the 18th International Botanical Congress in Melbourne, Australia in July 2011 saw sweeping changes to the way scientists name new plants, algae, and fungi. The changes begin on the cover: the title was broadened to make explicit that the Code applies not only to plants, but also to algae and fungi. The new title will now be the International code for nomenclature of algae, fungi, and plants. For the first time in history the Code will allow for the electronic publication of names of new taxa. In an effort to make the publication of new names more accurate and efficient, the requirement for a Latin validating diagnosis or description was changed to allow either English or Latin for these essential components of the publication of a new name. Both of these latter changes will take effect on 1 January 2012. The nomenclatural rules for fungi will see several important changes, the most important of which is probably the adoption of the principle of “one fungus, one name.” Paleobotanists will also see changes with the elimination of the concept of “morphotaxa” from the Code.
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Source verification of mis-identified Arabidopsis thaliana accessions - Anastasio et al

Source verification of mis-identified Arabidopsis thaliana accessions - Anastasio et al | AnnBot | Scoop.it
Arabidopsis thaliana has a large number of naturally occurring inbred lines. There is a robust pattern of isolation by distance at several spatial scales, such that genetically identical individuals are generally found close to each other. However, some individual accessions deviate from this pattern. While some of these may be the products of rare long-distance dispersal events, many deviations may be the result of mis-identification. Of the 5965 accessions examined, 286 are potentially mis-identified. We describe these suspicious accessions and their possible origins. Finally, we discuss possibilities for maintaining the integrity of stock lines.
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Talking Plants: International Botanical Congress in Melbourne all a twitter

Talking Plants: International Botanical Congress in Melbourne all a twitter | AnnBot | Scoop.it
#IBC18 Blogged by conference chair Tim Entwisle
Half way through the International Botanical Congress in Melbourne it's time to draw breath. The pace has been cracking, particularly with hands on Twitter, eyes on the speaker and mind on running the Congress.
Some background first. The International Botanical Congress is held every six years and attracts botanists from around the world to discuss the latest developments in plant science. The previous congress was held in Vienna, Austria, in 2005, and the next will be held in China in 2017.
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Improving wheat yields for global food security

Improving wheat yields for global food security | AnnBot | Scoop.it
The rate of wheat-yield improvement achievable through conventional plant breeding and genetic engineering alone is not fast enough to compete with a rapidly growing global population, changing climates and decreasing water availability in the battle for accessible and affordable food and fuel.
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Feeding a hungry world with trees - AlertNet

Feeding a hungry world with trees - AlertNet | AnnBot | Scoop.it
Business as usual won’t feed the world’s growing population, but planting trees in farm fields could help...


Millions of farmers from around Africa have improved their soils and boosted their livelihoods by culturing nitrogen-fixing species such the indigenous African acacia, Faidherbia albida. Within only a few years of planting these trees and shrubs, farmers were reaping abundant harvests of maize from fields whose exhausted soil had previously produced almost nothing.
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Nature reaches for the high-hanging fruit

Nature reaches for the high-hanging fruit | AnnBot | Scoop.it

In the first study of its kind, researchers have used tools of paleontology to gain new insights into the diversity of natural plant chemicals. They have shown that during the evolution of these compounds nature doesn't settle for the 'low-hanging fruit' but favours rarer, harder to synthesise forms, giving pointers that will help in the search for potent new drugs.

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Environment Agency's 'hit list' of ten most invasive species - Telegraph

Environment Agency's 'hit list' of ten most invasive species - Telegraph | AnnBot | Scoop.it
A “hit list” of the ten invasive species which pose the biggest threat to
native wildlife on Britain’s waterways and cost £1.7bn a year to tackle has
been released by the Environment Agency.

Top 10 Invasive Species
Killer Shrimp
Water primrose
Floating pennywort
American Signal Crayfish
Top Mouth Gudgen
Giant Hogweed
Japanese Knotweed
Himalayan Balsam
Mink
Chinese Mitten Crab

 

EA press release at: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/news/132112.aspx 

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The Heredity Podcasts summarizing their published papers are back - Genetics Society

The Heredity Podcasts summarizing their published papers are back - Genetics Society | AnnBot | Scoop.it

I am happy to see that Richard Nichols and colleagues from Queen Mary has re-started his outstanding podcasts again for the journal Heredity - they are always excellent summaries of the articles in the journal, including informative discussions with the authors. In the issue released at the end of July, features include comparisions of Arabidopsis thaliana and A. lyrata showing reduced tranposable element activity in A. thaliana, and the statistical analysis of molecular clocks.

 

Unless you have Apple hardware or iTunes continuously bugging you to update/slow down/crash your system, downloading is tricky and not described on the Genetics, Heredity/Nature or Queen Mary websites however! On a PC, go to http://webspace.qmul.ac.uk/ranichols/podcast/july2011.mp3 or http://webspace.qmul.ac.uk/ranichols/podcast/may2011.mp3 or http://webspace.qmul.ac.uk/ranichols/podcast/January2011.mp3 (case-sensitive and different), and listen directly, or right-click and save-as in any directly you want to listen later.

