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The beet R locus encodes a new cytochrome P450 required for red betalain production

The beet R locus encodes a new cytochrome P450 required for red betalain production | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

Anthocyanins are red and violet pigments that color flowers, fruits and epidermal tissues in virtually all flowering plants. A single order, Caryophyllales, contains families in which an unrelated family of pigments, the betalains, color tissues normally pigmented by anthocyanins1. Here we show thatCYP76AD1 encoding a novel cytochrome P450 is required to produce the red betacyanin pigments in beets. Gene silencing of CYP76AD1 results in loss of red pigment and production of only yellow betaxanthin pigment. Yellow betalain mutants are complemented by transgenic expression ofCYP76AD1, and an insertion in CYP76AD1 maps to the R locus2, 3 that is responsible for yellow versus red pigmentation. Finally, expression of CYP76AD1 in yeast verifies its position in the betalain biosynthetic pathway. Thus, this cytochrome P450 performs the biosynthetic step that provides the cyclo-DOPA moiety of all red betacyanins. This discovery will contribute to our ability to engineer this simple, nutritionally valuable pathway4 into heterologous species

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Plant material features responsible for bamboo's excellent mechanical performance: a comparison of tensile properties of bamboo and spruce at the tissue, fibre and cell wall levels

Plant material features responsible for bamboo's excellent mechanical performance: a comparison of tensile properties of bamboo and spruce at the tissue, fibre and cell wall levels | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

The superior tensile properties of bamboo fibres and fibre bundles are mainly a result of amplified cell wall formation, leading to a densely packed tissue, rather than being based on specific cell wall properties. The material optimization towards extremely compact fibres with a multi-lamellar cell wall in bamboo might be a result of a plant growth strategy that compensates for the lack of secondary thickening growth at the tissue level, which is not only favourable for the biomechanics of the plant but is also increasingly utilized in terms of engineering products made from bamboo culms.

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Functional–structural plant models: a growing paradigm for plant studies

Functional–structural plant models: a growing paradigm for plant studies | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

A number of research groups in various areas of plant biology as well as computer science and applied mathematics have addressed modelling the spatiotemporal dynamics of growth and development of plants. This has resulted in development of functional–structural plant models (FSPMs). In FSPMs, the plant structure is always explicitly represented in terms of a network of elementary units. In this respect, FSPMs are different from more abstract models in which a simplified representation of the plant structure is frequently used (e.g. spatial density of leaves, total biomass, etc.). This key feature makes it possible to build modular models and creates avenues for efficient exchange of model components and experimental data. They are being used to deal with the complex 3-D structure of plants and to simulate growth and development occurring at spatial scales from cells to forest areas, and temporal scales from seconds to decades and many plant generations. The plant types studied also cover a broad spectrum, from algae to trees. This special issue of Annals of Botany features selected papers on FSPM topics such as models of morphological development, models of physical and biological processes, integrated models predicting dynamics of plants and plant communities, modelling platforms, methods for acquiring the 3-D structures of plants using automated measurements, and practical applications for agronomic purposes.

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The Art of Being Flexible: How to Escape from Shade, Salt, and Drought

The Art of Being Flexible: How to Escape from Shade, Salt, and Drought | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

Environmental stresses, such as shading of the shoot, drought, and soil salinity, threaten plant growth, yield, and survival. Plants can alleviate the impact of these stresses through various modes of phenotypic plasticity, such as shade avoidance and halotropism. Here, we review the current state of knowledge regarding the mechanisms that control plant developmental responses to shade, salt, and drought stress. We discuss plant hormones and cellular signaling pathways that control shoot branching and elongation responses to shade and root architecture modulation in response to drought and salinity. Because belowground stresses also result in aboveground changes and vice versa, we then outline how a wider palette of plant phenotypic traits is affected by the individual stresses. Consequently, we argue for a research agenda that integrates multiple plant organs, responses, and stresses. This will generate the scientific understanding needed for future crop improvement programs aiming at crops that can maintain yields under variable and suboptimal conditions.

