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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For undergraduate students: Biotechnology essay competition: Biotechnology and sustainable food practices

For undergraduate students: Biotechnology essay competition: Biotechnology and sustainable food practices | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Oh boy a writing competition! Enter by 1 Dec 2013. These sort of competitions work well as homework assignments that allow students to synthesize some of what they've learned.

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Science: Nonlegumes Respond to Rhizobial Nod Factors by Suppressing the Innate Immune Response

Science: Nonlegumes Respond to Rhizobial Nod Factors by Suppressing the Innate Immune Response | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Several nonleguminous plants, including Arabidopsis, tomato, and corn, were able to respond to the same Nod factors that initiate the microbial symbiosis in soybean.This figure shows that the addition of Nod Factor (NF) supresses the immune response triggered by the flg22 peptide. The authors also show that, "Plants defective in the LYK3 protein failed to suppress flg22-triggered ROS production upon Nod factor addition, whereas ectopic overexpression of LYK3 enhanced Nod factor–induced suppression of ROS production".

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From drawing of plants to plant systematics

From drawing of plants to plant systematics | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
We would like to present our experience, which may be interesting to teachers not only in secondary education, but also in primary schools.

Via Meristemi
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PLOS Genetics: An Atypical Kinase under Balancing Selection Confers Broad-Spectrum Disease Resistance in Arabidopsis

PLOS Genetics: An Atypical Kinase under Balancing Selection Confers Broad-Spectrum Disease Resistance in Arabidopsis | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Nice - from the author summary,

"By multiple approaches, we demonstrate that RKS1 is a quantitative resistance gene in Arabidopsis thaliana conferring broad-spectrum resistance to Xc and that this resistance mechanism in plants is associated with regulation of RKS1 expression. We also provide evidence that RKS1 allelic variation is a major component of quantitative resistance to Xc at the species level. Finally, the long-lived polymorphism associated with RKS1 suggests that evolutionary stable broad-spectrum resistance to Xc may be achieved in natural populations of A. thaliana."

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PLOS Genetics: The Arabidopsis IDD14, IDD15, and IDD16 Cooperatively Regulate Lateral Organ Morphogenesis and Gravitropism by Promoting Auxin Biosynthesis and Transport

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Plant Cell (review, $): Plant Callus, Mechanisms of Induction and Repression

Plant Cell (review, $): Plant Callus, Mechanisms of Induction and Repression | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Nice review about genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying callus formation.

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Nature: Plant breeding: Discovery in a dry spell

Nature: Plant breeding: Discovery in a dry spell | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Improved crops have helped farmers maintain yields in times of drought. But as climate change looms, will the gains keep coming?
Mary Williams's insight:

Nice summary of efforts to breed drought tolerant plants!

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María Serrano's curator insight, June 24, 2014 12:25 PM

Mejora del rendimiento de los cultivos en condiciones de estrés hídrico.

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Plant Cell: ETHYLENE-INSENSITIVE3 Accelerates Age-Dependent Leaf Senescence by Directly Repressing miR164 Transcription

Plant Cell: ETHYLENE-INSENSITIVE3 Accelerates Age-Dependent Leaf Senescence by Directly Repressing miR164 Transcription | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

This work demonstrates that EIN3 is a functional senescence-associated gene and defines a continuation of the signaling pathway involving EIN2-EIN3-miR164-NAC2 in regulating leaf senescence. The findings provide a mechanistic insight into how ethylene promotes the progression of leaf senescence in Arabidopsis.

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PNAS: Electron transfer precedes ATP hydrolysis during nitrogenase catalysis

PNAS: Electron transfer precedes ATP hydrolysis during nitrogenase catalysis | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Chemistry's so useful for understanding biology...

