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Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
Hooks and hot topics for university teachers and students
Curated by Mary Williams
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ASPB Position Statement on Plant Genetic Engineering

ASPB Position Statement on Plant Genetic Engineering | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) supports the continued, responsible use of genetic engineering as an effective tool for advancing food security and reducing the negative environmental impacts of agriculture. ASPB also supports the continued use and further development of appropriate, science-based procedures and regulations to assess the risks and benefits of all new agricultural technologies and products, including those developed using GE......"

Read the full statement at the link

http://my.aspb.org/members/group_content_view.asp?group=68890&id=99039

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The brassinosteroid chemical toolbox

The brassinosteroid chemical toolbox | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Highlights



Brassinosteroid research benefited from several chemical biology approaches.


Small molecules target biosynthesis as well as signaling.


Analogs of brassinolide allowed binding studies and visualization.


Small molecules present large opportunities for future brassinosteroid research.

Chemical biology approaches have been instrumental in understanding the mode of action of brassinosteroids, a group of plant steroid hormones essential for plant development and growth. The small molecules used for such approaches include inhibitors of biosynthetic enzymes and signaling components. Additionally, recent structural data on the brassinosteroid receptor complex together with its ligand brassinolide, the most active brassinosteroid, and knowledge on its different analogs have given us a better view on the recognition of the hormone and signaling initiation. Moreover, a fluorescently labeled brassinosteroid enabled the visualization of the receptor–ligand pair in the cell. Given the insights obtained, small molecules will continue to provide new opportunities for probing brassinosteroid biosynthesis and for unraveling the dynamic and highly interconnected signaling.

Via Christophe Jacquet
Mary Williams's insight:

Oh - super review from the Dec 2014 Curr Opin Plant Biol!

I'm reading this on the plane tonight!

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A Broadly Implementable Research Course in Phage Discovery and Genomics for First-Year Undergraduate Students

A Broadly Implementable Research Course in Phage Discovery and Genomics for First-Year Undergraduate Students | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

This is from Feb 2014, but if you are interested hin how learning by doing can help your students get excited about biology it's good reading

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Biodiversity Heritage Library: Exploring the Rich History of Plant Science

Biodiversity Heritage Library: Exploring the Rich History of Plant Science | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

The wonderful Biodiversity Heritage Library interviewed me about how I use their oustanding collection of digitized natural history books .

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PLOS One: Imitation, Genetic Lineages, and Time Influenced the Morphological Evolution of the Violin

PLOS One: Imitation, Genetic Lineages, and Time Influenced the Morphological Evolution of the Violin | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
The parallels between the factors responsible for the changes in violin shape over the centuries and the evolution of complex biological shapes are striking.
Mary Williams's insight:

Terrific - how to get your students thinking about shape and evolution, form and function, using a very different system

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Spread the word during European Biotech Week - science, not fiction. Growing Voices - Mybiotech

Spread the word during European Biotech Week - science, not fiction. Growing Voices - Mybiotech | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Plant science often appears on social media for the wrong reasons, with fictitious scare stories about ‘frankenfoods’. We want to show people that plants scientists are dedicated people trying to find solutions to the big problems facing the world – hunger, malnutrition and environmental protection. The best way we can do this is by showing them the faces of ordinary people like us who are proud to work in plant sciences and what we get up to on a day-to-day basis.This is science, not fiction.
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Life Sciences opening by Sir David... - University of Bristol | Facebook

Life Sciences opening by Sir David... - University of Bristol | Facebook | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Posing for selfies.

University of Bristol, Life Sciences Building Opening, Sir David Attenborough Bhagesh Sachania/University of Bristol
Mary Williams's insight:

I love this photo! Life scientists at the University of Bristol got to meet and mingle with David Attenborough at the opening of their new life science building yesterday

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Here's Why We Haven't Quite Figured Out How to Feed Billions More People

Here's Why We Haven't Quite Figured Out How to Feed Billions More People | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Solving the world's looming food crisis will require big investments in agricultural research, yet public support for that is lagging.
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How to read a scientific paper / How to read a paper in Plant Physiology

How to read a scientific paper / How to read a paper in Plant Physiology | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

We posted these last year and have had excellent feedback.

