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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Nature's microbiome: introduction - Molecular Ecology Special Issue

Nature's microbiome: introduction - Molecular Ecology Special Issue | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

In this special issue of Molecular Ecology, we present 28 articles incorporating molecular and bioinformatics tools to dissect the intimate and prolonged associations that define symbioses. We have organized these studies into three sections, focused on (i) the composition of symbiotic communities and how this varies across hosts, tissues and development, and in response to environmental change (‘The Dynamic Microbiome’); (ii) the roles that microbes play for their hosts and the underlying mechanisms behind these functions (‘Microbiome Function’); and (iii) the nature and mechanisms of interactions between hosts and symbionts and between the co-inhabiting symbionts themselves (‘The Interactive Microbiome’). These articles highlight the state-of-the-art in microbiome research, with novel discoveries for well-developed models and for other budding systems beyond the human realm.


Via Francis Martin
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Nature: miRNAs trigger widespread epigenetically activated siRNAs from transposons in Arabidopsis

Nature: miRNAs trigger widespread epigenetically activated siRNAs from transposons in Arabidopsis | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"Thus miRNA-directed epigenetically activated’ small interfering RNAs (easiRNA) biogenesis is a latent mechanism that specifically targets transposon transcripts, but only when they are epigenetically reactivated during reprogramming of the germ line. This ancient recognition mechanism may have been retained both by transposons to evade long-term heterochromatic silencing and by their hosts for genome defence.

Mary Williams's insight:

Nice study!

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Sometimes you just have to ask....

Sometimes you just have to ask.... | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
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Let's sing the praises of taxonomists, who help us make sense of our world

Let's sing the praises of taxonomists, who help us make sense of our world | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Tim Entwisle: Which species can we afford to lose? What crops will help us survive climate change? Which plants do we need to produce oxygen for us to breathe? Taxonomists work to find those answers
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From Tim Entwisle, director and chief executive of Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne (@TimEntwisle)

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Kew's Global Kitchen Cookbook - AoB Blog

Kew's Global Kitchen Cookbook - AoB Blog | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Kew's Global Kitchen Cookbook is an illustrated celebration of the amazing variety of edible plants and how we can use them.
Mary Williams's insight:

Great gift for or from a plant biologist.... I know lots of mums,  mothers and fathers who would enjoy getting this book! UK Mothering Sunday is 30 March, US Mother's Day is 11 May. Father's Day is 15 June!

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Teaching Resources | The Royal Institution: Science Lives Here

Teaching Resources | The Royal Institution: Science Lives Here | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Explore the building blocks of developmental biology with your students in these teaching resources on Life Fantastic.
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Cellulosic ethanol fights for life

Cellulosic ethanol fights for life | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Pioneering biofuel producers hope that US government largesse will ease their way into a tough market.
Mary Williams's insight:

Bioenergy is a great topic for introductory biology courses as it draws on so many discplines including economics and politics!

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Evolution of DNA Sequencing - talk by Jonathan Eisen posted to Slide Share

Talk by Jonathan Eisen on the Evolution of DNA Sequencing Methods - useful for teaching! 

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Twitter's biggest pedant - YouTube

ntThe man who calls himself a 'punctilious killjoy' - Paulo Ordoveza, aka PicPedant, trawls Twitter calling out people who post fake pictures

Mary Williams's insight:

Interesting video - if you are interested, see his twitter feed here https://twitter.com/PicPedant

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Nature Protocols: Hybrid recreation by reverse breeding in Arabidopsis thaliana

Nature Protocols: Hybrid recreation by reverse breeding in Arabidopsis thaliana | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Here's a fun paper to read with your genetics students!

"Hybrid crop varieties are traditionally produced by selecting and crossing parental lines to evaluate hybrid performance. Reverse breeding allows doing the opposite: selecting uncharacterized heterozygotes and generating parental lines from them. With these, the selected heterozygotes can be recreated as F1 hybrids, greatly increasing the number of hybrids that can be screened in breeding programs. Key to reverse breeding is the suppression of meiotic crossovers in a hybrid plant to ensure the transmission of nonrecombinant chromosomes to haploid gametes. "

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Best of both – balancing research and outreach « the Node (by Anne Osterrieder)

Best of both – balancing research and outreach « the Node (by Anne Osterrieder) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
I have been trying to pin-point when exactly I became interested in science outreach. The earliest I can think back is when we had to dissect Helix aspersa, the garden snail, in our undergraduate zoology practical. It was a slimy business. Our lecturer had asked us to remove the specimen’s body from its shell. It […]
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Ask A Plant Scientist: Dmitri Nusinow, Ph.D. From the Danforth Center blog.

Ask A Plant Scientist: Dmitri Nusinow, Ph.D. From the Danforth Center blog. | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
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Crop Coalescence | The Scientist Magazine® Really interesting data in new PNAS article

Crop Coalescence | The Scientist Magazine® Really interesting data in new PNAS article | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
While national food supplies have diversified during the last 50 years, the global crop selection has homogenized, new analysis shows.


This link is to a review of a new OA article in PNAS. Check out the article itself (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/02/26/1313490111) which has some really interesting data. I think you could give the article to students to read and ask them to consider the causes and effects of the observed crop coalescence.