Two PNAS papers dissecting the chemistry of this exciting enzyme, here; http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/09/18/1311218110.abstract

and here: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/09/20/1315852110.abstract

and a press release here: http://www.usu.edu/ust/index.cfm?article=52663

 

 

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Science editorial: Standing Up for GMOs

Science editorial: Standing Up for GMOs | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

11 science heavyweights speak out against the destruction of Golden Rice field studies....

"But the anti-GMO fever still burns brightly, fanned by electronic gossip and well-organized fear-mongering that profits some individuals and organizations. We, and the thousands of other scientists who have signed the statement of protest, stand together in staunch opposition to the violent destruction of required tests on valuable advances such as Golden Rice that have the potential to save millions of impoverished fellow humans from needless suffering and death."

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BBSRC - "How I discovered ash dieback (and what we’re doing about it)" - BBSRC

BBSRC - "How I discovered ash dieback (and what we’re doing about it)" - BBSRC | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
It was one of those bad things just waiting to happen. When the tree killer ash dieback disease was first found in the UK in February 2012 it became a major concern to anyone who recalled the devastation wrought by Dutch elm disease in Britain.
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PLOS ONE: Major Transcriptome Reprogramming Underlies Floral Mimicry Induced by the Rust Fungus Puccinia monoica in Boechera stricta (2013)

PLOS ONE: Major Transcriptome Reprogramming Underlies Floral Mimicry Induced by the Rust Fungus Puccinia monoica in Boechera stricta (2013) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Puccinia monoica is a spectacular plant parasitic rust fungus that triggers the formation of flower-like structures (pseudoflowers) in its Brassicaceae host plant Boechera stricta. Pseudoflowers mimic in shape, color, nectar and scent co-occurring and unrelated flowers such as buttercups. They act to attract insects thereby aiding spore dispersal and sexual reproduction of the rust fungus. Although much ecological research has been performed on P.monoica-induced pseudoflowers, this system has yet to be investigated at the molecular or genomic level. To date, the molecular alterations underlying the development of pseudoflowers and the genes involved have not been described. To address this, we performed gene expression profiling to reveal 256 plant biological processes that are significantly altered in pseudoflowers. Among these biological processes, plant genes involved in cell fate specification, regulation of transcription, reproduction, floral organ development, anthocyanin (major floral pigments) and terpenoid biosynthesis (major floral volatile compounds) were down-regulated in pseudoflowers. In contrast, plant genes involved in shoot, cotyledon and leaf development, carbohydrate transport, wax biosynthesis, cutin transport and L-phenylalanine metabolism (pathway that results in phenylethanol and phenylacetaldehyde volatile production) were up-regulated. These findings point to an extensive reprogramming of host genes by the rust pathogen to induce floral mimicry. We also highlight 31 differentially regulated plant genes that are enriched in the biological processes mentioned above, and are potentially involved in the formation of pseudoflowers. This work illustrates the complex perturbations induced by rust pathogens in their host plants, and provides a starting point for understanding the molecular mechanisms of pathogen-induced floral mimicry.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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Nanci J. 's curator insight, September 18, 2013 1:30 PM

ok, this is just so cool (even if it is a fungus!)

Steve Marek's curator insight, September 18, 2013 2:57 PM

So very cool...So what's wrong with insects attracted to purple flowers?

As a rust, why not just put your spores in the anthers like Microbotryum?

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PNAS: DNA cloning: A personal view after 40 years by Stanley Cohen

PNAS: DNA cloning: A personal view after 40 years by Stanley Cohen | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Interesting historical perspective of a truly "transformational" breakthrough - nice for students!

 

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UK Fungus Day: When Fungi Attack Trees

In this video Bristol woodsman Steve England explains the different ways fungi can digest wood. The first UK Fungus Day is taking place on 12th -- 13th Octob...
Mary Williams's insight:

Fascinating!  The only part I didn't like is the set of related videos about toenail fungus that youtube is pushing to accompany this - yuck! I think I prefer to learn about plant fungi....

