October 2011

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  • Chromosome pairing in Musa interspecific cultivars

    Chromosome pairing in Musa interspecific cultivars

    Most cooking and several desert bananas are interspecific triploid hybrids between Musa acuminata (A genome) and M. balbisiana (B genome). To investigate the possibility of chromosome exchanges between these two species, Jeridi et al. develop a genomic in situ hybridization protocol suitable for analysing meiosis metaphase I from Musa pollen mother cells. They demonstrate that chromosome […] More

  • Reticulate evolution and triploidy in Diphasiastrum

    Reticulate evolution and triploidy in Diphasiastrum

    Diphasiastrum species have been assumed to produce homoploid hybrids whose reproductive competence is still a matter of debate. Using flow cytometry, Bennert et al. demonstrate that the three Central European primary hybrids are consistently homoploid. Their nuclear DNA amounts are invariable and intermediate between the parents; no indications for diploid backcrossing are found. Higher DNA amounts […] More

  • Characterization of 3-D patterns of disease in cherry

    Characterization of 3-D patterns of disease in cherry

    Spatial patterns of plant disease provide important information about pathogen source, spread and reproduction. Using point pattern analysis, Everhart et al. generate detailed three-dimensional maps of different symptom types of brown rot (Monilinia laxa) in sour cherry tree (Prunus cerasus) canopies to characterize symptom aggregation and association. This mapping and analysis framework, which quantitatively supports […] More

  • Molecular control of legume nodulation

    Molecular control of legume nodulation (Botanical Briefing)

    Legume plants enter into symbiotic relationships with soil bacteria in order to obtain nitrogen to sustain plant growth. The nodulation associated with this is regulated in response to both internal developmental signals via the autoregulation of nodulation (AON) and by environmental signals, such as the availability of soil nitrogen. Reid et al. focus on the conservation […] More

  • US Bureau of American Ethnology, 1916.

    Facing the music

    Plants are daily subjected to myriad biotic and abiotic factors and have to respond appropriately to them or suffer the consequences. However, one factor they’ve probably not been subjected to for much of their evolutionary history is… music. Whether music should be considered abiotic or biotic is a moot point, but an investigation into how […] More

  • Chris McKenna/Wikimedia Commons.

    Latin is dead (Official!)

    It’s been a feature of botany that ever since the language of Ancient Rome became the lingua franca of the educated classes, descriptions of new plants were published in Latin. Sadly, new rules emanating from the august XVIII International Botanical Congress (held in Melbourne, Australia, in July 2011) will put paid to that tradition. The […] More

  • Ontogeny and responses to apical damage

    Ontogeny and responses to apical damage

    Plants can tolerate tissue loss through vigorous branching, often triggered by release from apical dominance and activation of lateral meristems. In the annual plant Medicago truncatula, Gruntman and Novoplansky show that damage-induced meristem activation is an adaptive response that can be modified according to the plant’s developmental stage, severity of tissue loss and their interaction. […] More

  • Progenitor–derivative speciation in orchids

    Progenitor–derivative speciation in orchids

    Sexually deceptive Ophrys orchids attract specific pollinators, and shifts in these pollinators may drive speciation with a progenitor–derivative pattern. Schlüter et al.  find evidence for such a scenario in an east-Mediterranean species complex. Genetic analyses suggest that O. leucadica may be a progenitor species from which local endemics on Rhodes have evolved. In particular, the narrowly […] More

  • The nature of ‘bracteoles’ in Atripliceae

    The nature of ‘bracteoles’ in Atripliceae

    The tribe Atripliceae (Chenopodiaceae) has been characterized by having perianthless female flowers surrounded by two accrescent bracts/bracteoles. Flores-Olvera et al conduct a floral ontogenetic study using LM and SEM for nine species of Atriplex, Chenopodium, Dysphania and Spinacia and show that all flowers develop a perianth. The so-called bracts/bracteoles are actually modified perianth members; moreover, a […] More

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