Imagine working on a jigsaw puzzle with so many pieces that even the edges seem indistinguishable from others at the puzzle’s centre. The solution seems nearly impossible. And, to make matters worse, this puzzle is in a futuristic setting where the pieces are not only numerous, but ever-changing. In fact, you not only must solve the puzzle, but parse out how each piece brings the picture wholly into focus.
Representing some of the most troublesome agricultural weeds, waterhemp, smooth pigweed, and Palmer amaranth impact crop production systems across the U.S. and elsewhere with ripple effects felt by economies worldwide. In a landmark study, scientists have published the most comprehensive genome information to date for all three species, marking a new era of scientific discovery toward potential solutions.
The evolution of novel features – traits such as wings or eyes – helps organisms make the most use of their environment and promotes increased diversification among species. Understanding the underlying genetic and developmental mechanisms involved in the origin of these traits is of great interest to evolutionary biologists.
All plants and animals respire, releasing energy from food. At the cellular level, this process occurs in the mitochondria. But there are differences at the molecular level between how plants and animals extract energy from food sources. Discovering those differences could help revolutionize agriculture.
A multidisciplinary, international team, has uncovered a new biochemical mechanism fundamental to plant life. Their research details the discovery of the enzymatic reaction involving carbohydrates present in plant cell walls, which are essential for their structure.
Researchers use a new method of in vivo biosensor technology. Almost all life on Earth, in particular our food and our health, depend on metabolism in plants. In order to understand how these metabolic processes function, researchers are studying key mechanisms in the regulation of energy metabolism.
After several years of experimentation, scientists have engineered thale cress, or Arabidopsis thaliana, to behave like a succulent, improving water-use efficiency, salinity tolerance and reducing the effects of drought. The tissue succulence engineering method devised for this small flowering plant can be used in other plants to improve drought and salinity tolerance with the goal of moving this approach into food and bioenergy crops.
As a plant grows, it moves cellular material from its version of manufacturing sites to the cell wall construction zone. Transporter proteins, called motor proteins, are thought to move these cell wall cargo via a complex highway system made up of microtubule tracks. The position of these tracks must be stabilized so that cargo are delivered to the correct locations.
Soya and clover have their very own fertiliser factories in their roots, where bacteria manufacture ammonium, which is crucial for plant growth. Although this has long been common knowledge, scientists have only recently described the mechanism in detail. With biotechnology, this knowledge could now help make agriculture more sustainable.
How do plants know when it is time to flower? Researchers have studied this question and identified two genes that are key to this process. They were able to show that the ELF3 and GI genes control the internal clock of the plants that monitors the length of daylight and determine when it is the right time to flower.