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Genetic system found in all land plants controls the development of structures ... - Phys.Org

Genetic system found in all land plants controls the development of structures ... - Phys.Org | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Phys.Org
Genetic system found in all land plants controls the development of structures ...
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Betanin – a food colorant with biological activity - Esatbeyoglu - Molecular Nutrition & Food Research - Wiley Online Library

Betanin – a food colorant with biological activity - Esatbeyoglu - Molecular Nutrition & Food Research - Wiley Online Library | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

Betalains are water-soluble nitrogen-containing pigments which are subdivided in red-violet betacyanins and yellow-orange betaxanthins. Due to glycosylation and acylation betalains exhibit a huge structural diversity. Betanin (betanidin-5-O-β-glucoside) is the most common betacyanin in the plant kingdom. According to the regulation on food additives betanin is permitted quantum satis as a natural red food colorant (E162). Moreover, betanin is used as colorant in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Recently, potential health benefits of betalains and betalain-rich foods (e.g., red beet, Opuntia sp.) have been discussed. Betanin is a scavenger of reactive oxygen species and exhibits gene-regulatory activity partly via Nrf2-dependent signaling pathways. Betanin may induce phase II enzymes and antioxidant defense mechanisms. Furthermore, betanin possibly prevents LDL oxidation and DNA damage. Potential blood pressure lowering effects of red beet seem to be mainly mediated by dietary nitrate rather than by betanin per se.

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Defective Kernel 1 (DEK1) is required for three-dimensional growth in Physcomitrella patens - Perroud - 2014 - New Phytologist - Wiley Online Library

Defective Kernel 1 (DEK1) is required for three-dimensional growth in Physcomitrella patens - Perroud - 2014 - New Phytologist - Wiley Online Library | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Orientation of cell division is critical for plant morphogenesis. This is evident in the formation and function of meristems and for morphogenetic transitions. Mosses undergo such transitions: from two-dimensional tip-growing filaments (protonema) to the generation of three-dimensional leaf-like structures (gametophores).The Defective Kernel 1 (DEK1) protein plays a key role in the perception of and/or response to positional cues that specify the formation and function of the epidermal layer in developing seeds of flowering plants. The moss Physcomitrella patens contains the highly conserved DEK1 gene.Using efficient gene targeting, we generated a precise PpDEK1 deletion (∆dek1), which resulted in normal filamentous growth of protonema. Two distinct mutant phenotypes were observed: an excess of buds on the protonema, and abnormal cell divisions in the emerging buds resulting in developmental arrest and the absence of three-dimensional growth. Overexpression of a complete PpDEK1 cDNA, or the calpain domain of PpDEK1 alone, successfully complements both phenotypes.These results in P. patens demonstrate the morphogenetic importance of the DEK1 protein in the control of oriented cell divisions. As it is not for protonema, it will allow dissection of the structure/function relationships of the different domains of DEK1 using gene targeting in null mutant background.
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Transposon-mediated mutation of CYP76AD3 affects betalain synthesis and produces variegated flowers in four o’clock (Mirabilis jalapa)

Transposon-mediated mutation of CYP76AD3 affects betalain synthesis and produces variegated flowers in four o’clock (Mirabilis jalapa) | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

The variegated flower colors of many plant species have been shown to result from the insertion or excision of transposable elements into genes that encode enzymes involved in anthocyanin synthesis. To date, however, it has not been established whether this phenomenon is responsible for the variegation produced by other pigments such as betalains. During betalain synthesis in red beet, the enzyme CYP76AD1 catalyzes the conversion of l-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) to cyclo-DOPA. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis indicated that the homologous gene in four o’clock (Mirabilis jalapa) is CYP76AD3. Here, we show that in four o’clock with red perianths, the CYP76AD3 gene consists of one intron and two exons; however, in a mutant with a perianth showing red variegation on a yellow background, a transposable element, dTmj1, had been excised from the intron. This is the first report that a transposition event affecting a gene encoding an enzyme for betalain synthesis can result in a variegated flower phenotype.

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RNA Silencing in Plants to Fight Aphids : IGTRCN

RNA Silencing in Plants to Fight Aphids : IGTRCN | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Can we use transgenic plants to limit aphid negative impact on plants? And if yes, which efficient technical means can we develop? Guo et al in the lab of Rongxiang Fang in Beijing, propose to generate in planta, small ...
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Simultaneous editing of three homoeoalleles in hexaploid bread wheat confers heritable resistance to powdery mildew : Nature Biotechnology : Nature Publishing Group

TALEN-induced mutation of all homologous copies of a gene that represses resistance to an important wheat pathogen confers a trait that has eluded plant breeders for decades. 

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 resistance to powdery mildew. We further use CRISPR-Cas9 technology to generate transgenic wheat plants that carry mutations in the 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.

