Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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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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Remote sensing of soil moisture and plant growth - then and now (fascinating!)

Remote sensing of soil moisture and plant growth - then and now (fascinating!) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
A new satellite will help probe the unknowns about what global warming will do to the planet's fertility
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Best of Plants 2014: A few research highlights, summaries and educational resources, and some fun

Best of Plants 2014: A few research highlights, summaries and educational resources, and some fun | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

A very few research highlights

Biosensors: Plant biologists FRET over stress. Two independent research labs have developed fluorescent biosensors to report the levels of the stress hormone, abscisic acid, within cells in living plants in real-time. http://elifesciences.org/content/3/e02763

PLETHORA gradient formation mechanism separates auxin responses. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v515/n7525/full/nature13663.html

Multiscale digital Arabidopsis predicts individual organ and whole-organism growth. http://www.pnas.org/content/111/39/E4127.abstract

The Structure of the Catalytic Domain of a

Plant cellulose synthase and its assembly into dimers. http://www.plantcell.org/content/26/7/2996.abstract

Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v510/n7503/full/nature13179.html

A reference genome for common bean and genome-wide analysis of dual domestications. http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v46/n7/full/ng.3008.html


Research syntheses and other educational resources

The Art of Being Flexible: How to Escape from Shade, Salt, and Drought http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/166/1/5

Epigenetic Memory for Stress Response and Adaptation in Plants http://pcp.oxfordjournals.org/content/55/11/1859.abstract

Traversing organizational scales in plant salt-stress responses http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369526614001435

Rice special issue in Nature http://www.nature.com/nature/outlook/rice/

Plant Physiology published Focus Issues on

Water (http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/164/4.toc),  

Roots (http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/166/2.toc),

Weed Control (http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/166/3.toc),  and

The Plant Cell started the year with an excellent set of review articles on Photobiology (http://www.plantcell.org/content/26/1.toc).

CourseSource. CourseSource is an open-access journal of peer-reviewed teaching resources for undergraduate biological sciences; the development of these resources, including plant-based resources, was supported by ASPB and BSA. http://www.coursesource.org/

The Plant Detectives Manual. A research-led approach for teaching plant science, by Gonzalo M. Estavillo, Ulrike Mathesius, Michael Djordjevic and Adrienne B. Nicotra. http://press.anu.edu.au/titles/anu-etext/the-plant-detectives-manual/

Campus Flora Oz App. Explore campus flora on your phone! https://campusflora.wordpress.com/

Countdown to 400: Oxford Herbarium’s ongoing weekly series of plants, counting downt to its 400th anniversary!  http://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/plants400

In 2014, Teaching Tools in Plant Biology started a series of topics on plant physiology, including water relations and plant nutrition! http://www.plantcell.org/site/teachingtools/teaching.xhtml


Finally, some end of year fun

Fifi the Oomycete, a holiday song, by Kamoun Lab. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9ikfDWZaT8&feature=youtu.be

#AdventBotany. By Alastair Culham and Dr. M. (AKA Jonathan Mitchley) (@BotanyRNG and @drmgoeswild) http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/crg/2014/12/page/4/ & http://drmgoeswild.com/advent-botany/

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Carla Pinheiro's curator insight, December 31, 2014 5:23 AM

A great tool to explore subcellular compartmentalization

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Best of Plants 2014: Plant-based antibodies used to treat Ebola Virus Disease

Best of Plants 2014: Plant-based antibodies used to treat Ebola Virus Disease | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it


One of the biggest stories of 2014 was the spread of Ebola Virus Disease, and antibodies produced in plants are one of the few therapies shown to be effective. Plant-derived antibodies produced by MAPP pharmaceuticals in tobacco had previously been tested successfully on monkeys (http://www.pnas.org/content/109/44/18030), but this summer were used to save the lives of two American missionaries (http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/03/health/ebola-tobacco-plant/). Plant-production of phamaceuticals (aka molecular pharming) can be cheaper than production in animals or cell lines, and this year has demonstrated this technology to be fast, versatile and effective.

