Plant Science
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Plant Science
Useful information on Plant Science in the UK and further a field
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Mould fungi can cure plants

Mould fungi can cure plants | Plant Science | Scoop.it

Mould fungi can be found almost everywhere. Their success is due to their remarkable versatility: depending on external conditions, they can choose quite different lifestyles. Sometimes fungi can be very useful for plants. They can shield the plants from diseases and at the same time boost their growth. Genetic studies show that fungi can be used as an eco-friendly alternative to conventional fertilizers and plant protecting agents.


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
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PNAS: Phytoplasma protein effector SAP11 enhances insect vector reproduction by manipulating plant development and defense hormone biosynthesis

PNAS: Phytoplasma protein effector SAP11 enhances insect vector reproduction by manipulating plant development and defense hormone biosynthesis | Plant Science | Scoop.it

Phytoplasmas are insect-transmitted phytopathogenic bacteria that can alter plant morphology and the longevity and reproduction rates and behavior of their insect vectors. There are various examples of animal and plant parasites that alter the host phenotype to attract insect vectors, but it is unclear how these parasites accomplish this. We hypothesized that phytoplasmas produce effectors that modulate specific targets in their hosts leading to the changes in plant development and insect performance. Previously, we sequenced and mined the genome of Aster Yellows phytoplasma strain Witches’ Broom (AY-WB) and identified 56 candidate effectors. Here, we report that the secreted AY-WB protein 11 (SAP11) effector modulates plant defense responses to the advantage of the AY-WB insect vector Macrosteles quadrilineatus. SAP11 binds and destabilizes Arabidopsis CINCINNATA (CIN)-related TEOSINTE BRANCHED1, CYCLOIDEA, PROLIFERATING CELL FACTORS 1 and 2 (TCP) transcription factors, which control plant development and promote the expression of lipoxygenase (LOX) genes involved in jasmonate (JA) synthesis. Both the Arabidopsis SAP11 lines and AY-WB–infected plants produce less JA on wounding. Furthermore, the AY-WB insect vector produces more offspring on AY-WB–infected plants, SAP11 transgenic lines, and plants impaired in CIN-TCP and JA synthesis. Thus, SAP11-mediated destabilization of CIN-TCPs leads to the down-regulation of LOX2 expression and JA synthesis and an increase in M. quadrilineatus progeny. Phytoplasmas are obligate inhabitants of their plant host and insect vectors, in which the latter transmits AY-WB to a diverse range of plant species. This finding demonstrates that pathogen effectors can reach beyond the pathogen–host interface to modulate a third organism in the biological interaction.


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Leading plant researchers call for science-based GM regulation | News from the John Innes Centre

Leading plant researchers call for science-based GM regulation | News from the John Innes Centre | Plant Science | Scoop.it

At the end of this month, the world’s population will reach 7 billion; 1 billion are hungry, and 1 billion more are malnourished (http://tinyurl.com/3ngkyrt). In the next decades, there will be more humans. Limited land and water, costly energy for fertilizer, and climate change will ensure that more of them are hungry. Politics, economics and lack of good governance exacerbate the problem, but science and technology can contribute greatly to the solution. Why then is Europe regulating one part of the solution- GM (genetically modified) crops- as if they are a hazard?

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Timeline for evolution of wheat from the origin of plants - Annual Wheat Newsletter.

Timeline for evolution of wheat from the origin of plants - Annual Wheat Newsletter. | Plant Science | Scoop.it

A timeline of wheat evolution:

Bread wheat originated 8 thousand years ago (TYA). The wheat ancestors separated from rye 7 million years ago. This timeline from Byrne and Gornicki in the new Annual Wheat Newsletter (AWN) shows the key steps in wheat's origin from the earliest land plant fossils of 420 million years ago.


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
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Food for the Future

Food for the Future | Plant Science | Scoop.it
Food sustainability and security is a hot topic in the news at the moment, with both famine and GM products being high on the news agenda. The Genetics Resource Unit, part of Warwick Crop Centre in the School of Life Sciences, is a seed bank holding many important species of crop. Dr Charlotte Allender, Assistant Manager of the GRU, explains more about the unit and the aims it hopes to achieve, and what is the importance of preserving the genetic history of crops.
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Nature reaches for the high-hanging fruit

Nature reaches for the high-hanging fruit | Plant Science | Scoop.it

In the first study of its kind, researchers have used tools of paleontology to gain new insights into the diversity of natural plant chemicals. They have shown that during the evolution of these compounds nature doesn't settle for the 'low-hanging fruit' but favours rarer, harder to synthesise forms, giving pointers that will help in the search for potent new drugs.