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Ipsos MORI | Poll | Public Attitudes to Science 2014

Ipsos MORI | Poll | Public Attitudes to Science 2014 | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
The UK public are as enthusiastic about science as they ever have been, with attitudes to science having come a long way over the past 25 years, according to the Public Attitudes to Science study for 2014.
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Bionic plants: Nanotechnology could turn shrubbery into supercharged energy producers

Bionic plants: Nanotechnology could turn shrubbery into supercharged energy producers | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Plants have many valuable functions: They provide food and fuel, release the oxygen that we breathe, and add beauty to our surroundings. Now, researchers wants to make plants even more useful by augmenting them with nanomaterials that could enhance their energy production and give them completely new functions, such as monitoring environmental pollutants.
Mary Williams's insight:

Here is a link to the article in Nature Methods

http://www.nature.com/nmat/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nmat3890.html

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Eric Chan Wei Chiang's curator insight, July 30, 2014 11:54 AM

More recently,  RCA graduate Julian Melchiorri became a minor celebrity for designing the world first man-made biological leaf which actually looks like a leaf http://sco.lt/7MI8mX


A bionic man may not be too far off with the advent of the following technologies:

1) Bionic arm http://sco.lt/6rxrHd

2) Bionic neurobridge http://sco.lt/6eA0tF

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BBC: UK scientists call for new GM trials. (The Plant Cell Editor in Chief Cathie Martin is quoted in this article)

BBC: UK scientists call for new GM trials. (The Plant Cell Editor in Chief Cathie Martin is quoted in this article) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Mary Williams's insight:

"She told BBC News: "It takes 10 years to get European regulators to approve a new GM trial, and costs in the order of $150m. How can any small company do that?"

"NGOs complain that GM only benefits multinational companies - but that's because they're the only ones who can afford it. We can't afford to trial crops for the public good.

"If this promotes field trials where you can look at something for the public good that would be fantastic.""

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Cell Host and Microbe - The FLS2-Associated Kinase BIK1 Directly Phosphorylates the NADPH Oxidase RbohD to Control Plant Immunity

Cell Host and Microbe - The FLS2-Associated Kinase BIK1 Directly Phosphorylates the NADPH Oxidase RbohD to Control Plant Immunity | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Another study showing the direct involvement of BIK1 in RbohD activation!

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Hua Cao's curator insight, March 17, 2014 11:54 PM

good paper. need to read.

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Molecular Cell: Direct Regulation of the NADPH Oxidase RBOHD by the PRR-Associated Kinase BIK1 during Plant Immunity (2014)

Molecular Cell: Direct Regulation of the NADPH Oxidase RBOHD by the PRR-Associated Kinase BIK1 during Plant Immunity (2014) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

The rapid production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) burst is a conserved signaling output in immunity across kingdoms. In plants, perception of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) by surface-localized pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) activates the NADPH oxidase RBOHD by hitherto unknown mechanisms. Here, we show that RBOHD exists in complex with the receptor kinases EFR and FLS2, which are the PRRs for bacterial EF-Tu and flagellin, respectively. The plasma-membrane-associated kinase BIK1, which is a direct substrate of the PRR complex, directly interacts with and phosphorylates RBOHD upon PAMP perception. BIK1 phosphorylates different residues than calcium-dependent protein kinases, and both PAMP-induced BIK1 activation and BIK1-mediated phosphorylation of RBOHD are calcium independent. Importantly, phosphorylation of these residues is critical for the PAMP-induced ROS burst and antibacterial immunity. Our study reveals a rapid regulatory mechanism of a plant RBOH, which occurs in parallel with and is essential for its paradigmatic calcium-based regulation.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL, WeiGao
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Steve Marek's curator insight, March 13, 2014 9:54 AM

Elegantly simple and effective.  What about other PRRs?

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CurrOpinPlantBiol: DNA assembly for plant biology: techniques and tools

CurrOpinPlantBiol: DNA assembly for plant biology: techniques and tools | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
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How is the California drought going to affect food production? Check out this interesting set of maps.

How is the California drought going to affect food production? Check out this interesting set of maps. | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Why California's drought is a disaster for your favorite fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
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TEDxBerkeley - Hardshell Labs

TEDxBerkeley - Hardshell Labs | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Hardshell Labs wants to make conservation fun. Founder Tim Shields presented CrowdSourced Conservation™ at TEDxBerkeley. View the video here!
Mary Williams's insight:

Really good talk and project about bringing the energy and enthusiasm that goes into gaming into conservation and environmental work. Great idea!

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The Crop Trust, Feeding a Growing World - YouTube

The Global Crop Diversity Trust is a small organisation with a big mission: to ensure the conservation and availability for crop diversity worldwide forever....
Mary Williams's insight:

What is it, why is it important, and how is it funded? Find out here.

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The ABC model of flower development: then and now (Nov 2012)

The ABC model of flower development: then and now (Nov 2012) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

I just found this interesting historical perspective on the ABC model of flower development, from the journal Development. Could be useful for teaching.

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Micheal Li's curator insight, September 2, 2014 10:52 PM

I didn't know there was so much behind the development of flowers! Maybe one day this method can be used to bread flowers for the purpose of making flower tea. Probably the taste can be even more refined, but I only wonder if this is kind of against nature.

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Bioinformatics Curriculum Guidelines: Toward a Definition of Core Competencies

Bioinformatics Curriculum Guidelines: Toward a Definition of Core Competencies | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Really useful article from PLOS Comp Bio - what should students learn in a comp bio / bioinformatics degree program? Also differentiates between the skills needed for a bioinformatics user / scientist / engineer.

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Defenses Up: HHMI Bulletin

Defenses Up: HHMI Bulletin | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
They might not look very tough, but plants are armed and ready to fend off attackers.
Mary Williams's insight:

Nice article from the magazine of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute about plant defense mechanisms

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Ronaldo Dalio's curator insight, March 7, 2014 7:18 AM

Timely and very important article  to understand plant defenses and effectors biology.