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Jennifer Mach's comment, October 1, 2013 11:45 AM
That orange tree fungus looks like a Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus). Yummy!
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PLOS Genetics: A Pre-mRNA-Splicing Factor Is Required for RNA-Directed DNA Methylation in Arabidopsis

PLOS Genetics: A Pre-mRNA-Splicing Factor Is Required for RNA-Directed DNA Methylation in Arabidopsis | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"Small RNA expression analysis on loci showing RDM16-dependent DNA methylation suggested that unlike the previously reported putative splicing factor mutants, rdm16 did not affect small RNA levels; instead, the rdm16 mutation caused a decrease in the levels of Pol V transcripts. ChIP assays revealed that RDM16 was enriched at some Pol V target loci. Our results suggest that RDM16 regulates DNA methylation through influencing Pol V transcript levels."

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PLOS Genetics: Genomic Identification of Founding Haplotypes Reveals the History of the Selfing Species Capsella rubella

PLOS Genetics: Genomic Identification of Founding Haplotypes Reveals the History of the Selfing Species Capsella rubella | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Interesting evolutionary genomics (evo-geno?) study, investigating "a novel population genomic analysis detailing the origin of the selfing species, Capsella rubella" and comparisons to its outcrossing sister species C. grandiflora.

 

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PLOS Genetics: Evidence Is Evidence: An Interview with Mary-Claire King

PLOS Genetics: Evidence Is Evidence: An Interview with Mary-Claire King | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Fascinating long interview with super scientist Mary-Claire King about her career, her science, and the principles that have guided her.

 

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PlantPhys: The importance of size and disorder in the cryoprotective effects of dehydrins

PlantPhys: The importance of size and disorder in the cryoprotective effects of dehydrins | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Interesting structure / function study of a plant dehydrin.The K peptide (illustrated) is flexible and important for dehydrin cryoprotective function.

The authors conclude, "Our results suggest that with respect to enzyme protection, dehydrins function primarily as molecular shields, and that their intrinsic disorder is required for them to be an effective cryoprotectant."

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Your input requested for Top 10 oomycete pathogens in molecular plant pathology

Your input requested for Top 10 oomycete pathogens in molecular plant pathology | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

We are writing to seek your input to generate a list of the Top 10 oomycete pathogens in molecular plant pathology to use as the basis for an article in the Top 10 reviews series to be published in Molecular Plant Pathology.

 

Several of you must be familiar with the Top 10 reviews, which have covered so far fungi, viruses, bacteria and nematodes. These articles are available free to download from the journal website.

 

Yes, it is about time to cover our cherished oomycetes so please do vote and indicate your favourite by emailing the ballot to diane.hird@bristol.ac.uk. Each of you can vote for up to 5 species. The criteria we would like to cover are both the scientific and economic importance of the taxa. Feel free to draft a brief justification.

 

Please send your responses before October 20, 2013. The voting ballot is available at http://kamounlab.dreamhosters.com/Top10oomycetes_Ballot.docx

 

Also, feel free to forward this message to relevant colleagues.

 

Many thanks,

 

Sophien Kamoun and Diane Hird

 


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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Steve Marek's curator insight, September 25, 2013 11:46 AM

Your opinion needed!

dromius's comment, September 30, 2013 4:21 AM
Phytophthora palmivora is the best ;)
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Plant Cell: An Arabidopsis Soil-Salinity–Tolerance Mutation Confers Ethylene-Mediated Enhancement of Sodium/Potassium Homeostasis

Plant Cell: An Arabidopsis Soil-Salinity–Tolerance Mutation Confers Ethylene-Mediated Enhancement of Sodium/Potassium Homeostasis | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

The soil salinity tolerance of an Arabidopsis mutant is shown to be caused by a mutation in the ETO1 gene that results in ethylene overproduction. Increased ethylene causes root stele reactive oxygen species (ROS)–dependent reductions in root Na influx and xylem loading and stelar ROS-independent enhancement of root K status, thus improving plant Na/K homeostasis and salinity tolerance.


