The popularity of tomatoes has led to the development of more than 10,000 cultivars of various sizes, shapes, and hues. Interestingly though, there is little genetic diversity among modern tomato varieties. This lack of diversity, coupled with the fact that many traits are controlled by multiple genes, makes improving plant yield and quality a major challenge for tomato breeders. A research team shows that modern gene editing techniques can help tomato breeders introduce diversity and improve the nutrition and environmental impact of tomato crops.
A deadly wheat disease common to Asia and South America has been identified in Africa for the first time, raising fears of potential spread to wheat crops across the continent. Researchers say that the fast-acting and devastating fungal disease known as wheat blast was first spotted in Africa in the Zambian rainfed wheat production system in the 2017-2018 crop cycle.
Climate change is a major global crisis. Despite international agreements to fight climate change, greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase and global temperatures continue to rise. The potential effects on our lives are drastic: recent wildfires in the US and Australia, floods due to heavier precipitation, and heavy losses of crops are all indicative of this. But simply reducing the production of greenhouse gases, although crucial, is not enough. The CO2that we’ve released, and are continuing to release into the atmosphere, remains there indefinitely. Climate change will thus continue to worsen unless atmospheric carbon is removed. Therefore, finding cutting-edge solutions for the active removal of greenhouse gases is crucial.
Scientists around the world have been working to grow arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi without their host plants because they can be used as organic fertilizer in agriculture and forestry. AM fungi help plants receive nutrients from the soil through a network that is efficient and far more reaching than their own roots can provide. Now researchers have successfully demonstrated that AM fungi can be grown asymbiotically when given myristate as a carbon and energy source.
Plants can be infected by multiple viruses at once. However, the composition of the pathogen community varies, even if individuals belong to the same species and the same population. Ecologists have now shown that these differences are primarily due to genetic variation among the hosts. The loss of genetic diversity could thus render species more vulnerable to infections and extinction.
The biological clock of a popular food crop controls close to three-quarters of its genes, according to a new research. The study can help researchers target genes to improve growth and stress resilience when a plant is moved to a new region or encounters changing climate conditions.
To develop a successful parasitic relationship, parasitic plants form a specialized structure, the haustorium which attaches to and invades the host plant. The formation of haustoria is regulated by signal molecules derived from the host plant and allows the parasitic plant to absorb water, nutrients, and small materials from the host plant. Now, researchers find that the plant hormone ethylene mediates the invasion of hosts by parasitic plants
The dynamic change in root growth of plants plays an important role in their adjustment to soil conditions. Depending on the location, nutrients or moisture can be found in higher or lower soil layers. This is why, depending on the situation, a short or a long root is advantageous.
The enzyme Rubisco catalyzes the assimilation of CO2 from the atmosphere into organic matter. This is the central step in photosynthesis that generates sugar molecules for the production of essentially all biomass. Despite its pivotal role, Rubisco works relatively slowly and is easily inhibited by sugar products. By improving the function of Rubisco researchers hope to be able to boost the process of photosynthesis. The goal is to address the growing global demand for food and reduce the current greenhouse gas-induced climate change.
Known degradation pathways are not involved in chloroplast turnover but are required for damage and starvation responses. Plant cells use an unknown mechanism to mark damaged chloroplasts for destruction, biologists have discovered.