"How to Read a Scientific Paper"

(https://journalaccess.aspb.org/ReadaSciPaper/How%20to%20Read%20a%20Scientific%20Paper%20M%20Williams%20Mar%202013.pdf)


"How to read a paper in Plant Physiology"

https://journalaccess.aspb.org/CaseStudy/CaseStudy%20for%20How%20to%20Read%20a%20Sci%20Paper%20M%20Williams%20Mar%202013.pdf

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The green snot taking over the world’s rivers

The green snot taking over the world’s rivers | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
A strange green organism has spread around the globe, clogging up the world's rivers
Mary Williams's insight:

Fascinating story about Didymosphenia geminata (Didymo) diatoms, aka "rock snot"! They behave in a strange way as they proliferate when soluble phosphate levels are very LOW (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0269249X.2014.889041#.VCpWeBaCjX0).

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New Teaching Tool, "Plant Nutrition 1: Membrane Transport and Energetics, Potassium Nutrition, & Sodium Toxicity"

New Teaching Tool, "Plant Nutrition 1: Membrane Transport and Energetics, Potassium Nutrition, & Sodium Toxicity" | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

In this first of three lessons spanning the topic of Plant Nutrition, we examine primarily the energetics and mechanisms of nutrient uptake and transport. These processes are particularly well illustrated by an examination of the essential nutrient potassium (K), and the closely related element sodium (Na). We also examine the challenges associated with providing plants with sufficient K to support vigorous growth, and the detrimental effects of sodium accumulation in soils. Finally, we examine efforts to improve the salinity tolerance of crop plants. (Co-authored with Michael Blatt).

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Darin Hoagland's curator insight, September 26, 1:34 PM

I love new education tools.

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Organic chemistry in its applications to agriculture and physiology (von Liebig, 1840). Biodiversity Heritage Library

Organic chemistry in its applications to agriculture and physiology (von Liebig, 1840). Biodiversity Heritage Library | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"One of the most remarkable features of modern times is the combination of large numbers of individuals representing the whole intelligence of nations, for the express purpose of advancing science by their united efforts. The influence of (scientific truths) upon mental culture is most beneficial, and the new views acquired by the knowledge of them enable the mind to recognise in the phenomena of nature proofs of an infinite wisdom, the unfathomable profundity of which language has no expression."

Mary Williams's insight:

I love the last phrase - "the unfathomable profundity of which language has no expression". I think that captures the essence of being a scientist.

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NY Times: Testing Future Conditions for the Food Chain

NY Times: Testing Future Conditions for the Food Chain | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Researchers are trying to mimic the growing conditions expected to arise decades in the future as the air fills with heat-trapping gases and other pollutants from human activity, with some worrisome results.
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B.B. Singh's quest to make cowpea the food legume of the 21st century | American Society of Agronomy

B.B. Singh's quest to make cowpea the food legume of the 21st century | American Society of Agronomy | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
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Intracellular catalytic domain of Symbiosis Receptor Kinase (SYMRK) hyperactivates spontaneous nodulation in absence of rhizobia

Intracellular catalytic domain of Symbiosis Receptor Kinase (SYMRK) hyperactivates spontaneous nodulation in absence of rhizobia | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Symbiosis Receptor Kinase (SYMRK), a member of Nod-factor signalling pathway is indispensible for both nodule organogenesis and intracellular colonisation of symbionts in rhizobia-legume symbiosis. Here we show that the intracellular kinase-domain of a SYMRK (SYMRK-kd), but not its inactive or full length version, leads to hyperactivation of the nodule organogenic program in Medicago truncatula TR25 (symrk knockout mutant) in absence of rhizobia. Spontaneous nodulation in TR25/SYMRK-kd was 6 fold higher than rhizobia induced nodulation in TR25/SYMRK roots. The merged clusters of spontaneous nodules indicated that TR25 roots in presence of SYMRK-kd have overcome the control over both nodule numbers and their spatial position. In presence of rhizobia, SYMRK-kd could rescue the epidermal infection processes in TR25, but colonisation of symbionts in the nodule interior was significantly compromised. In summary, ligand independent deregulated activation of SYMRK hyperactivates nodule organogenesis in absence of rhizobia but its ectodomain is required for proper symbiont colonisation.

