Unless it happens to be allergy season, most people don’t give a lot of thought to pollen. But new research might change the way we look at a field of flowers. A study suggests that pollen color can evolve independently from flower traits, and that plant species maintain both light and dark pollen because each offers distinct survival advantages.
Over the course of forest succession, both components of plant residues and the structure of soil microbial communities play important roles in affecting soil aggregates, and thus the sequestration and stability of soil organic carbon. However, up till now there is still a lack of holistic understanding of the interactions among root turnover, microbial community composition, chemical composition of plant residues and different sized soil aggregates.
A team of researchers has conducted an economic impact study for the olive industry in Europe’s three primary olive-producing countries in light of the arrival of Xylella fastidiosa, a deadly olive tree pathogen. In their paper the group describes their study of the losses the industry is facing if drastic measures are not taken.
Many genetic and breeding studies have shown that point mutations and indels (insertions and deletions) can alter elite traits in crop plants. Although nuclease-initiated homology-directed repair (HDR) can generate such changes, it is limited by its low efficiency. Base editors are robust tools for creating base transitions, but not transversions, insertions or deletions. Thus, there is a pressing need for new genome engineering approaches in plants.
A new computer application (app) could speed the search for genes that underpin important crop traits, like high yield, seed quality and resistance to pests, disease or adverse environmental conditions.
The researchers found that farms with diverse crops planted together provide more secure, stable habitats for wildlife and are more resilient to climate change than the single-crop standard that dominates today’s agriculture industry.
Few technologies have made as big a splash in recent years as CRISPR/Cas9, and rightfully so. CRISPR/Cas9, or clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and associated genes, is a bacterial gene editing toolbox that allows researchers to edit genomic sequences much more precisely and efficiently than previously possible, opening up doors to new ways of doing research. As with many new biotechnologies, the application of CRISPR in biology began with genetic model organisms such as Arabidopsis thaliana. In recent research authors review the prospects for expanding the use of CRISPR for research beyond genetic model plant species.
Plants can’t self-isolate during a disease outbreak, but they can get help from a friend — beneficial soil microbes help plants ward off a wide range of diseases. Now, scientists have uncovered a major part of the process in which beneficial fungi help corn plants defend against pathogens.
For plants, sunlight can be a double-edged sword. They need it to drive photosynthesis, the process that allows them to store solar energy as sugar molecules, but too much sun can dehydrate and damage their leaves. A primary strategy that plants use to protect themselves from this kind of photodamage is to dissipate the extra light as heat. However, there has been much debate over the past several decades over how plants actually achieve this.
Cyanobacteria – colloquially also called blue-green algae – can produce oil from water and carbon dioxide with the help of light. This is shown by a recent study. The result is unexpected: Until now, it was believed that this ability was reserved for plants. It is possible that blue-green algae will now also become interesting as suppliers of feed or fuel, especially since they do not require arable land.