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Biology: Changing the world. A new project from the Society of Biology

Biology: Changing the world. A new project from the Society of Biology | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Biology: Changing the world inspiring and celebrating the great biologists of the UK - a new project by the Society of Biology, Heritage Lottery Fund and BBSRC.

Biology: Changing the World will celebrate life science research and life scientists, communicating their discoveries to students and teachers. The project focusses on how biology has saved the world, from discoveries that have changed how we treat a disease to scientists that have campaigned to save a species on the bridge of extinction. Sharing the journey of the individual; how they became a biologist and the hurdles they overcame will be a crucial part of our project."
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Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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Evolution of physiological responses to salt stress in hexaploid wheat

Evolution of physiological responses to salt stress in hexaploid wheat | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Very nice! Examining the salt tolerance of hexaploid wheat, its progenitors and a synthetic hexaploid reveals "polyploidy-induced alteration in gene regulation under salt stress"

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Simultaneous editing of three homoeoalleles in hexaploid bread wheat confers heritable resistance to powdery mildew - Nature Biotech.

Simultaneous editing of three homoeoalleles in hexaploid bread wheat confers heritable resistance to powdery mildew - Nature Biotech. | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Wang et al, 2014

Sequence-specific nucleases have been applied to engineer targeted modifications in polyploid genomes1, but simultaneous modification of multiple homoeoalleles has not been reported. Here we use transcription activator–like effector nuclease (TALEN)2,3 and clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9 (refs. 4,5) technologies in hexaploid bread wheat to introduce targeted mutations in the three homoeoalleles that encode MILDEW- RESISTANCE LOCUS (MLO) proteins6. Genetic redundancy has prevented evaluation of whether mutation of all three MLO alleles in bread wheat might confer resistance to powdery mildew, a trait not found in natural populations7. We show that TALEN-induced mutation of all three TaMLO homoeologs in the same plant confers heritable broad-spectrum resistanceto powdery mildew. We further use CRISPR-Cas9 technologyto generate transgenic wheat plants that carry mutations inthe TaMLO-A1 allele. We also demonstrate the feasibility of engineering targeted DNA insertion in bread wheat through nonhomologous end joining of the double-strand breaks caused by TALENs. Our findings provide a methodological framework to improve polyploid crops.


Via dromius
Mary Williams's insight:

I'm trying to catch up with what I missed while traveling. I think this is one of the more exciting papers that came out in the past few weeks, and I'm a bit surprised that it didn't get more press coverage.

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Fesquet didier's curator insight, July 22, 2:22 AM

this open the way for developping non toxic wheat species...good for celiac people...maybe one day...hopes for a slice of pizza :-)

 

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A tidal wave of signals: calcium and ROS at the forefront of rapid systemic signaling: Trends in Plant Science

A tidal wave of signals: calcium and ROS at the forefront of rapid systemic signaling: Trends in Plant Science | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Systemic signaling pathways enable multicellular organisms to prepare all of their tissues and cells to an upcoming challenge that may initially only be sensed by a few local cells. They are activated in plants in response to different stimuli including mechanical injury, pathogen infection, and abiotic stresses. Key to the mobilization of systemic signals in higher plants are cell-to-cell communication events that have thus far been mostly unstudied. The recent identification of systemically propagating calcium (Ca2+) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) waves in plants has unraveled a new and exciting cell-to-cell communication pathway that, together with electric signals, could provide a working model demonstrating how plant cells transmit long-distance signals via cell-to-cell communication mechanisms. Here, we summarize recent findings on the ROS and Ca2+ waves and outline a possible model for their integration.


Via Christophe Jacquet
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Tricking plants to see the light may control the most important twitch on Earth | CALS News

Tricking plants to see the light may control the most important twitch on Earth | CALS News | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Mary Williams's insight:

Such awesome work - summary of the Vierstra lab's determination of the crystal structure of the light-sensing domain of phytochrome
www.pnas.org/content/111/28/10179.abstract

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Comparative Phylogenomics Uncovers the Impact of Symbiotic Associations on Host Genome Evolution

Comparative Phylogenomics Uncovers the Impact of Symbiotic Associations on Host Genome Evolution | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Abstract