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Network Evolution in an Arabidopsis Interactome Map e! Science News

Network Evolution in an Arabidopsis Interactome Map e! Science News | AnnBot | Scoop.it
An international team including Salk Institute plant biologist Joseph Ecker, describe their mapping and early analyses of thousands of protein-to-protein interactions within the cells of Arabidopsis thaliana. "With this one study we managed to double the plant protein-interaction data that are available to scientists," says Ecker,"This starts to give us a big, systems-level picture of how Arabidopsis works, and much of that systems-level picture is going to be relevant to - and guide further research on - other plant species, including those used in human agriculture and even pharmaceuticals."
In the paper, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6042/601.abstract , they note "Plants have unique features that evolved in response to their environments and ecosystems. A full account of the complex cellular networks that underlie plant-specific functions is still missing. We describe a proteome-wide binary protein-protein interaction map for the interactome network of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana containing about 6200 highly reliable interactions between about 2700 proteins. A global organization of plant biological processes emerges from community analyses of the resulting network, together with large numbers of novel hypothetical functional links between proteins and pathways. We observe a dynamic rewiring of interactions following gene duplication events, providing evidence for a model of evolution acting upon interactome networks. This and future plant interactome maps should facilitate systems approaches to better understand plant biology and improve crops."
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Insert Tongue Here – flower arrows guide fly tongues | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine

Insert Tongue Here – flower arrows guide fly tongues | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine | AnnBot | Scoop.it
The rare South African iris (Lapeirousia oreogena) has a ring of six stunning purple petals, atop an equally vivid straw-like stem. The petals have white marks, which look like arrows pointing towards the centre of the flower. And that’s exactly what they are.
The iris is pollinated by the accurately named “long-proboscid fly”, whose tongue is twice as long as its body. It hovers over the flower and aims for the centre, driving its tongue deep into the stem to reach the pool of nectar at the bottom. As it drinks, its head pushes against the flower’s male organs, which deposit a dollop of pollen. When the fly leaves, it carries this payload to another iris. The flies and the flowers are intimate partners of evolution. The long tongues and stems have been perfectly aligned to give one partner a drink and the other a flying sexual aide.
All of this depends on the white arrows. When Dennis Hansen from the University of Kwazulu-Natal painted over the markings, the fly could no longer find the flower’s centre. The arrows are like a sign that says, “Insert tongue here”.
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Science: Independently Evolved Virulence Effectors Converge onto Hubs in a Plant Immune System Network

Science: Independently Evolved Virulence Effectors Converge onto Hubs in a Plant Immune System Network | AnnBot | Scoop.it
Plants generate effective responses to infection by recognizing both conserved and variable pathogen-encoded molecules. Pathogens deploy virulence effector proteins into host cells, where they interact physically with host proteins to modulate defense. We generated an interaction network of plant-pathogen effectors from two pathogens spanning the eukaryote-eubacteria divergence, three classes of Arabidopsis immune system proteins, and ~8000 other Arabidopsis proteins. We noted convergence of effectors onto highly interconnected host proteins and indirect, rather than direct, connections between effectors and plant immune receptors. We demonstrated plant immune system functions for 15 of 17 tested host proteins that interact with effectors from both pathogens. Thus, pathogens from different kingdoms deploy independently evolved virulence proteins that interact with a limited set of highly connected cellular hubs to facilitate their diverse life-cycle strategies.
Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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The new measurement frontier - Citations and impact factors are old hat

The new measurement frontier - Citations and impact factors are old hat | AnnBot | Scoop.it
We write academic blogs; the backchannel of conferences is played out through Twitter; and reference managers such as Mendeley manage a library of close to 100 million papers for more than 1 million academics. All of this activity indicates impact. What is more, because it is on the web, we can observe and measure it.
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Patrick Schnable gives Capitol Hill seminar on the future of our food

Patrick Schnable gives Capitol Hill seminar on the future of our food | AnnBot | Scoop.it
Patrick Schnable addressed a crowd in a hearing room for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture. The seminar, entitled "Mapping for the future of our food,” focused on the importance of public sector funding of plant science research and development in boosting crop yields amid increasing demands for plant-based products including food, feed, fiber, and fuel. Schnable called for innovation in addressing potential challenges, namely decreasing amounts of arable land, increasing costs and undesirable ecological impacts of agricultural inputs, and coping with climate variability.
Schnable highlighted the value of next generation sequencing technologies in linking genes to crop traits resulting in ultimate improvements in yield, disease and pest resistance, and nutrient utilization. He sees traditional breeding and genetic engineering as complementary approaches in meeting this goal. He stressed that U.S. involvement in this type of agricultural research is essential.
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Species affected by climate change: to shift or not to shift?

Species affected by climate change: to shift or not to shift? | AnnBot | Scoop.it
Relocating species threatened by climate change is a radical and hotly debated strategy for maintaining biodiversity. In a paper published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers from CSIRO, University of Queensland and United States Geological Survey present a pragmatic decision framework for determining when, if ever, to move species in the face of climate change.
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Weedpicker's Journal:: A Habitat Hero

Weedpicker's Journal:: A Habitat Hero | AnnBot | Scoop.it
A rare butterfly is tracked down by finding a rare thistle

"The Swamp Metalmark was a butterfly thought to be extirpated from Ohio. Since 1988 no one had seen this little creature, not much bigger than a copper colored penny."
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