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Hybrid wheat [Agricultural Sciences]

Hybrid wheat [Agricultural Sciences] | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

Bread wheat (hexaploid Triticum aestivum) provides an extraordinary 10,000-y story of a new species, established by early farmers, selecting for simple agronomical traits to facilitate efficient and plentiful grain harvest. The genetic changes underlying wheat domestication over thousands of years, however, included not just a collection of beneficial single gene mutations, but also introgressions and whole genome duplication. The hexaploidization event occurred spontaneously in nature, but the resulting wild species did not survive; it is known only in its domesticated form. Evolutionary bottleneck(s) reduced genetic variation of the species, and it was introduced broadly outside its native geographical range and habitat. Nevertheless, modern breeding programs delivered high-yield elite cultivars, which are planted in most major wheat-producing areas of the world. In the face of quickly declining arable land expansion and challenges from climate change, the following question arises: where can we find the next wave of increase in yield and global production of wheat? In PNAS, Kempe et al. (1) describe molecular engineering of an elegant male sterility–fertility restoration system for the exploration of heterosis (hybrid plant vigor) in wheat. In the future, this system could facilitate introduction of hybrid seeds on a large scale.

Emmer wheat, one of the eight founder crops domesticated in the Middle East about 10,000 y ago, was instrumental in spawning the Agricultural Revolution. The transition of wild to cultivated emmer initiated the extensive genetic restructuring of domesticated wheat, primarily involving mutations that resulted in the transition of types with natural seed dispersal mechanisms (brittle spikes) to types with a nonbrittle rachis (2). The initial transition from the wild habitat to cultivated fields also involved selection for free-threshing seeds, nondormant seeds, uniform and rapid germination, erect plants, and increased grain size. It was a domesticated derivative of emmer that hybridized with goatgrass about 8,000 y ago (3), probably southeast of the Caspian Sea, that resulted in the first hexaploid bread wheat (4).


Via Christophe Jacquet
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Strigolactones Inhibit Caulonema Elongation and Cell Division in the Moss Physcomitrella patens

Strigolactones Inhibit Caulonema Elongation and Cell Division in the Moss Physcomitrella patens | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

In vascular plants, strigolactones (SLs) are known for their hormonal role and for their role as signal molecules in the rhizosphere. SLs are also produced by the moss Physcomitrella patens, in which they act as signaling factors for controlling filament extension and possibly interaction with neighboring individuals. To gain a better understanding of SL action at the cellular level, we investigated the effect of exogenously added molecules (SLs or analogs) in moss growth media. We used the previously characterized Ppccd8 mutant that is deficient in SL synthesis and showed that SLs affect moss protonema extension by reducing caulonema cell elongation and mainly cell division rate, both in light and dark conditions. Based on this effect, we set up bioassays to examine chemical structure requirements for SL activity in moss. The results suggest that compounds GR24, GR5, and 5-deoxystrigol are active in moss (as in pea), while other analogs that are highly active in the control of pea branching show little activity in moss. Interestingly, the karrikinolide KAR1, which shares molecular features with SLs, did not have any effect on filament growth, even though the moss genome contains several genes homologous to KAI2 (encoding the KAR1 receptor) and no canonical homologue to D14 (encoding the SL receptor). Further studies should investigate whether SL signaling pathways have been conserved during land plant evolution.

 

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Moving beyond the GM Debate

Moving beyond the GM Debate | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

Once again, there are calls to reopen the debate on genetically modified (GM) crops. I find these calls frustrating and unnecessarily decisive. In my opinion the GM debate, on both sides, continues to hamper the urgent need to address the diverse and pressing challenges of global food security and environmental sustainability. The destructive power of the debate comes from its conflation of unrelated issues, coupled with deeply rooted misconceptions of the nature of agriculture.

 

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Betacyanin Biosynthetic Genes and Enzymes Are Differentially Induced by (a)biotic Stress in Amaranthus hypochondriacus

Betacyanin Biosynthetic Genes and Enzymes Are Differentially Induced by (a)biotic Stress in Amaranthus hypochondriacus | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