See also the In Brief about this article: www.plantcell.org/content/early/2013/09/22/tpc.113.250911.full.pdf

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Nature: Microbiome: Soil science comes to life (2013)

Nature: Microbiome: Soil science comes to life (2013) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Farmers have long tried to improve the chemical and physical condition of their soils, seeking to make more nutrients available to their plants, to retain more moisture in the soil, and to ease the growth of plant roots. But they have typically ignored the role of the teeming diversity of fungi and bacteria in the soil.

 

Now, however, soil biologists are beginning to understand the significance of the interactions at work in the microbiome surrounding plants' root systems. Recent research has shown, for example, that major food crops can be made dramatically more stress tolerant by transplanting into them various microbiota, such as fungi or bacteria, that colonize other species. There is a clear parallel with medical science, where the myriad microorganisms on our skin and in our gut are now recognized as crucial mediators of a whole range of bodily responses — an understanding that has profoundly changed the way we think about human health.

 

In agriculture, the drive to eliminate pathogens has encouraged a bazooka approach to the soil microbiome with the widespread use of biocides and fungicides. But the role of the microbiome is too varied and complex for this to be sustainable. “We are standing on a treasure of beneficial microbes, each of them contributing a little bit to plant yield,” says Alexandre Jousset, a microbiologist at the University of Göttingen, Germany. “Understanding how these diverse communities help plants to resist adverse situations will open new doors to developing sustainable practices, calling up microbial services that are sleeping in virtually any soil.”


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Geoponics Corp's curator insight, September 25, 2013 9:48 PM

Yes-- diversity in the soil is key! 

Tania Gammage's curator insight, September 26, 2013 9:08 PM

excellent article for science curriculum plants/ecological systems...love the use of "bazooka approach"

Peter Buckland's curator insight, September 27, 2013 9:02 AM

Excellent article on the importance of bacteria and fungi to a 'healthy' soil.

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Plant biology jobs in San Francisco / Berkeley? Yes!

Plant biology jobs in San Francisco / Berkeley? Yes! | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

I just saw two neat jobs in the San Francisco Bay area (aka heaven). Here they are:

Assistant Curator, Botany, California Academy of Sciences

http://calacademy.snaphire.com/jobdetails?ajid=bWSa8

 

Plant Evolutionary Biology Faculty Curator, Berkeley (tenure track)

http://jobs.botany.org/index.php?module=clip&type=user&func=display&tid=3&pid=3403&title=Plant+Evolutionary+Biology+Faculty+Curator

 

 

 

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National Academies Press free ebooks: Child Food Insecurity, & Massive Data Analysis

National Academies Press free ebooks: Child Food Insecurity, & Massive Data Analysis | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Two free ebooks from National Academies Press:

Frontiers in Massive Data Analysis: www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=18374

and

Causes and Consequences of Child Food Insecurity and Hunger:

http://nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=18504

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Backyard Mystery Afterschool Curriculum

Backyard Mystery Afterschool Curriculum | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

The super team of Barbara Alonso and Peggy Lemaux have developed another set of materials for engaging children with science. This one is about diseases and pathogens of plants and animals. By contacting the authors you can download a link to a complete set of materials for teachers and children. It's designed for afterschool groups, but you could bring the materials into any classroom, or maybe even use as a birthday party activity for future scientists!

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Mary Williams's comment, September 17, 2013 12:23 PM
Peggy and Barbara have developed other resources including "Dirt to Dinner", "DNA for Dinner" etc - find them here http://ucbiotech.org/resources/teaching_aids/index.html
Audrey's curator insight, September 18, 2013 5:45 AM

Thank you for these materials as they can be used for homeschool learning.  www.homeschoolsource.co.uk also has educational resources such as these which are fantastic for assisting learning without stress.

Audrey's comment, September 26, 2013 5:21 AM
Thank you I am looking at them.