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Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
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Happy Thanksgiving! Sweet Potato Gets Funding

Happy Thanksgiving! Sweet Potato Gets Funding | AnnBot | Scoop.it

While turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving plate, a humble side dish is getting its moment in the science spotlight. The Global Crop Diversity Trust and the International Potato Center in Peru have set aside $1 million for a renewable 5-year grant that aims to study and protect the crop. The grant is designed to help scientists study and maintain the tuber’s genetic diversity, as well as develop ways to make it more resistant to pests, disease, and weather changes.

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Lots of systems biology and control to think about in Google's homage to SciFi writer Stanisław Lem

Lots of systems biology and control to think about in Google's homage to SciFi writer Stanisław Lem | AnnBot | Scoop.it

While my stream is filled with Google-Turkey doodles this morning, the actual current Google homepage (23 Nov www.google.com ) has a doodle very relevant to the systems biology thinking that I touched on in my cell and developmental biology course. It is based on animations of Science Fiction writer Stanisław Lem's work, but shows terrific examples of the different types of control mechanisms that can be used to achieve the same ends - a particular output based on an input and several switches for control. Can you think of examples with gene networks involving different control approaches? Are there any examples of redundancy in the doodle, and how robust are the controls to errors or perturbation? The waveform generator has many parallels in plant biology, with different examples of triangular waves, sine-waves, and switches/square waves, in various phases with the output. Think about feed-back and feed-forward for the man-in-the-cannon example too - how is that related to prediction of seasonal changes? What are biological inputs and outputs?

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First night-flowering orchid discovered.

First night-flowering orchid discovered. | AnnBot | Scoop.it

A night-flowering orchid, the first of its kind known to science, has been described by a team of botanists. Experts say the remarkable species is the only orchid known to consistently flower at night, but why it has adopted this behaviour remains a mystery.

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Flirty Plants

Flirty Plants | AnnBot | Scoop.it

If the sexual landscape of plants turns out to show abundant signs of fights and flirting, the tensions could easily play out in another phenomenon familiar from animals: battles of the sexes. Researchers are starting to look at conflicts for resources between male and female functions in the same plant. After the pollen bash in the bar, there could be some slaps on the face and door slamming in the parking lot.

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AoB Blog - YouTube Channel

AoB Blog - YouTube Channel | AnnBot | Scoop.it

AoB now has a YouTube channel making it easier for you to access all the videos embedded on the blog :-)

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Debate: Is Research for Development Relevant to Water and Food Challenges?

Debate: Is Research for Development Relevant to Water and Food Challenges? | AnnBot | Scoop.it
The International Forum on Water and Food is the premier gathering of water and food scientists working on improving agriculture production in developing countries.

... research-for-development is highly relevant precisely because we are facing the unprecedented change previously mentioned. As he remarked, “If you don’t already have the solutions to these [water and food problems], where else are you going to go, except to research?” We must acknowledge research provides innovation and insight.

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Plant Inspired Waterproofing?

Plant Inspired Waterproofing? | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Salvinia molesta, a floating Brazilian fern that has spread to the Americas and Australia, is a well-known hazard for the world’s waterways, with its growth causing massive clogs. But now researchers have found a way to put it, or at least the hairs that cover its surface, to good use. The hairs serve the plant by trapping air and helping it float on water, but engineers who have recreated the texture and suggest it could serve a waterproofing function for boats and submarines to reduce drag while boosting buoyancy and stability.

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Fires are changing seed evolution

Fires are changing seed evolution | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Human-made fires are influencing the evolutionary process of some plant species' seeds. Scientists found that seeds that were less rounded and coated in thicker protective hairs were more likely to survive fires used to clear scrub.

See: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/10/31/1108863108.abstract


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Punjab burning

Punjab burning | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog points to some stunning photos of the rice harvest in 'Punjab Burning'. 

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Plant pests: The biggest threats to food security?

Plant pests: The biggest threats to food security? | AnnBot | Scoop.it

The threat posed to crop production by plant pests and diseases is one the key factors that could lead to "a perfect storm" that threatens to destabilise global food security. Already, the biological threat accounts for about a 40% loss in global production and the problem is forecast to get worse.


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The Most Alien-Looking Place on Earth?

The Most Alien-Looking Place on Earth? | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Socotra island has been geographically isolated from mainland Africa for the last 6 or 7 million years. Like the Galapagos Islands, Socotra island is teeming with 700 extremely rare species of flora and fauna, a full 1/3 of which are endemic, i.e. found nowhere else on Earth.

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The role of agricultural biodiversity in diets in the developing world

The role of agricultural biodiversity in diets in the developing world | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Improving diet diversity, quality and ecosystem sustainability. 1.6 billion people are overweight, 2 billion have micronutrient deficiencies, and 60% of the world's food energy intake comes from just three cereals, wheat, rice and maize. This presentation asks about the role of agricultural biodiversity in diets in the developing world: Improving diet diversity, quality and ecosystem sustainability.

 

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Poison oak planted to protect Feather River burial ground - sacbee.com

Poison oak planted to protect Feather River burial ground - sacbee.com | AnnBot | Scoop.it
Most people have no use for poison oak, but a flood control agency is planting rows of the stuff along the Feather River, even providing irrigation to help it thrive.

 

They've also added wild roses and blackberries to add thorns, but why? It turns out plants make excellent security guards.