An analysis of key genes and enzymes of the betacyanin biosynthetic pathway in Amaranthus hypochondriacus (Ah) was performed. Complete cDNA sequence of Ah genes coding for cyclo-DOPA 5-O glucosyltransferase (AhcDOPA5-GT), two 4, 5-DOPA-extradiol-dioxygenase isoforms (AhDODA-1 and AhDODA-2, respectively), and a betanidin 5-O-glucosyltransferase (AhB5-GT), plus the partial sequence of an orthologue of the cytochrome P-450 R gene (CYP76AD1) were obtained. With the exception AhDODA-2, which had a closer phylogenetic relationship to DODA-like genes in anthocyanin-synthesizing plants, all genes analyzed closely resembled those reported in related Caryophyllales species. The measurement of basal gene expression levels, in addition to the DOPA oxidase tyrosinase (DOT) activity, in different tissues of three Ah genotypes having contrasting pigmentation levels (green to red-purple) was determined. Additional analyses were performed in Ah plants subjected to salt and drought stress and to two different insect herbivory regimes. Basal pigmentation accumulation in leaves, stems and roots of betacyanic plants correlated with higher expression levels of AhDODA-1 and AhB5-GT, whereas DOT activity levels coincided with pigment accumulation in stems and roots and with the acyanic nature of green plants, respectively, but not with pigmentation in leaves. Although the abiotic stress treatments tested produced changes in pigment levels in different tissues, pigment accumulation was the highest in leaves and stems of drought stressed betacyanic plants, respectively. However, tissue pigment accumulation in stressed Ah plants did not always correlate with betacyanin biosynthetic gene expression levels and/or DOT activity. This effect was tissue- and genotype-dependent, and further suggested that other unexamined factors were influencing pigment content in stressed Ah. The results obtained from the insect herbivory assays, particularly in acyanic plants, also support the proposal that these genes could have functions other than betacyanin biosynthesis.

 

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A plant cell division algorithm based on cell biomechanics and ellipse-fitting

A plant cell division algorithm based on cell biomechanics and ellipse-fitting | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

The generic plant cell division algorithm has been implemented successfully. It can handle both symmetrically and asymmetrically dividing cells coupled with isotropic and anisotropic growth modes. Development of the algorithm highlighted the importance of ellipse-fitting to produce randomness (biological variability) even in symmetrically dividing cells. Unlike previous models, a differential equation is formulated for the resting length of the cell wall to simulate actual biological growth and is solved simultaneously with the position and velocity of the vertices.

Conclusions The algorithm presented can produce different tissues varying in topological and geometrical properties. This flexibility to produce different tissue types gives the model great potential for use in investigations of plant cell division and growth in silico.

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Conservation of Male Sterility 2 function during spore and pollen wall development supports an evolutionarily early recruitment of a core component in the sporopollenin biosynthetic pathway - Walla...

Conservation of Male Sterility 2 function during spore and pollen wall development supports an evolutionarily early recruitment of a core component in the sporopollenin biosynthetic pathway - Walla... | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
The early evolution of plants required the acquisition of a number of key adaptations to overcome physiological difficulties associated with survival on land. One of these was a tough sporopollenin wall that enclosed reproductive propagules and provided protection from desiccation and UV-B radiation. All land plants possess such walled spores (or their derived homologue, pollen).We took a reverse genetics approach, consisting of knock-out and complementation experiments to test the functional conservation of the sporopollenin-associated gene MALE STERILTY 2 (which is essential for pollen wall development in Arabidopsis thaliana) in the bryophyte Physcomitrella patens.Knock-outs of a putative moss homologue of the A. thaliana MS2 gene, which is highly expressed in the moss sporophyte, led to spores with highly defective walls comparable to that observed in the A. thaliana ms2 mutant, and extremely compromised germination. Conversely, the moss MS2 gene could not rescue the A. thaliana ms2 phenotype.The results presented here suggest that a core component of the biochemical and developmental pathway required for angiosperm pollen wall development was recruited early in land plant evolution but the continued increase in pollen wall complexity observed in angiosperms has been accompanied by divergence in MS2 gene function.
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The coffee genome provides insight into the convergent evolution of caffeine ... - Science Careers Blog

The coffee genome provides insight into the convergent evolution of caffeine ...
Science Careers Blog
13Center for Biotechnology, Universität Bielefeld, Universitätsstraße 27, D-33615 Bielefeld, Germany.
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Suspension Culture of Plant Cells Under Phototrophic Conditions - Industrial Scale Suspension Culture of Living Cells - Niederkrüger - Wiley Online Library