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
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Video: Potato late blight in action

Time lapse of infection by Phytophthora infestans on two different potato varieties. The second one is the potato variety that has actually been sequenced for the potato genome project. /via Remco Stam, Huitema Lab.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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Fungi helped destroy forests during mass extinction 250 million years ago

Fungi helped destroy forests during mass extinction 250 million years ago | Plant Science | Scoop.it
The Permian extinction 250 million years ago was the largest mass extinction on record, and among the losers were conifers that originally blanketed the supercontinent of Pangaea. The demise of the world’s forests some 250 million years ago likely was accelerated by aggressive tree-killing fungi triggered by global climate change, according to a new study by a University of California, Berkeley, scientist and her Dutch and British colleagues. The researchers do not rule out the possibility that today’s changing climate could cause a similar increase in fungal diseases that could devastate forests already stressed by warming and drought.
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Crop breeding could ‘slash CO2 levels’ (The University of Manchester)

Crop breeding could ‘slash CO2 levels’ (The University of Manchester) | Plant Science | Scoop.it
Breeding crops with roots a metre deeper in the ground could lower atmospheric CO2 levels dramatically, with significant environmental benefits, according to research by a leading University of Manchester scientist. Writing in the journal Annals of Botany, Professor Douglas Kell argues that developing crops that produce roots more deeply in the ground could harvest more carbon from the air, and make crops more drought resistant, while dramatically reducing carbon levels. In principle, any crops could be treated in this way, giving more productive yields while also being better for the environment.
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Passing Judgment on Genetically Modified Foods

Passing Judgment on Genetically Modified Foods | Plant Science | Scoop.it
But we can't let it go at that, because by one means or another, almost our entire food supply is already the product of genetic modification.


I appreciate that the term "genetically modified"-- as in genetically modified organisms (GMO) or genetically modified food (GMF) -- conjures images of Frankenstein's monster (or at least, Frankenstein's monster's lunch), and makes people freak out. I know it makes people freak out, because I hear from them about it routinely -- some to ask my opinion, others to offer theirs.
Let's put the issue on trial before we reach a verdict. In a variation on the theme of evidentiary justice.
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A visit to the Urban Physic Garden

A visit to the Urban Physic Garden | Plant Science | Scoop.it
Jane Perrone explores a pop-up community garden that's spreading the word about the power of plants.
A pair of men in suits playing ping pong on a table fashioned from a skip; echinacea and arnica thriving in a raised bed marked "Dermatology Ward"; teas and coffees served out of the back of an ambulance - the Urban Physic Garden in Southwark isn't your usual "lovely garden" open for visitors to wander on the lawn and murmur approval of the hydrangeas.
An army of volunteers have transformed a patch of wasteland earmarked for future development, hunkered down in the shadow of the Shard into a pop-up physic garden, packed full of medicinal plants and a place for learning, fun and film screenings
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Dissecting the genome of the polyploid crop oilseed rape by transcriptome sequencing : Nature Biotechnology : Nature Publishing Group

Dissecting the genome of the polyploid crop oilseed rape by transcriptome sequencing : Nature Biotechnology : Nature Publishing Group | Plant Science | Scoop.it
Cost-effective analysis of allelic variation can be problematic for polyploid crops. By sequencing leaf transcriptomes from a mapping population of oilseed rape and its progenitors, Bancroft et al.
Polyploidy complicates genomics-based breeding of many crops, including wheat, potato, cotton, oat and sugarcane. To address this challenge, we sequenced leaf transcriptomes across a mapping population of the polyploid crop oilseed rape (Brassica napus) and representative ancestors of the parents of the population. Analysis of sequence variation1 and transcript abundance enabled us to construct twin single nucleotide polymorphism linkage maps of B. napus, comprising 23,037 markers. We used these to align the B. napus genome with that of a related species, Arabidopsis thaliana, and to genome sequence assemblies of its progenitor species, Brassica rapa and Brassica oleracea. We also developed methods to detect genome rearrangements and track inheritance of genomic segments, including the outcome of an interspecific cross. By revealing the genetic consequences of breeding, cost-effective, high-resolution dissection of crop genomes by transcriptome sequencing will increase the efficiency of predictive breeding even in the absence of a complete genome sequence.
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Plant has a bat beckoning beacon

