New research has shed light on when plants first evolved the ability to respond to changing humidity in the air around them, and was probably a feature of a common ancestor of both flowering plants and ferns.
Researchers have concluded that tree fecundity peaks or plateaus when trees reach adult size, and then begins to decline. The study examines 597 species from more than 500 sites in North America, South America, Asia, Europe and Africa. This work has led to the development of a calibrated model to accurately calculate long-term tree fecundity.
For the first time, researchers have, with the help of cryogenic electron microscopy, succeeded in producing a high-resolution image of photosystem II – the central complex of photosynthesis – of the model plant Arabidopsis. The enormous complex is responsible for the vital oxygen production in photosynthesis that once made life possible on our planet.
Triantha occidentalis makes its home in wetlands and bogs from Alaska to California and inland to Montana. In the summer, it shoots up tall flowering stems coated with sticky hairs that trap small insects like gnats and midges. The scientists discovered that the plant acquires more than half of its nitrogen by digesting these ensnared insects, a welcome treat in its nutrient-poor habitat.
What do frog eggs have in common with anti-aging creams? Their success depends on a group of chemical compounds called retinoids, which are capable of generating and re-generating tissues.
In order to feed a projected 9 billion people by 2050, farmers need to grow 50% more food on a limited amount of arable land. As a result, plant scientists are in a race against time to engineer crops with higher yields by improving photosynthesis. Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) are known to photosynthesize more efficiently than most crops, so researchers are working to put elements from cyanobacteria into crop plants.
Scientists have become the first in the world to find a way to observe how plant roots take in and circulate water at the cellular level, which could help to identify future drought- and flood-resistant crops.
Two new publications examining cassava flowering reveal insights into the genetic and environmental factors underpinning one of the world’s most critical food security crops.