Mutualistic symbioses between eukaryotes and beneficial microorganisms of their microbiome play an essential role in nutrition, protection against disease, and development of the host. However, the impact of beneficial symbionts on the evolution of host genomes remains poorly characterized. Here we used the independent loss of the most widespread plant–microbe symbiosis, arbuscular mycorrhization (AM), as a model to address this question. Using a large phenotypic approach and phylogenetic analyses, we present evidence that loss of AM symbiosis correlates with the loss of many symbiotic genes in the Arabidopsis lineage (Brassicales). Then, by analyzing the genome and/or transcriptomes of nine other phylogenetically divergent non-host plants, we show that this correlation occurred in a convergent manner in four additional plant lineages, demonstrating the existence of an evolutionary pattern specific to symbiotic genes. Finally, we use a global comparative phylogenomic approach to track this evolutionary pattern among land plants. Based on this approach, we identify a set of 174 highly conserved genes and demonstrate enrichment in symbiosis-related genes. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that beneficial symbionts maintain purifying selection on host gene networks during the evolution of entire lineages.


Via Pierre-Marc Delaux, Jean-Michel Ané
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Pierre-Marc Delaux's curator insight, July 17, 11:57 AM

Yeah!! Online finally :)

Jean-Michel Ané's curator insight, July 17, 12:28 PM

Paper from our lab!

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Assistant Professor Position in Plant-Microbe Interactions at UW Madison

Assistant Professor  Position in Plant-Microbe Interactions at UW Madison | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

The Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is searching broadly at the assistant professor level for a researcher who studies the ecology or epidemiology of plant-associated microbes through the use of emerging and novel quantitative methods. Areas of focus could include, but are not limited to: role of plant pathogens in the ecology of agricultural or natural systems; ecology of plant-associated microbes; population genetics of plant pathogens; metapopulation and dispersal dynamics; or the influence of landscapes and the physical environment on host-pathogen dynamics. The position carries a 70% research / 30% teaching distribution of effort, and a 9-month appointment.

Research Responsibilities: We expect the incumbent to develop a research program with both empirical and theoretical components that form a bridge between basic and applied research. Further, we expect the incumbent to collaborate with colleagues in other programs such as plant biology, microbiology, ecology, modeling and related disciplines. In addition, the successful candidate will be expected to develop a vigorous extramurally funded research program.

Teaching Responsibilities: Teaching responsibilities include leading a graduate level course in ecology, epidemiology and control of plant diseases. The University of Wisconsin attracts excellent graduate students and offers high-quality research and teaching facilities. Many opportunities exist on the campus for collaboration across a broad array of disciplines. The successful candidate will also be expected to teach and mentor graduate and undergraduate students.


Via Jean-Michel Ané
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ABC News: Canola virus wipes out crops in South Australia (2014)

ABC News: Canola virus wipes out crops in South Australia (2014) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Scientists say an outbreak of beet western yellows virus is one of the worst cases ever seen in Australia.


Early estimates suggest up to 10,000 hectares of canola have been affected, in South Australia's lower north, mid north and lower mallee regions. The virus is transported by green peach aphids, which have thrived in the state's recent warm and humid weather. Ag consultant Mick Faulkner says agronomists felt like they'd been "blind-sided" after not being able to work out what had been affecting crops. "It took everyone a fair bit of time to realise that we weren't killing the aphids," Mr Faulkner said. "Green paddocks are now brown. "Those that have been affected, I have grave fears that they won't yield anything at all."


Virus halted for now - The South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) says it's now testing samples to confirm how the virus is spreading and where else it might turn up. Pulse pathologist Jenny Davidson says with cooler weather, the virus-transmitting aphids aren't moving and at the moment the best thing growers can do is "nothing", "We expect that the spread of this virus would've stopped for now, so there's no point people going out and spraying aphids now," she says. "It's also important growers ascertain it actually is the virus causing problems in their canola crops, there may be other things going on as well. "The potential risk is what these aphids will do in spring time. "We're not sure whether or not pulse crops are at risk but we'll have that information back well and truly before the spring time flights." Ms Davidson says the virus isn't uncommon, but what is unusual is the extent of damage and infection being seen. She says it's taken everyone by surprise. "I've never seen this level of damage from any virus in crops," Ms Davidson says. "It's the magnitude of what we're dealing with that is totally un-expected."