Plant has a bat beckoning beacon | Plant Science | Scoop.it
A rainforest vine has evolved dish-shaped leaves to attract the bats that pollinate it, scientists have found.Tests revealed that the leaves were supremely efficient at bouncing back the sound pulses the flying mammals used to navigate.When the leaves were present the bats located the plant twice as quickly as when these echoing leaves were removed.
A team of scientists in the UK and Germany reported its findings in the journal Science.
The study is the first to find a plant with "specialised acoustic features" to help bat pollinators find them using sound.Most bats send out pulses of sound to find their way around; the way they sense objects in their environment by sensing how these pulses bounce off them is known as echolocation.
"We already knew that plants used their brightly coloured petals to attract pollinators," explained Marc Holderied from the University of Bristol, one of the researchers involved in the study."What we've found is the echolocating equivalent to colourful flowers. "We have a shape that produces an echo - an 'echoacoustic beacon'."
The scientists first notice the Caribbean plant, Marcgravia evenia, in a photograph in a Natural History magazine."We immediately recognised that this dish-shaped leaf could be a perfect bat attractor," he recalled.He and his colleagues brought the plant into their laboratory and bounced to measure its acoustics - essentially firing sound pulses at it to see how they echoed.
The next step was to test how the bats responded to it.
The researchers set a test for a group of nectar-feeding bats (Glossophaga soricina) to measure how long it took them to locate a small feeder in a dark room.They adorned the feeder either with the plants' dish-shaped leaf or with a normal (much flatter) foliage leaf from the same plant."Once we added the leaf, that really did the trick," said Dr Holderied. "The bats found the feeder in half the time." "Now we know that the acoustic clues are important for pollination."
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The Most Alien-Looking Place on Earth?

The Most Alien-Looking Place on Earth? | Plant Science | Scoop.it

Socotra island has been geographically isolated from mainland Africa for the last 6 or 7 million years. Like the Galapagos Islands, Socotra island is teeming with 700 extremely rare species of flora and fauna, a full 1/3 of which are endemic, i.e. found nowhere else on Earth.


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
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Flowers bloom for a second time

Flowers bloom for a second time | Plant Science | Scoop.it
UK plants are flowering for a second time this year because of the unseasonably warm weather.
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Top five myths about genetic modification

Top five myths about genetic modification | Plant Science | Scoop.it
The Conversation asked CSIRO scientist, Richard Richards, to look at the top five myths about genetic modification (GM), and correct the public record.Myth one: GM is just haphazard, imprecise cross…...

Via CIMMYT, Int.
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Why we need Plant Scientists

Why we need Plant Scientists | Plant Science | Scoop.it

Plant scientist’ should take its rightful place beside ‘doctor’, ‘lawyer’ and ‘vet’ in the list of top professions to which our most capable young people aspire, according to a hard-hitting letter by an international group of botanists and crop scientists published today.

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IndianBotanists's comment, March 10, 2013 9:53 AM
How good if we get lady plant scientists - Read about Janaki Ammal Indian Woman Botanists http://adf.ly/Kb8En
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One hundred important questions facing plant science research - Grierson - 2011 - New Phytologist

One hundred important questions facing plant science research - Grierson - 2011 - New Phytologist | Plant Science | Scoop.it

Plant science is central to addressing many of the most important questions facing humanity. Secure food production and quality remain key issues for the world in the 21st Century, and the importance of plants extends well beyond agriculture and horticulture as we face declining fossil fuel reserves, climate change, and a need for more sustainable methods to produce fuel, fibre, wood, and industrial feedstocks. There is also untapped potential in optimizing the nutritional properties of foods, and in identifying novel plant products such as medicines. Tackling these frontiers will require new scientific
methods and collaborations as existing approaches
are delivering incomplete answers.

 

Many of the most important questions that we have
identified can only be addressed by the integrated efforts of scientists with diverse expertise.


