Previously we shared a list of videos spanning the plant biology part of an introductory biology course at the University of California at Berkeley. A reader shared a link to another plant biology course taught at Berkeley, the Plant Molecular Genetics (PMB160) course, taught in 2012 by Jenn Fletcher and Bob Fischer. Here is an annotated list of all 37 videos recorded from that course.
"Seagrasses colonized the sea on at least three independent occasions to form the basis of one of the most productive and widespread coastal ecosystems on the planet. Here we report the genome of Zostera marina (L.), the first, to our knowledge, marine angiosperm to be fully sequenced. This reveals unique insights into the genomic losses and gains involved in achieving the structural and physiological adaptations required for its marine lifestyle, arguably the most severe habitat shift ever accomplished by flowering plants. Key angiosperm innovations that were lost include the entire repertoire of stomatal genes, genes involved in the synthesis of terpenoids and ethylene signalling, and genes for ultraviolet protection and phytochromes for far-red sensing."
Mary Williams's insight:
This is a really interesting paper! Seagrass - the dolphins of the plant kingdom (from sea to land and back to sea).
Explore the New York Public Libraries Digital Collections! Whether you teach, lecture, write or just like to share, it's always great to find a collection of public domain images. This newly- released set of hundreds of thousands of items from the New York Public Libraries' digital collection is full of photos and drawings that are relevant to plants, plant science and agriculture. Useful!
The unexpected turns experienced during this Veggie run have actually offered bountiful opportunities for new learning and better understanding of one of the critical components to future journeys to Mars.
“This work represents an elegant advance in programmable materials assembly, made possible by a multidisciplinary approach,” said Jennifer Lewis, Sc.D., senior author of a new study reported on January 25 in a new in Nature Materials. “We have now gone beyond integrating form and function to create transformable architectures.”
In nature, flowers and plants have tissue compositions and microstructures that result in dynamic morphologies (forms) that change according to their environments. Mimicking the variety of shape changes undergone by plant organs such as tendrils, leaves, and flowers in response to environmental stimuli like humidity and/or temperature, the 4D-printed hydrogel composites developed by Lewis and her team are programmed to contain precise, localized swelling behaviors.
The trick: the hydrogel composites contain cellulose fibrils that are derived from wood and are similar to the microstructures that enable shape changes in plants. By aligning cellulose fibrils during printing, the hydrogel composite ink is encoded with anisotropic swelling and stiffness, which can be patterned to produce intricate shape changes. The anisotropic (irregular) nature of the cellulose fibrils gives rise to varied directional properties that can be predicted and controlled. That’s why wood can be split easier along the grain rather than across it.
Likewise, when immersed in water, the hydrogel-cellulose fibril ink undergoes differential swelling behavior along and orthogonal to the printing path. Combined with a proprietary mathematical model developed by the team that predicts how a 4D object must be printed to achieve prescribed transformable shapes, the new method opens up many new and exciting potential applications for 4D printing technology including smart textiles, soft electronics, biomedical devices, and tissue engineering.
The composite ink that the team uses flows like liquid through the printhead, yet rapidly solidifies once printed. A variety of hydrogel materials can be used interchangeably resulting in different stimuli-responsive behaviors, while the cellulose fibrils can be replaced with other anisotropic fillers of choice, including conductive fillers. The mathematical model prescribes the printing pathways required to achieve the desired shape-transforming response. Specifically, it solves the “inverse problem” — the challenge of being able to predict what the printing toolpath must be to encode swelling behaviors toward achieving a specific desired target shape.
“It is wonderful to be able to design and realize, in an engineered structure, some of nature’s solutions,” said L. Mahadevan, Ph.D., a Wyss Core Faculty member as well as the Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and Professor of Physics at Harvard University and Harvard SEAS, is a co-author on the study. “By solving the inverse problem, we are now able to reverse-engineer the problem and determine how to vary local inhomogeneity, i.e. the spacing between the printed ink filaments, and the anisotropy, i.e. the direction of these filaments, to control the spatiotemporal response of these shapeshifting sheets.”
Sometimes it seems like we're teaching our students a bunch of facts and equations for no reason, so it's nice to come upon a paper that applies all those concepts. If your plant physiology students are learning about photosynthesis, here's an article that shows them why that's useful.
Good paper for students - http://www.sciencemag.org/content/351/6269/aad2622 A team of scientists assembled data from diverse sources to make the claim that it is time to formally (i.e. by the International Commission on Stratigraphy) declare ourselves in a new epoch, the Anthropocene. Epoch's typically last millions of years and are only ended by extreme events; in this case the overwhelming changes in the Earth brought about by human activities.
Trainers of dogs, horses, and other animal performers take note: a bacterium named Moorella thermoacetica has been induced to perform only a single trick, but it's a doozy. Berkeley Lab researchers are using M. thermoacetica ...
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