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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Milestones in Plant Science - add your suggestions to the developing timeline hosted by ASPB

Milestones in Plant Science - add your suggestions to the developing timeline hosted by ASPB | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

What are the big events that shaped our understanding of plants? This site is starting to collect major milestones in the discipline, but needs your help. Send in your suggestion!

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The Scientist Magazine® profile of Bruce Ames: Mutagens and Multivitamins

The Scientist Magazine® profile of Bruce Ames: Mutagens and Multivitamins | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Not one to shy away from controversy, Bruce Ames has pitted himself against industry groups, environmentalists, and his peers through his work identifying DNA mutagens. And he’s not done yet.
Mary Williams's insight:

This is a wonderful profile of an inspiring scientists. When I was an undergraduate at Berkeley, second year life science students were invited to a meeting in which members of each subdiscipline explained their field of study to us. Bruce Ames talked to us about Biochemistry and I signed up to be a Biochem major the next day.

You can see his infectious enthusiasm and humor in this article. 


"When I feel like exercise, I run my experiments, I skip my controls, and I jump to conclusions."

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California drought: America’s golden state runs dry - and its farmers are struggling to survive

California drought: America’s golden state runs dry - and its farmers are struggling to survive | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
At Harris Farms in California’s Central Valley, it is not difficult to discern the effects of the state’s continuing drought. Fields that in previous years would have been lined with tomatoes or broccoli now contain nothing but brown earth. Around two thirds of the farm’s 14,000 acres are fallow, and for the first year since it started to grow salad leaves more than three decades ago, the farm has planted not a single head of lettuce.
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Electric Defence (Plant) - YouTube

GLUTAMATE RECEPTOR-LIKE genes mediate leaf-to-leaf wound signalling Nature 500, 422--426 (22 August 2013) doi:10.1038/nature12478 http://www.nature.com/natur...
Mary Williams's insight:

Edward Farmer's lab has been studying the systemic signals that arise from insect herbivory, including electrical signals. See the link also to their paper showing the involvement of Glutamate Receptor Like Genes in transduction of thsi signal.

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Secrets of root development revealed

Secrets of root development revealed | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

One of the speakers at the SEB 2014 conference was mentioned by the BBC!

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Chronobiology: Past, Present & Future

Chronobiology: Past, Present & Future | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
25 Years of the Kay Laboratory (1989–2014) BY PRATEEK TRIPATHI ASPB Student Ambassador, University of Southern California “The greatest thing of the past
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Root contraction in Cycas and Zamia (Cycadales) determined by gelatinous fibers

ABSTRACT

• Premise of the study: Reaction wood (RW) in seed plants can induce late and usually secondary changes in organ orientation. Conifers produce compression wood (CW), generated by compression tracheids, which generate a push force. Angiosperms produce tension wood (TW), generated by tension wood fibers (TWF) often described as “gelatinous fibers,” which exert a pull force. Usually RW is produced eccentrically, but it can occur concentrically, as in aerial roots of Ficus. However, gymnosperms can produce gelatinous fibers (tension fibers, TF), as in cortical and secondary phloem tissues (Gnetum). TFs are therefore limited neither to wood, xylem, nor angiosperms. Here we demonstrate that TFs in secondary phloem are involved in contraction of roots of cycads and compare them with TFs of Ficus.

• Methods: We sectioned root material of cycads at various stages of seedling development using simple staining and histochemical procedures to follow the course of secondary phloem development. Aerial roots of Ficus were compared with the cycad root material.

• Key results: Tension fibers (gelatinous fibers) occur extensively and continuously in the secondary phloem in roots that undergo contraction. Older tissues, but notably the xylem, become distorted by contraction. TFs in cycads correspond in cell wall features to TFs that occur in Ficus, but do not occur in secondary xylem. The individual fibers visibly contract.

• Conclusions: Tissue contraction in Cycas and Zamia corresponds to that found in angiosperms and Gnetum and further broadens the scope of the activity of tension tissues. This finding possibly indicates that gelatinous fibers originated at a very early period of seed plant evolution.


Via Pierre-Marc Delaux
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What Are Little Boys and Girls Made of? The Origins of Sexual Dimorphism

What Are Little Boys and Girls Made of? The Origins of Sexual Dimorphism | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

This symposis is great - it and the paper it summarizes would be fun for your gentics course.