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
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Kew unveils native flower seed bank

Kew unveils native flower seed bank | Plant Science | Scoop.it

Kew Gardens is launching a seed bank for native plant species that will help to protect and restore disappearing wildflower meadows in the UK.

The UK Native Seed Hub, an initiative from Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, will provide high-quality seeds and scientific advice to groups growing wildflower meadows across the UK. The hub will then go on to support the restoration of 40 other native habitats such as chalk grasslands and lowland heathland.

The first meadows will be restored by a collaboration between Kew and the High Weald Landscape Trust's Weald meadows initiative in West Sussex. Species to be reintroduced include the harebell (Campanula rotundifolia), oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) and sneezewort (Achillea ptarmica). Robin Probert, head of technology and training at Kew, said: "This is habitat that has suffered the most over the past decades … only about 2% of the old species-rich meadows are left since the second world war."

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Why plant 'clones' aren't identical

Why plant 'clones' aren't identical | Plant Science | Scoop.it

Scientists have known for some time that 'clonal' (regenerant) organisms are not always identical: their observable characteristics and traits can vary, and this variation can be passed on to the next generation. This is despite the fact that they are derived from genetically identical founder cells.
Now, a team from Oxford University, UK, and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia, believe they have found out why this is the case in plants: the genomes of regenerant plants carry relatively high frequencies of new DNA sequence mutations that were not present in the genome of the donor plant.


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
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PlantingScience.org

PlantingScience.org | Plant Science | Scoop.it
PlantingScience is a learning and research resource, bringing together students, plant scientists, and teachers from across the US. Students engage in hands-on plant investigations, working with peers and scientist mentors to build collaborations and to improve their understanding of science. USA-based, but this looks like an interesting model for involving young people in plant science.
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How to feed the world without destroying the planet - SciDev.Net

How to feed the world without destroying the planet - SciDev.Net | Plant Science | Scoop.it
By 2050, there will be another two to three billion people on Earth, and the planet's population will consume twice as much food as now. For 50 years farmland has grown at the cost of natural habitat and biodiversity, and already more than two-thirds of agricultural land is either in use or protected.
As a result, we need to develop the technology to double the output of the 10–15 main calorie crops, particularly if we are alleviate the burden on developing countries of feeding a rapidly growing population, argues Jason Clay of the WWF in the journal Nature.
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Computing giants launch free science metrics : Nature News

Computing giants launch free science metrics : Nature News | Plant Science | Scoop.it
apping the landscape of science is about to get easier than ever before. Google and Microsoft are rolling out free tools that will enable researchers to analyse citation statistics, visualize research networks and track the hottest research fields.The systems could be attractive for scientists and institutions that are unable — or unwilling — to pay for existing metrics platforms, such as Thomson Reuters' Web of Knowledge and Elsevier's Scopus database.
Launched in 2004 as a search engine for academic publications, Google Scholar last month added Google Scholar Citations (GSC), which lets a researcher create a personal profile showing all their articles in the Google Scholar database (go.nature.com/7wkpea). The profile also shows plots of the number of citations these papers have received over time, and other citation metrics including the popular h-index, which attempts to measure both the productivity of a scientist and the overall impact of their publications. The service is currently in invitation-only beta testing, but Google intends eventually to roll it out to all researchers.
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Anti-HIV drug made by GM plants begins trials in humans

Anti-HIV drug made by GM plants begins trials in humans | Plant Science | Scoop.it
An antiviral drug synthesised by genetically modified plants is being tested on a small number of women in the UK to establish its safety, bringing closer the possibility of cheap modern medicines for the developing world.
The drug's developers hope it can be used to prevent HIV infection, but the real breakthrough is that the research demonstrates it is possible for similar molecules – known as monoclonal antibodies – to be produced relatively cheaply in plants to the high standards needed for their use in humans......
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The new measurement frontier - Citations and impact factors are old hat

The new measurement frontier - Citations and impact factors are old hat | Plant Science | Scoop.it
We write academic blogs; the backchannel of conferences is played out through Twitter; and reference managers such as Mendeley manage a library of close to 100 million papers for more than 1 million academics. All of this activity indicates impact. What is more, because it is on the web, we can observe and measure it.
Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
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