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Large and branched root systems can speed up growth of spruces

According to a study by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), strong growth rate of spruces can be due to the structure of their root system. A large and branched root system offers a major benefit when competing for water and nutrients, and it can boost the growth of fast-growing spruces when compared to slow-growing ones already from the early stages.


Drying without dying: how resurrection plants survive without water

Aquaphotomics sheds light on how plants control their water structure to survive.


How the humble marigold outsmarts a devastating tomato pest

Scientists have revealed for the first time the natural weapon used by marigolds to protect tomato plants against destructive whiteflies.


Decades of Tree Rings Extend Today's High-Tech Climate Stories

Satellite imagery, carbon dioxide measurements, and computer models all help scientists understand how climate and carbon dynamics are changing in the world’s forests. But the technology powering these high-tech data only stretches back about thirty years, limiting our picture of long-term change.


Living together: how legume roots accommodate two distinct microbial partners

A research team including University of Tsukuba identifies a gene that controls how legume roots form biological partnerships with two completely different types of microbe—bacteria and fungi—that both help supply nutrients


Research identifies mechanism that helps plants fight bacterial infection

A team led by a plant pathologist at the University of California, Riverside, has identified a regulatory, genetic mechanism in plants that could help fight bacterial infection.


How Capsella followed its lonely heart

The Brassicaceae plant family boasts a stunning diversity of fruit shapes. But even in this cosmopolitan company the heart-shaped seed pods of the Capsella genus stand out.


How fungi influence global plant colonisation

The symbiosis of plants and fungi has a great influence on the worldwide spread of plant species. In some cases, it even acts like a filter. This has been discovered by an international team of researchers with participation from the University of Göttingen. The results appeared in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.


Scientists discover that some plants are capable of ‘rubbing’ themselves in order to achieve self fertilization

A research team led by the University of Granada (UGR) has described a novel reproductive mechanism which actively promotes self‑pollination in certain plant species. They have called this mechanism ‘anther rubbing’.


Nitrogen-fixing trees “eat” rocks, play pivotal role in forest health

By tapping nutrients from bedrock, red alder trees play a key role in healthy forest ecosystems, according to a new study.


Plants' drought alert system has unlikely evolutionary origin: underwater algae

Plants’ water-to-land leap marks one of the most important milestones in the evolution of life on Earth. But how plants managed this transition when faced with unfamiliar challenges such as drought and bright light has been unclear.


With nanotubes, genetic engineering in plants is easy-peasy

Inserting or tweaking genes in plants is more art than science, but a new technique developed by University of California, Berkeley, scientists could make genetically engineering any type of plant—in particular, gene editing with CRISPR-Cas9—simple and quick.


New pathway that may help develop more resilient crop varieties

Researchers from the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, have discovered a new biochemical pathway in plants which they have named CHLORAD.


How plants learned to save water

Plants that can manage with less water could make agriculture more sustainable. This is why a research team at the University of Würzburg is investigating how plants control their water balance.


Complete world map of tree diversity: New statistical model eliminates blank spaces

The biodiversity of our planet is one of our most precious resources. However, for most places in the world, we only have a tiny picture of what this diversity actually is. Researchers at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have now succeeded in constructing, from scattered data, a world map of biodiversity showing numbers of tree species. With the new map, the researchers were able to infer what drives the global distribution of tree species richness. Climate plays a central role; however, the number of species that can be found in a specific region also depends on the spatial scale of the observation, the researchers report in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. The new approach could help to improve global conservation.


Researchers describe new tubular structures at plant-fungal interface

For hundreds of millions of years, plants and fungi have formed symbiotic relationships to trade crucial nutrients, such as phosphate and fatty acids. This relationship is extremely important to the growth and survival of both organisms, and solving the mystery of how they transfer molecules to each other could eventually help reduce the use of fertilizer in agriculture.


Scientists have discovered that grasses are able to short cut evolution by taking genes from their neighbours

The findings suggest wild grasses are naturally genetically modifying themselves to gain a competitive advantage.


Cell division in Plants: How cell walls are assembled

Plant researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU)_ are providing new insights into basic cell division in plants. The scientists have succeeded in understanding how processes are coordinated that are pivotal in properly separating daughter cells during cell division. In the renowned scientific publication "The EMBO Journal ", they describe the tasks of certain membrane building blocks and how plants are impacted when these building blocks are disrupted.


Genetic blueprint for extraordinary wood-munching fungus

A relatively unknown fungus, accidentally found growing on an Acacia tree in the Northern Cape, has emerged as a voracious wood-munching organism with enormous potential in industries based on renewable resources.


Plants can skip the middlemen to directly recognize disease-causing fungi

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne have revealed that direct physical associations between plant immune proteins and fungal molecules are widespread during attempted infection. The authors’ findings run counter to current thinking and may have important implications for engineering disease resistance in crop species.


World's biggest terrestrial carbon sinks are found in young forests

More than half of the carbon sink in the world’s forests is in areas where the trees are relatively young – under 140 years old – rather than in tropical rainforests, research at the University of Birmingham shows.


Surprise findings turn up the temperature on the study of vernalization

New evidence has emerged about the agriculturally important process of vernalization in a development that could help farmers deal with financially damaging weather fluctuations.


Diverse scents of woodland star wildflowers driven by coevolution with pollinators

Scientists find surprising diversity of floral scent compounds produced by different species of woodland stars and even by populations of the same species in different locations.


New Research Characterizes the Evolution of Genetic Pathway for Reproductive Fitness in Flowering Plants

Small RNAs (sRNAs) are key regulators involved in plant growth and development. Two groups of sRNAs are abundant during development of pollen in the anthers – a critical process for reproductive success. One of these pathways for sRNA production, previously believed present in grasses and related monocots, has now been demonstrated to be present widely in the flowering plants, evolved over 200 million years ago, and is arguably one of the evolutionary innovations that made them so successful.


A physical model for forming patterns in pollen

A building’s architectural plans map out what’s needed to keep it from falling down. But design is not just functional: often, it’s also beautiful, with lines and shapes that can amaze and inspire.


Trees remember heatwaves

An Aussie eucalypt can ‘remember’ past exposure to extreme heat, which makes the tree and its offspring better able to cope with future heatwaves, according to new research from Macquarie University.


How poppy flowers get those vibrant colours that entice insects

With bright reds and yellows – and even the occasional white – poppies are very bright and colourful. Their petals, however, are also very thin; they are made up of just three layers of cells. University of Groningen scientists Casper van der Kooi and Doekele Stavenga used microscopy and mathematical models describing how light interacts with petals to find out how the vibrant colours are created. The results will be included in a special edition of the Journal of Comparative Physiology A, which focuses on the relationship between insects and flowers.


Stress in plants points to surprising benefits

Stress is known as the “killer disease” and in humans it can lead to an increased risk of terminal issues such as heart attack or stroke. But now research conducted at UTSA and published in Plants indicates that stress in the plant kingdom is far less destructive to plants than it is to humans.


Tracking pollen with quantum dots

A pollination biologist from Stellenbosch University is using quantum dots to track the fate of individual pollen grains. This is breaking new ground in a field of research that has been hampered by the lack of a universal method to track pollen for over a century.


Underwater forests threatened by future climate change, new study finds

Researchers at the University of Sydney and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science have found that climate change could lead to declines of underwater kelp forests through impacts on their microbiome.