A newly discovered way of optimising plant enzymes through bioengineering has increased knowledge of how plant material can be converted into biofuels, biochemicals and other high-value products.
A new study has uncovered intriguing insights into the evolution of plant biology, effectively rewriting the history of how they evolved over the past billion years.
An international group of scientists has issued an urgent call for coordinated action to save the iconic genus Rafflesia, which contains the world’s largest flowers. This follows a new study which found that most of the 42 species are severely threatened, yet just one of these is listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List of Threatened Species. Furthermore, over two thirds (67%) of the plants’ habitats are unprotected and at risk of destruction.
The Earth’s surface is covered by plants. They make up the majority of biomass on land and exhibit a wide range of diversity, from mosses to trees. This astounding biodiversity came into existence due to a fateful evolutionary event that happened just once: plant terrestrialization. This describes the point where one group of algae, whose modern descendants can still be studied in the lab, evolved into plants and invaded land around the world. An international group of researchers generated large scale gene expression data to investigate the molecular networks that operate in one of the closest algal relatives of land plants, a humble single-celled alga called Mesotaenium endlicherianum.
Pollen of flowering plants can be dispersed by animals, wind or even by water. In assessing pollination modes, a fundamental question is how many flowering plants are pollinated by animals. Although the question has been raised previously, an accurate estimation remains elusive.
A new study demonstrates that one of the two branches of plant immunity was likely to have evolved early during the establishment of plants on dry land. This insight into prehistoric plant immunity may have implications for breeding more resistant plant species.
The global demand for rice is projected to rise significantly by 2050, necessitating sustainable intensification of existing croplands. Now, researchers have made significant progress by developing deep-learning algorithms that can rapidly estimate rice yield through the analysis of thousands of photographs. The model exhibited high precision across diverse conditions and cultivars, surpassing previous methods, while effectively detecting yield differences between cultivars and also with different water management practices.
As climate change continues to pose severe challenges to ensuring sustainable food supplies around the world, scientists are looking for ways to improve the resilience and nutritional quality of potatoes. The team have created a potato super pangenome to identify genetic traits that can help produce the next super spud.
A recent study shows that a single mutation that has immediate effects on plant fitness is maintained over the long term in natural plant populations, despite theories predict the contrary. The researchers located and identified the gene that regulates the amount of an active defense hormone. Mutants in this gene are susceptible to herbivore attack. However, they compensate for impaired defenses through robust genetic networks. When fewer herbivores attack, they even grow faster and produce more offspring.