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Solving Biology's Mysteries with Plants (Science Out Loud S2 Ep2) - YouTube

Some of the most powerful and useful things in our world come from plants. Who knew they could help us unlock some of the biology's mysteries - all using an ...
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The internal plumbing of algal chloroplasts

The internal plumbing of algal chloroplasts | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

High-resolution images of chloroplast structure in the alga Chlamydomonas offer new insights into photosynthesis

h-resolution images of chloroplast structure in the alga Chlamydomonas offer new insights into photosynthesis. - See more at: http://elifesciences.org/content/4/e05983#.dpuf
h-resolution images of chloroplast structure in the alga Chlamydomonas offer new insights into photosynthesis. - See more at: http://elifesciences.org/content/4/e05983#.dpuf
Mary Williams's insight:

If you think this image is nice, check out the rest http://elifesciences.org/content/4/e04889

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Plant biologist Caroline Dean receives the 2015 FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award

Plant biologist Caroline Dean receives the 2015 FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"Professor Dean receives the award for her outstanding contributions to plant biology, in particular for her work to understand how changes in temperature affect the molecular events that control the timing and duration of flowering in higher plants."

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Teaching for the future (by examining the past)

Teaching for the future (by examining the past) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
eLife - Open access to the most promising advances in science
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A new article in eLIFE, "Teaching for the future" (http://elifesciences.org/content/4/e05846) discusses the educational value of reading classic scientific papers. Yes, it's true - many of the older papers are fascinating, show extraordinary insights, and reveal the development of our understanding of life processes.
Here's a classic of plant science:
Arnon et al, (1961). "Photosynthetic phosphorylation and molecular oxygen" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC223142/

Or for an even older text, Ingenhousz, Jan (1796). "Essay on the food of plants and the renovation of soils"
http://hdl.handle.net/2027/coo.31924001696362


Do you have a favorite classic plant science paper you like to read with your students?

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Strategies for transferring resistance into wheat: from wide crosses to GM cassettes

Strategies for transferring resistance into wheat: from wide crosses to GM cassettes | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Very interesting review of classical and contemporary approaches to breeding resistance in wheat.

I particularly enjoyed this quote, originally from a 1945 article about wheat breeder Edgar S. McFadden, "McFadden’s Hope: Fighting Plant Breeders Win Battle for Bread."

You can read more about McFadden here:

http://www.sdstate.edu/mcfadden/upload/McFaddenArticle-CapJournal.pdf


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Lake District phytophthora ramorum tree felling gets underway

Lake District phytophthora ramorum tree felling gets underway | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Lake District phytophthora ramorum tree felling gets underway - from Horticulture Week

Via Niklaus Grunwald
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Genome Editing with CRISPR-Cas9 - YouTube

This animation depicts the CRISPR-Cas9 method for genome editing – a powerful new technology with many applications in biomedical research, including the pot...
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Identification of the transporter responsible for sucrose accumulation in sugar beet taproots

Identification of the transporter responsible for sucrose accumulation in sugar beet taproots | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Nature Plants, Published online: 8 January 2015; | doi:10.1038/nplants.2014.1

Via Andres Zurita
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Andres Zurita's curator insight, January 8, 2015 7:36 AM

Sugar beet provides around one third of the sugar consumed worldwide and serves as a significant source of bioenergy in the form of ethanol. Sucrose accounts for up to 18% of plant fresh weight in sugar beet. Most of the sucrose is concentrated in the taproot, where it accumulates in the vacuoles. Despite 30 years of intensive research, the transporter that facilitates taproot sucrose accumulation has escaped identification. Here, we combine proteomic analyses of the taproot vacuolar membrane, the tonoplast, with electrophysiological analyses to show that the transporter BvTST2.1 is responsible for vacuolar sucrose uptake in sugar beet taproots. We show that BvTST2.1 is a sucrose-specific transporter, and present evidence to suggest that it operates as a proton antiporter, coupling the import of sucrose into the vacuole to the export of protons. BvTST2.1 exhibits a high amino acid sequence similarity to members of the tonoplast monosaccharide transporter family in Arabidopsis, prompting us to rename this group of proteins ‘tonoplast sugar transporters’. The identification of BvTST2.1 could help to increase sugar yields from sugar beet and other sugar-storing plants in future breeding programs.

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Insights into the origin and evolution of plant hormone signaling machinery

Insights into the origin and evolution of plant hormone signaling machinery | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"Our multi-species genome-wide analysis reveals: i) AUX, CK and SL signaling pathways originated in charophyte lineages; ii) ABA, JA, and SA signaling pathways arose in the last common ancestor of land plants; iii) the GA signaling evolved after the divergence of bryophytes from land plants; iv) the canonical BR signaling originated before the emergence of angiosperms but likely after the split of gymnosperms and angiosperms; v) the origin of the canonical ETH signaling pathway postdates shortly the emergence of angiosperms. Our findings might have important implications in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the emergence of land plants"

Mary Williams's insight:

This is a pretty fabulous paper - I'm sure it'll find many uses, not the least being the one-page figure that summarizes all of the hormone signaling pathways. The figure shown here examines the presence or absence of signaling gene homologs in green algal species.