The use of plant (cell) suspension cultures in phototrophic mode on an industrially relevant scale is limited to two systems worldwide. These are the moss-based BryoTechnology™ and the duckweed-based SYNLEX™ production systems being developed by greenovation biotech GmbH and Synthon, respectively. Both production platforms make use of intact plants, rather than isolated cells, which are grown in simple salt media to manufacture recombinant, high value pharmaceutical proteins. They exploit unique features of plants like homogenous N-glycosylation, absolute genetic stability, and pathogen safety to create biopharmaceuticals of outstanding quality. On the equipment side, both processes build on single use, disposable solutions bringing about high flexibility and regulatory safety. Despite sharing all of the above-mentioned aspects, these two systems differ remarkably in several details. Physcomitrella patens, the moss behind BryoTechnology™, is unique in its potential for genetic engineering. Resembling yeast systems in that aspect, it allows for rapid generation of product-tailored production platforms. The SYNLEX™-system on the other hand, with Lemna minor as producing organism has a very basic process setup with few controls and good scale-up potential. This chapter discusses strengths and weaknesses of both systems side-by-side, describes their current technological development status, and gives a short future outlook.

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Genetic analysis of DEK1 Loop function in three-dimensional body patterning in Physcomitrella patens

Genetic analysis of DEK1 Loop function in three-dimensional body patterning in Physcomitrella patens | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

DEK1 of higher plants plays an essential role in position dependent signaling and consists of a large transmembrane domain (MEM) linked to a protease catalytic domain (CysPc) and a regulatory domain (C2L). Here we show that the postulated sensory Loop of the MEM domain plays an important role in the developmental regulation of DEK1 activity in the moss Physcomitrella patens. Compared with P. patens lacking DEK1 (∆dek1), the dek1∆loop mutant correctly positions the division plane in the bud apical cell. In contrast to an early developmental arrest of ∆dek1 buds, dek1∆loop develops aberrant gametophores lacking expanded phyllids resulting from mis-regulation of mitotic activity. In contrast to the highly conserved sequence of the catalytic CysPc domain, the Loop is highly variable in land plants. Functionally, the sequence from Marchantia polymorpha fully complements the dek1∆loop phenotype, whereas sequences from Zea mays and Arabidopsis thaliana give phenotypes with retarded growth and affected phyllid development. New bioinformatic analysis identifies MEM as a member of the Major Facilitator Superfamily, membrane transporters reacting to stimuli from the external environment. Transcriptome analysis comparing WT and ∆dek1 tissues identifies an effect of two groups of transcripts connected to dek1 mutant phenotypes, i.e. transcripts related to cell wall remodeling and regulation of the APB2 and APB3 transcription factors known to regulate bud initiation. Finally, new sequence data support the hypothesis that the advanced charophyte algae that evolved into ancestral land plants lost cytosolic calpains, retaining DEK1 as the sole calpain in the evolving land plant lineage.

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Microencapsulated beetroot juice as a potential source of betalain

Microencapsulated beetroot juice as a potential source of betalain | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

Red beet is a rich source of betalain pigments, which can protect against age-related diseases. Betalain pigment can be used as a natural additive for food, cosmetics and drugs in the form of beet juice as well as beet powder. Processing stability in food is the most important issue nowadays. Microencapsulation of pigments creates stable powders. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of carrier type on stability of beetroot pigments. Raw material used in the study was 100% beetroot juice. Low-crystallised maltodextrin, Arabic gum and a mixture of both (1:1) were used as carriers. Drying was carried out in a spray-drier at a disc speed of 39,000 rpm and a solution flux rate of 0.3 and 0.8 × 10− 6 m3 s− 1. The inlet air temperature was 160 °C. In powders physical properties such as hygroscopicity, dry matter solubility and size, which can influence future application, were tested. The highest violet pigment content was observed in powders based on Arabic gum, but the content of yellow pigment was low. Reverse results were seen for microparticles with maltodextrin. Moreover, for a longer period of time microcapsules of Arabic gum and beetroot pigments were stable, because of their lower hygroscopicity in comparison to maltodextrin. Nevertheless, the authors recommend beetroot pigments obtained with maltodextrin as natural food pigments for food supplements.

