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Blue gene regulation helps plants respond properly to light

Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) have discovered a process through which gene expression in plants is regulated by light. Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, the study found that blue light triggers a shift in which portion of a gene is ultimately expressed.


360 degrees, 180 seconds: Technique speeds analysis of crop traits

A potted nine-leaf corn plant sits on a Frisbee-sized plate. The tandem begins rotating like the centerpiece atop a giant music box, three degrees per second, and after two minutes the plant has pirouetted to its original position.


Life in the fast lane: Ecologist says dispersal ability linked to plants' life cycles

Though mostly rooted in the ground, plants have a number of innovative ways to disperse their seeds and get on with the business of propagation. They drop seeds or release them to the wind. Or they fling seeds with a dramatic mechanical detonation. Or they rely on seed transport by water or hitching a ride on a traveling animal (including humans).


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Rewiring plant defence genes to reduce crop waste

Plants can be genetically rewired to resist the devastating effects of disease - significantly reducing crop waste worldwide - according to new research into synthetic biology by the University of Warwick.


Devastating plant virus is revealed in atomic detail

The complex 3D structure of one of the world's most lethal families of plant viruses has been revealed in unprecedented detail by scientists at the UK's University of Leeds.


Critical plant gene takes unexpected detour that could boost biofuel yields

For decades, biologists have believed a key enzyme in plants had one function--produce amino acids, which are vital to plant survival and also essential to human diets.


New type of photosynthesis discovered

The discovery changes our understanding of the basic mechanism of photosynthesis and should rewrite the textbooks.


Agricultural intensification not a 'blueprint' for sustainable development

New research suggests that the combined social and ecological results of increased agricultural intensification in low and middle-income countries are not as positive as expected.


High-protein corn also resistant to parasitic weed

The world produces more corn by weight than any other cereal crop. Corn, also known as maize, is a staple food in many countries. But farmers growing corn face many challenges, such as drought, diseases, and pests.


Plants open their pores and scientists strike gold

Plants containing the element gold are already widely known. The flowering perennial plant alfafa, for example, has been cultivated by scientists to contain pure gold in its plant tissue. Now researchers from the Sun Yat-sen University in China have identified and investigated the characteristics of gold nanoparticles in two plant species growing in their natural environments. The study, led by Xiaoen Luo, is published in Springer's journal Environmental Chemistry Letters and has implications for the way gold nanoparticles are produced and absorbed from the environment.


New map shows many old-growth forests remain In Europe

Though you might read about deep, dark woods in fairy tales, the prevailing story today is that very little European old-growth forest remains. But now a new study--and map--shows that a surprising number of these primary forests still stand.


Network biology reveals pathogen targets in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana

How are proteins in the cells of a flowering plant similar to social networks on Twitter or Facebook? And how might both of those be related to the way pathogens make plants or people sick?


Warmer climate will dramatically increase the volatility of global corn crops

Corn, or maize, is the most widely grown crop in the world. Used in food, cooking oil, industrialized foods, livestock feed and even automobile fuel, the crop is one that both rich and poor people rely upon.


New technology has bright prospects for understanding plant biodiversity

Biologists get a new look at plant biodiversity and function with new imaging technology developed at the University of Alberta.


Predicted environmental changes could significantly reduce global production of vegetables

The study, led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), is the first systematically to examine the extent to which projected changes such as increases in temperature and reduced water availability could affect the production and nutritional quality of common crops such as tomatoes, leafy vegetables and pulses.


RNA changes aided sunflower's rapid evolutionary transformation and domestication

A new University of Colorado Boulder-led study sheds light on the genetic mechanisms that allowed sunflowers to undergo a relatively rapid evolutionary transition from wild to domesticated in just over 5,000 years.


In Frontiers in Plant Science: New insight into why Pierce's disease is so deadly to grapevines

Scientists are gaining a better understanding of Pierce's disease and how it affects grapevines. The disease, which annually costs California more than $100 million, comes from a bacterium called Xylella fastidiosa. While the bacterium has been present in the state for more than 100 years, Pierce's disease became a more serious threat to agriculture with the arrival of the glassy-winged sharpshooter insect, which can carry the bacterium from plant to plant.


Populations of widely spread tree species respond differently to climate change

A new Portland State University study shows that not all populations of a single, widely spread tree species respond the same to climate change, something scientists will need to consider when making climate change projections.


Pollution hits the fungi that nourish European trees

Pollution is changing the fungi that provide mineral nutrients to tree roots, which could explain malnutrition trends in Europe's trees.


Pheromone power -- Bringing 'SexyPlant' back to defy crop pests

The project will use a biological method for manufacturing pheromones, which provide a safe and sustainable alternative to harmful pesticides, reducing the environmental impact of agriculture.


Engineered cotton uses weed-suppression chemical as nutrient

A newly developed fertilizer system will provide nutrition to engineered cotton crops worldwide and a deadly dose to weeds that are increasingly herbicide resistant, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Research study.


Newly discovered regulation process explains plant development

Vascular tissue in plants distributes water and nutrients, thereby ensuring constant growth. Each newly developed cell needs to develop into its respective cell type in the vascular tissue. A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now discovered how these cells know which cell type they should develop into.


Biosecurity reduces invasions of plant pathogens over a national border

A new study appearing in PLOS Biology examines more than a century of fungal pathogens, finding well-aimed biosecurity measures cut the spread of unwanted fungi into a nation, even in the face of increased globalized trade.


Antioxidants slow down senescence in plants

Ageing is a complex process involving lots of different mechanisms. One of the main processes on which ageing is based is the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are molecules formed as a result of a sequential one-electron reduction of oxygen. They are extremely chemically active and oxidize many compounds inside the cells. This leads to malfunctions in cellular molecular mechanisms and eventually to cell death.


Mother knows best -- how plants help offspring by passing on seasonal clues

New research carried out by the John Innes Centre has delved into the genetic memory systems through which plants pass seasonal information down to their seeds to give them the best chance of reproductive success.


Scientists boost crop production by 47 percent by speeding up photorespiration

Plants such as soybeans and wheat waste between 20 and 50 percent of their energy recycling toxic chemicals created when the enzyme Rubisco--the most prevalent enzyme in the world--grabs oxygen molecules instead of carbon dioxide molecules. Increasing production of a common, naturally occurring protein in plant leaves could boost the yields of major food crops by almost 50 percent, according to a new study led by scientists at the University of Essex published in Plant Biotechnology Journal.


Camouflaged plants use the same tricks as animals

Plants use many of the same methods as animals to camouflage themselves, a new study shows.


Tree species vital to restoring disturbed tropical forests

A family of trees with high drought tolerance could be crucial in restoring the world's deforested and degraded tropical lands, according to new research involving the University of Stirling.


Breeding better Brazilian rice

Outside Asia, no other country produces as much rice as does Brazil. It is the ninth largest rice producer in the world. Average annual yields are close to 15 million tons.