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Science Graphic of the Week: Scientists Discover the First Protein That Can Edit Other Proteins | WIRED

Science Graphic of the Week: Scientists Discover the First Protein That Can Edit Other Proteins | WIRED | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
A new graphic shows how that DNA isn't the only thing in charge of handing out code for proteins.
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Super schedule of speakers, PlantBiology2015 (26-30 July 2015)

Super schedule of speakers, PlantBiology2015 (26-30 July 2015) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

See the full schedule here - minisymposium speakers TBA

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Manipulation and Misconduct in the Handling of Image Data (2013 editorial)

Manipulation and Misconduct in the Handling of Image Data (2013 editorial) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

New week, new year. What better time to have a lab / course / departmental conversation about what is and isn't permitted in data handling? This 2013 editorial by Mike Blatt and Cathie Martin is a good place to start, and includes some additional useful references.

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J. Chem. Edu.- Simple, Small-Scale Lego Colorimeter with a Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Used as Detector

J. Chem. Edu.- Simple, Small-Scale Lego Colorimeter with a Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Used as Detector | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

I like the idea of this - have students make their own LED & Lego-based colorimeter, & then explore the world! The article says that an LED can emit current proportional to the light that hits it, and recommends using a red LED as sensor and yellow, green or orange LEDs as emitters.

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Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet

Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet
Mary Williams's insight:

Important paper updating the areas of concern for keeping the planet in the "safe operating zone" - note the danger coming from the P and N biogeochemical flows, which are entirely a consequence of the use of agricultural fertilizers.

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Standing on the Shoulders of Giantesses

Standing on the Shoulders of Giantesses | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

From the blog of the Biochemical Society:

"We in the biochemistry community are truly standing on the shoulders of giantesses.

In recognition of this fact, the Biochemical Society commissioned a research project into the lives and work of prominent female biochemists from 1945-1975 as part of our recent Women in Biochemistry year.

Today, we release the result of this project: Women in Biochemistry: 1945 –1975 – a collection of interviews and profiles that paints an insightful picture of the day-to-day happenings, motivations, hurdles and successes of women working in molecular biology at the time".

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Arbuscular mycorrhizal dialogues: do you speak ‘plantish’ or ‘fungish’?

Arbuscular mycorrhizal dialogues: do you speak ‘plantish’ or ‘fungish’? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Plants rely on their associated microbiota for crucial physiological activities; realization of this interaction drives research to understand inter-domain communication. This opinion article focuses on the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis, which involves the Glomeromycota, fungi that can form a symbiosis with most plants. Here we propose the hypothesis that the molecules involved in inter-kingdom symbiotic signaling, such as strigolactones, cutin monomers, and chitin-related molecules, also have key roles in development, originally unrelated to symbiosis. Thus, the symbiotic role of these molecules relies on the co-evolved capacity of the AM partners to perceive and interpret them as symbiotic signals.

Via Francis Martin
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Best of Plants 2014: Communications beyond our boundaries (to the public and non-plant scientists)

Best of Plants 2014: Communications beyond our boundaries (to the public and non-plant scientists) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Plant scientist are uinified in our need to communicate what we do and why to the broader community, and we applaud all of the positive “press” plants have received this year.

Here are a few efforts (articles, podcasts, video series and even hashtags) that spread beyond our disciplinary boundaries:


Professor Kathy Willis presented a 30-part series, “Plants, From Roots to Riches” on BBC Radio 4, available to download as podcast (and with video clips too) http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b048s3my


National Geographic ran a series on food called “Feeding 9 billion” including “A Five Step Plan to Feed the Word” by Jonathan Foley http://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/feeding-9-billion/


Making Hunger Yield, by C. Robertson McClung (Science) http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6185/699.summary


Opinion: The Planet Needs More Plant Scientists by Alan Jones (The Scientist). http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/41133/title/Opinion--The-Planet-Needs-More-Plant-Scientists/


Research Funders and the Public Must Wake up to Looming Food Shortages, Agriculture Experts Say, by Kathleen O’Neil (AAAS News) http://www.aaas.org/news/research-funders-and-public-must-wake-looming-food-shortages-agriculture-experts-say


The world’s most interesting vegetable, by Bill Gates (Gates Blog) http://www.gatesnotes.com/Development/The-Worlds-Most-Interesting-Vegetable


I am a botanist (and No, I don’t grow marijuana), by Chris Martine (Huffington Post) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-chris-martine/i-am-a-botanist-no-i-dont-grow-marijuana_b_5673557.html and the Plants are Cool, Too! (video series) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2b5k1ur--g


Why  Study Plants, an overview of plant science goals, was published in 14 languages http://www.plantcell.org/site/teachingtools/TTPB1.xhtml


Grist journalist Nathanael Johnson (@SavorTooth) continues to write good, evidence-based articles on all aspects of food. His even-handed approach was recognized with the ASPB Leadership in Science Public Service Award (http://my.aspb.org/?page=AF_Awards#leadership).