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Sustained miniaturization and anatomical innovation in the dinosaurian ancestors of birds

nRecent discoveries have highlighted the dramatic evolutionary transformation of massive, ground-dwelling theropod dinosaurs into light, volant birds. Here, we apply Bayesian approaches (originally developed for inferring geographic spread and rates of molecular evolution in viruses) in a different context: to infer size changes and rates of anatomical innovation (across up to 1549 skeletal characters) in fossils. These approaches identify two drivers underlying the dinosaur-bird transition. The theropod lineage directly ancestral to birds undergoes sustained miniaturization across 50 million years and at least 12 consecutive branches (internodes) and evolves skeletal adaptations four times faster than other dinosaurs. The distinct, prolonged phase of miniaturization along the bird stem would have facilitated the evolution of many novelties associated with small body size, such as reorientation of body mass, increased aerial ability, and paedomorphic skulls with reduced snouts but enlarged eyes and brains.

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Not a plant stuff but so interesting ....

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Chinese Researchers Create Disease-Resistant Wheat by Deleting Genes - Mashable

Chinese Researchers Create Disease-Resistant Wheat by Deleting Genes - Mashable | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
International Business Times UK Chinese Researchers Create Disease-Resistant Wheat by Deleting Genes Mashable The gene-deletion trick is particularly tough to do in wheat because the plant has three genomes — with largely similar copies of the same...
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Genetic causes of transitions from sexual reproduction to asexuality in plants and animals - Neiman - 2014 - Journal of Evolutionary Biology - Wiley Online Library

Genetic causes of transitions from sexual reproduction to asexuality in plants and animals - Neiman - 2014 - Journal of Evolutionary Biology - Wiley Online Library | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
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Horizontal genome transfer as an asexual path to the formation of new species : Nature : Nature Publishing Group

Horizontal genome transfer as an asexual path to the formation of new species : Nature : Nature Publishing Group | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Allopolyploidization, the combination of the genomes from two different species, has been a major source of evolutionary innovation and a driver of speciation and environmental adaptation. In plants, it has also contributed greatly to crop domestication, as the superior properties of many modern crop plants were conferred by ancient allopolyploidization events. It is generally thought that allopolyploidization occurred through hybridization events between species, accompanied or followed by genome duplication. Although many allopolyploids arose from closely related species (congeners), there are also allopolyploid species that were formed from more distantly related progenitor species belonging to different genera or even different tribes. Here we have examined the possibility that allopolyploidization can also occur by asexual mechanisms. We show that upon grafting[mdash]a mechanism of plant-plant interaction that is widespread in nature[mdash]entire nuclear genomes can be transferred between plant cells. We provide direct evidence for this process resulting in speciation by creating a new allopolyploid plant species from a herbaceous species and a woody species in the nightshade family. The new species is fertile and produces fertile progeny. Our data highlight natural grafting as a potential asexual mechanism of speciation and also provide a method for the generation of novel allopolyploid crop species.
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Lab to Farm: Applying Research on Plant Genetics and Genomics to Crop Improvement

Lab to Farm: Applying Research on Plant Genetics and Genomics to Crop Improvement | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

Over the last 300 years, plant science research has provided important knowledge and technologies for advancing the sustainability of agriculture. In this Essay, I describe how basic research advances have been translated into crop improvement, explore some lessons learned, and discuss the potential for current and future contribution of plant genetic improvement technologies to continue to enhance food security and agricultural sustainability.

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Frontiers | Distinct evolutionary strategies in the GGPPS family from plants | Plant Evolution and Development

Multiple geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthases (GGPPS) for biosynthesis of geranylgeranyl diphosphate (GGPP) exist in plants. GGPP is produced in the isoprenoid pathway and is a central precursor for various primary and specialized plant metabolites. Therefore, its biosynthesis is an essential regulatory point in the isoprenoid pathway. We selected 119 GGPPSs from 48 species representing all major plant lineages, based on stringent homology criteria. After the diversification of land plants, the number of GGPPS paralogs per species increases. Already in the moss Physcomitrella patens, GGPPS appears to be encoded by multiple paralogous genes. In gymnosperms, neofunctionalization of GGPPS may have enabled optimized biosynthesis of primary and specialized metabolites. Notably, lineage-specific expansion of GGPPS occurred in land plants. As a representative species we focused here on Arabidopsis thaliana, which retained the highest number of GGPPS paralogs (twelve) among the 48 species we considered in this study. Our results show that the A. thaliana GGPPS gene family is an example of evolution involving neo- and subfunctionalization as well as pseudogenization. We propose subfunctionalization as one of the main mechanisms allowing the maintenance of multiple GGPPS paralogs in A. thaliana genome. Accordingly, the changes in the expression patterns of the GGPPS paralogs occurring after gene duplication led to developmental and/or condition specific functional evolution.
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