For organisms to grow and develop, they must produce tissues with distinct functions, each one made up of similar cells.
Through an experimental-modelling cycle, researchers have unravelled how stem cells in the Arabidopsis root regulate asymmetric cell divisions that give rise to two new cell identities at the correct position.
For much of the year drought has been plaguing American grasslands. But a recent study found that grasses do not appear to be losing the turf war against climate when it comes to surviving with little precipitation.
The John Innes Centre will lead a $9.8m research project to investigate whether it is possible to initiate a symbiosis between cereal crops and bacteria. The symbiosis could help cereals access nitrogen from the air to improve yields.
The five-year research project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, could have most immediate benefit for subsistence farmers.
"Sub-Saharan Africa's population is expected to reach 1.5–2 billion by 2050. Already the population is ballooning; in many areas, the risk of drought and flood is increasing; most soils are poor; and richer nations are buying up Africa's arable land for their own food or fuel security. African farmers have demonstrated the promise of perenniation. It is time to scale up its use and put it firmly on the research-and-development map."
Here's a great new review that discusses small secreted peptides and their roles in development, including roles in patterning the meristems and guard cells, and pollen development. The review also points to the major gaps that remain in our knowlege of these small secreted signals.
In gynodioecious species hermaphroditic plants coexist with female plants. Toivonen and Mutikainen find that experimentally increased reproductive output leads to differential costs of reproduction in the gynodioecious Geranium sylvaticum (Geraniaceae). In hermaphrodites the costs are expressed as decreased flowering, and in females as decreased seed production; overall, female plants seem to be more sensitive to the cost of reproduction than hermaphrodites. The differential costs of reproduction may contribute to annual variation in the relative seed fitness of female plants in this gynodioecious species, and consequently they might also contribute to the maintenance of the gynodioecious breeding system.
Just a few more days until the threatened destruction of a field trial of GM wheat in England. At this point it's not certain if the demonstration will include vandalism, but should it, what happens next?
My fantasy is to take the vandals (and the people who encourage them, like her http://tinyurl.com/83v6me2) to a quiet place for four years.
During that period, they'd have to pass courses in chemistry (general, organic, and physical, because without understanding chemistry you know nothing...), statistics, economics, ecology, environmental science, genetics, cell biology, biochemistry and plant physiology. Oh, and they'd have to spend a year doing experimental work (something really hard, like proteomics or electrophysiology, or whole-organismal physiology) AND come up with a publication-quality figure. If that fail the last task, a year in a refugee camp where people know what it means to really worrry about their food could substitute.....
At the end of their four years, I'd let them go. What do you think the chances would be that they'd rush off to destroy someone's experiment? I think ZERO.
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