Two plant-based hashtags were popular this year on social media:

#iamabotanist (https://twitter.com/hashtag/iamabotanist) and

#whyplants (https://twitter.com/hashtag/whyplants)

 

 Popular Infographics featuring plants

What is the world’s biggest cash crop?

Which crops are most planted, most fecund (yield / km2), most popular (ton harvested) and produce the most revenue?

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/whats-the-worlds-biggest-cash-crops/

Climate change and farming: what you need to know about the IPCC report

http://ccafs.cgiar.org/blog/climate-change-and-farming-what-you-need-know-about-ipcc-report#.VJ5pef8DA

How your food would look if not genetically modified over millennia?

http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/06/19/how-your-food-would-look-if-not-genetically-modified-over-millennia/


What else would like to add to this list?

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Christophe Jacquet's comment, December 30, 2014 12:40 PM
Thanks for all these references, I'm sure my students will love many of them!
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BMC Biology | Article collections | Beyond Mendel: modeling in biology

BMC Biology | Article collections | Beyond Mendel: modeling in biology | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

I just found this - useful collection of article about modeling in biology. The 2010 article by Lander, "The edges of understanding" would be a good way to start a discussion about the hows and whys of biologica modeling with your students.

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BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE2 Interacts with ABSCISIC ACID INSENSITIVE5 to Mediate the Antagonism of Brassinosteroids to Abscisic Acid during Seed Germination in Arabidopsis

BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE2 Interacts with ABSCISIC ACID INSENSITIVE5 to Mediate the Antagonism of Brassinosteroids to Abscisic Acid during Seed Germination in Arabidopsis | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Seed germination and postgerminative growth are regulated by a delicate hormonal balance. Abscisic acid (ABA) represses Arabidopsis thaliana seed germination and postgerminative growth, while brassinosteroids (BRs) antagonize ABA-mediated inhibition and promote these processes. However, the molecular mechanism underlying BR-repressed ABA signaling remains largely unknown. Here, we show that the Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3-like kinase BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE2 (BIN2), a critical repressor of BR signaling, positively regulates ABA responses during seed germination and postgerminative growth. Mechanistic investigation revealed that BIN2 physically interacts with ABSCISIC ACID INSENSITIVE5 (ABI5), a bZIP transcription factor. Further genetic analysis demonstrated that the ABA-hypersensitive phenotype of BIN2-overexpressing plants requires ABI5. BIN2 was found to phosphorylate and stabilize ABI5 in the presence of ABA, while application of epibrassinolide (the active form of BRs) inhibited the regulation of ABI5 by BIN2. Consistently, the ABA-induced accumulation of ABI5 was affected in BIN2-related mutants. Moreover, mutations of the BIN2 phosphorylation sites on ABI5 made the mutant protein respond to ABA improperly. Additionally, the expression of several ABI5 regulons was positively modulated by BIN2. These results provide evidence that BIN2 phosphorylates and stabilizes ABI5 to mediate ABA response during seed germination, while BRs repress the BIN2-ABI5 cascade to antagonize ABA-mediated inhibition.

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A Lego animation of the Hounsfield Facility at the University of Nottingham - YouTube

This stop frame animation uses a lego model to show the workings of the new Hounsfield Facility at the Sutton Bonnington campus of the University of Nottingh...
Mary Williams's insight:

Plant phenotyping facilities are cool too!

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Transposable Elements Contribute to Activation of Maize Genes in Response to Abiotic Stress

Transposable Elements Contribute to Activation of Maize Genes in Response to Abiotic Stress | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"Our analysis suggests that a small number of maize transposable element families may contribute to the response of nearby genes to abiotic stress by providing stress-responsive enhancer-like functions. The specific insertions of transposable elements are" often polymorphic within a species. Our data demonstrate that allelic variation for insertions of the transposable elements associated with stress-responsive expression can contribute to variation in the regulation of nearby genes. Thus novel insertions of transposable elements provide a potential mechanism for genes to acquire cis-regulatory influences that could contribute to heritable variation for stress response."

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An Arabidopsis gene regulatory network for secondary cell wall synthesis : Nature

An Arabidopsis gene regulatory network for secondary cell wall synthesis : Nature | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
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