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Statistics: Odds Are, It's Wrong - Science News

Statistics: Odds Are, It's Wrong - Science News | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Science has long been married to mathematics. Generally it has been for the better. Especially since the days of Galileo and Newton, math has nurtured science. Rigorous mathematical methods have secured science’s fidelity to fact and conferred a timeless reliability to its findings.
During the past century, though, a mutant form of math has deflected science’s heart from the modes of calculation that had long served so faithfully. Science was seduced by statistics, the math rooted in the same principles that guarantee profits for Las Vegas casinos. Supposedly, the proper use of statistics makes relying on scientific results a safe bet. But in practice, widespread misuse of statistical methods makes science more like a crapshoot.

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Louie Schwartzberg: The hidden beauty of pollination

http://www.ted.com Pollination: it's vital to life on Earth, but largely unseen by the human eye. Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg shows us the intricate world. Pollination starts about 3:15

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» Leonardo’s Formula Explains Why Trees Don’t Splinter

» Leonardo’s Formula Explains Why Trees Don’t Splinter | AnnBot | Scoop.it
Trees almost always grow so that the total thickness of their branches at a particular height is equal to the thickness of their trunks. Until now, no one has been able to explain why trees obey this rule, which Leonardo da Vinci first noticed.
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Columbine flower shows off flowing tails

Columbine flower shows off flowing tails | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Researchers have discovered that the key to the different lengths of columbine spurs is the shape of the cells inside. Previously, it was thought that the different lengths were due to the number of cells. Columbines are a living example of evolutionary diversity - they come in over 70 species, each with flowers tailored to the length of their pollinators' tongues. The short, curled spurs of Aquilegia vulgaris attract bees, while the longer tails of the appropriately-named Aquilegia longissima appeal to hawkmoths.

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Blog.1DegreeBio.org | 42 Reasons to Make Your Way to the Lab Each Morning

Blog.1DegreeBio.org | 42 Reasons to Make Your Way to the Lab Each Morning | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Why do you wake up in the morning and make your way to the lab after a reasonable amount of time, food consumption, and whatever else? What are your motives, driving forces, and points of no return? I have seen my share of weird rationales in my time, so I figured, why not share some of these with you here!

1. You love your project. It has been challenging, interesting, and refreshing.

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Good preparation is key, even for plant cells and symbiotic fungi

Good preparation is key, even for plant cells and symbiotic fungi | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Not only mineral oil and petroleum gas, phosphorus is also a scarce resource. According to scientists who gathered together for a conference in Cambridge this August, we will face significant problems relating to phosphorus deficiency in just 20 years. Many soils are already depleted for phosphorus today.

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Plant genetics and opportunities in agriculture

What role could or should plant genetics play in increasing agricultural production? Dave Baulcombe, a prominent scientist, and leading farmer debate this crucial question.

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Banana science for sustainable livelihoods | ProMusa Meeting in Brazil

Banana science for sustainable livelihoods | ProMusa Meeting in Brazil | AnnBot | Scoop.it

After years of being told about the limits of conventional breeding, it was refreshing to hear that evolutionary-inspired strategies were overcoming the legendary low fertility of bananas. The symposium was also the occasion for celebrating not only the forthcoming release of the first reference genome sequence of banana, but also the choice of DH Pahang, when it was announced that the Musa acuminata ssp. malaccensis accession used to generate DH Pahang is resistant to Tropical Race 4 of Fusarium wilt. Meanwhile, the results obtained with plants genetically modified to express genes that inhibit programmed cell death suggest that it may one day be possible to make any banana cultivar resistant to any Fusarium wilt race.

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The pollinator crisis: What's best for bees?

The pollinator crisis: What's best for bees? | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Pollinating insects are in crisis. Understanding bees' relationships with introduced plant species could help.


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GM potato awaits go-ahead for Europe

GM potato awaits go-ahead for Europe | AnnBot | Scoop.it

CHEMICALS giant BASF has requested European Union approval for a genetically-modified (GM) potato which can resist a common plant disease. The firm is waiting for the go-ahead on Fortuna, which researchers say is resistant to late blight, which is caused by Phytophthora infestans, a fungi-like pathogen.

The disease destroys both the leaves and the edible roots and is responsible for the loss of up to 20 per cent of the global potato harvest each year. In March last year, BASF won approval for Amflora, another GM potato for commercial cultivation. Fortuna is the first GM food plant BASF has sought to market within the European Union.

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Mould fungi can cure plants

Mould fungi can cure plants | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Mould fungi can be found almost everywhere. Their success is due to their remarkable versatility: depending on external conditions, they can choose quite different lifestyles. Sometimes fungi can be very useful for plants. They can shield the plants from diseases and at the same time boost their growth. Genetic studies show that fungi can be used as an eco-friendly alternative to conventional fertilizers and plant protecting agents.

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Autumn leaves: Different this year thanks to spectroscopy

Autumn leaves: Different this year thanks to spectroscopy | AnnBot | Scoop.it

For those of us in the temperate North, Autumn is here, the Fall is upon us, deciduous leaves are changing colour and the New England tourism season is in full swing. Chemists though they knew almost everything they needed to know about what makes those verdant hues transform into the reds, yellows, oranges and browns of autumn. It was "simply" the decomposition of the green, light-trapping pigment chlorophyll, the excretion of toxic metabolites into the leaves and the withdrawal of still useful nutrients. Simple? No so fast...

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