Geng S, DeHoff P, Umen, JG (2014) Evolution of Sexes from an Ancestral Mating-Type Specification Pathway. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001904


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» Rediscovering an “Extinct” Carrot | NYBG

» Rediscovering an “Extinct” Carrot | NYBG | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
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Wild Australia: can the world’s oldest plant be saved?

Wild Australia: can the world’s oldest plant be saved? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
BLINDFOLDED and disoriented, all sense of direction is lost as our helicopter corkscrews into the sky on the windswept extremity of Tasmania’s World Heritage-listed South West Wilderness area.
Mary Williams's insight:

Fascinating - 43,000 year old triploid angiosperms, Lomatia tasmanica. Scientists are trying to propagate it by tissue culture with limited success

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A review of the effects of soil organisms on plant hormone signalling pathways

A review of the effects of soil organisms on plant hormone signalling pathways | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Plants interact with a large number of soil organisms. For a long time, these interactions have been the research area of soil ecologists and trophic relationships and physico-chemical modifications of the soil matrix were generally proposed as mechanisms underlying plant-soil organism interactions. However, some specific symbioses and diseases have been well characterized at the molecular level by plant biologists and microbiologists. These interactions involve a physical contact between soil organism and plant. They are mediated through signal molecules that play upon the different plant hormonal signalling pathways, leading to modifications in plant development and defence. Nowadays, the role of signal molecules emerges as an important feature of interactions between plants and free-living soil organisms. In this review we discuss genetic and physiological evidences of hormone signalling involvement in plant response to physically associated but also free-living soil organisms, for very different taxa ranging from the micrometer to the centimetre scales. The same hormone signalling pathways seems to be activated by very different kinds of soil organisms such as bacteria, nematodes, collembola and even earthworms, with common consequences on plant growth, development and defence. Plant hormonal homeostasis appears to be the corner stone to understand and predict the issue of the multiple interactions that plants entertain with the community of soil organisms.


Via Jean-Michel Ané
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Editors advise “How to publish” at Plant Biology 2014

Editors advise “How to publish” at Plant Biology 2014 | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
During the recent Plant Biology conference, editors from the ASPB journals The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology shared insights and fielded questions about
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Washington Post: Scientists turn to public to help pay for research

Washington Post: Scientists turn to public to help pay for research | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
In over three decades of studying ferns, Duke University professor Kathleen Pryer has received her share of grant money. But for her newest project, she’s getting help from a retired nurse in Canada and a 17-year-old in Arkansas.
Mary Williams's insight:

Remember that Azolla genome crowd-funding idea we shared a while ago? It got funded! Read more here.

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Fujitsu Lettuce? In Japan, idled electronics factories find new life in farming

Fujitsu Lettuce? In Japan, idled electronics factories find new life in farming | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Struggling to compete with rivals in South Korea or China in businesses like televisions and smartphones, a range of Japanese electronics giants are converting idled factories to agriculture.
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Robert Hooke's Micrographia (audio-annotated flipbook)

Robert Hooke's Micrographia (audio-annotated flipbook) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Here's a nice way to display a 500 year old book!

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What Plants Talk About - Documentary - YouTube

When we think about plants, we don't often associate a term like "behavior" with them, but experimental plant ecologist JC Cahill wants to change that. The U...
Mary Williams's insight:

I think I've already posted this, but just heard a talk by Consuelo de Moraes who studied the interaction between parasitic dodder and its host http://www.sciencemag.org/content/313/5795/1964

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Simulated root section including all cell types using RootSlice - YouTube

 video created by Jouke Postma and Jie Wu property of Penn State
Mary Williams's insight:

Jonathan Lynch at Penn State's lab makes amazing videos (credit to Jouke Postma also on many of them). Check out more ontheir youtube page https://www.youtube.com/user/RootsLabPSU/videos

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Why we should trust scientists

Why we should trust scientists | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Many of the world's biggest problems require asking questions of scientists -- but why should we believe what they say? Historian of science Naomi Oreskes thinks deeply about our relationship to belief and draws out three problems with common attitudes toward scientific inquiry -- and gives her own reasoning for why we ought to trust science.
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Renato P. dos Santos's curator insight, June 30, 6:34 AM

Or has Science become a repressing ideology? (Feyerabend)