Via Christophe Jacquet
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Searchable image collections from the National Museum of Natural History

Searchable image collections from the National Museum of Natural History | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

I discovered this great image database today, enjoy browsing their collection of plant photos, paintings and drawings!

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ASPB's hiring an Executive Coordinator to.....

ASPB's hiring an Executive Coordinator to..... | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

to develop and implement a communications strategy and heighten recognition and awareness of the National Plant Science Council (NPSC), and to increase support for the goals articulated in the Plant Science Decadal Vision (http://tinyurl.com/PSDecadalVision).

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Plant Physiology, Focus Issue on Roots, October 2014

Plant Physiology, Focus Issue on Roots, October 2014 | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"The nature of roots is to bury themselves into the soil and to enter into most intimate contact with their substrate, such that it is very hard to observe their growth and development, much less to extract them from the soil intact. Moreover, the soil is a substrate of mind-boggling heterogeneity and complexity, its complicated chemical and physical structure being potentiated by the biological diversity in the form of microbial communities. "

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If he were alive today Alfred Nobel would have wanted an environment prize

If he were alive today Alfred Nobel would have wanted an environment prize | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
It’s Nobel Prize week, with awards for Medicine and Physiology, Physics, Chemistry, Peace and Economics being announced over the next seven days. We will discover who will win the literature prize later…
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Nature Is Speaking – Kevin Spacey is The Rainforest | Conservation International (CI) - YouTube

Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Kevin Spacey, Edward Norton, Penélope Cruz, and Robert Redford all join forces to give nature a voice. Watch the films and take...
Mary Williams's insight:

"Humans, making air. Ha. That'll be fun to watch" says the rainforest

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Growing the Next Generation of Botanical Pioneers - who have to deal with a natural world "shredded by human demand"

Growing the Next Generation of Botanical Pioneers - who have to deal with a natural world "shredded by human demand" | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
By Mike Maunder, Interim Director, The Kampong, National Tropical Botanical Garden Two weeks ago I was in South Sudan working with East African and South Sudanese colleagues preparing a plant conse...
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Chemistry: Chemical con artists foil drug discovery

Chemistry: Chemical con artists foil drug discovery | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Naivety about promiscuous, assay-duping molecules is polluting the literature and wasting resources, warn Jonathan Baell and Michael A. Walters.
Mary Williams's insight:

Don't you love Roz Chast cartoons? Good article.

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Nitrogen signalling in plant interactions with associative and endophytic diazotrophic bacteria

Nitrogen signalling in plant interactions with associative and endophytic diazotrophic bacteria | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Some beneficial plant-interacting bacteria can biologically fix N2 to plant-available ammonium.


Via Jean-Michel Ané
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Assistant Professor Position in Plant Biology | Department of Plant & Microbial Biology | UC Berkeley

Assistant Professor Position in Plant Biology | Department of Plant & Microbial Biology | UC Berkeley | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Mary Williams's insight:

It's a great department on a great campus - I spent more than 8 years in Berkeley (undergrad, postdoc and sabbatical visitor) and it's heaven. Good luck all you applicants!

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Video of Translation (basic detail) | HHMI’s BioInteractive

Video of Translation (basic detail) | HHMI’s BioInteractive | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
The ribosome is a molecular factory that translates the genetic information in RNA into a string of amino acids that becomes a protein. Inside the ribosome, the genetic code of the RNA is read three letters at a time and compared with the corresponding code on a transfer molecule. When a match occurs between the codes, the amino acid carried by the transfer molecule is added to the growing protein chain.
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