The Week in Botany 23

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Our weekly email The Week in Botany continues. Here’s the one we sent out on Monday, November 13, 2017. If you want to get this earlier, you can sign up for it here.

It’s been a busy week for me, though the good news from that is it’s because we have some interesting articles coming in from guest authors. Also, the new Plant Morphology special issue of Annals of Botany is out. This will be free access for three months. Julius Jeiter has produced some stunning images in his article on Geraniaceae nectaries.


From Botany One

Cress Kung-Fu
Cress seeds exude a nutrient for other plants into the soil, but is this a sneaky way of protecting the cress seedlings from competition?

Experiments versus real-world studies
How close are experiments to nature? The answer isn’t clean cut, partly because nature is messy.

Interactive effects of [CO2] and water availability on maritime pine
Evidence from this study indicates that elevated [CO2] not only can aggravate the effects of water deficit on photosynthetic performance and growth of maritime pine but also it can attenuate genotypic differences in drought tolerance as compared with those observed at current atmospheric [CO2].

What is the true language of plants?
Monica Gagliano et al’s “The Language of Plants” is an important book because of its subject matter. “The Language of Plants” deals with the problem that humans have in trying to understand the way plants communicate – i.e. the ‘language’ plants use and the messages they exchange, both with other plants and with non-plant entities (the so-called intrinsic language of plants (pp. xvii/xviii)).

Flower-level developmental plasticity and mating system in Datura
Reductions in herkogamy with flower positions may be expected in environments with either low pollinator abundance or low nutrients.


Call for Papers: Special issue on the Ecology and Evolution of Plant Reproduction

Botanists have long been fascinated by the extraordinary diversity in flowering plant reproductive patterns and have sought to understand theecological processes and genetic mechanisms influencing plant mating. Over the last five years, research progress in this discipline has rapidly accelerated. Important new insights in this field often combine elegant theoretical models with innovative field and laboratory experiments. Annals of Botany will release a Special Issue on the Ecology and Evolution of Plant Reproduction in January 2019, and it will highlight papers from 3 symposia at the XIX International Botanical Congress in Shenzhen, China. See the full call for papers for more information.


News and Links

Graduate Research Excellence Grants
SSE has expanded its awards program for graduate students. From 2010 to 2017, SSE offered one research award for early career students – the Rosemary Grant Award. Starting in 2018, SSE will offer a new award program, the Graduate Research Excellence Grants (GREG). This new program includes two tiers of awards: one for early PhD students and one for advanced PhD students. Society for the Study of Evolution

Six continents, five years: one big plant book
Plants of the World – An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Vascular Plants, the first to describe all 451 families of flowering plants, ferns, lycopods and gymnosperms, has been published. Kew Science

Ask Us Anything: are statistics in ecology papers becoming too difficult for students and readers to understand?
For undergraduate courses in which students are expected to read journal articles, are you finding it harder to find current papers that are relatively easy for an undergraduate to follow? The statistics in current papers are getting more complex. On the same theme: how many studies are being published these days in which the statistics are a black box to many of the authors? Dynamic Ecology

COP23 – Agriculture Advantage: The case for climate action in agriculture
“Agriculture Advantage: The case for climate action in agriculture” is an initiative and collaboration effort between different organizations with the same mission to transform agricultural development in the face of climate change. The event aims to articulate the different dimensions of climate actions in the agricultural sector. CGIAR

The Journey of a Wild Relative: Entering the Millennium Seed Bank
An impressive photo essay. Crop Wild Relatives

Rare victory for rainforests as nations vow to stop ‘death by chocolate’
Plans by the governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast drawn up after Guardian investigation revealed links between the cocoa industry and rainforest loss The Guardian

The disease that could change how we drink coffee
For years, researchers in Colombia have been engaged in a little-known battle against a disease that could disrupt coffee drinking everywhere. BBC

10 Innovations for Climate Action in Agriculture
Agriculture is at the intersection of three major challenges in the context of climate change, achieving food security, adapting to the impacts of climate change and reducing emissions. CGIAR

Pollination Gallery
Tips for capturing #bumblebee flight by @PollinatorCons
1. Very fast shutter speed 1/2000 since wings beat 500X per sec
2. Bee & flower in same focal plane
3. Hand held DSLR, 60 or 100mm #macro lens f9-11 Karron Lab

Seagrass Biodiversity Is Both A Goal And A Means For Restoration
Coral reefs, seagrass meadows and mangrove forests work together to make the Coral Triangle of Indonesia a hotspot for marine biodiversity. The system supports valuable fisheries and endangered species and helps protect shorelines. But it is in global decline due to threats from coastal development, destructive fishing practices and climate change. Scienmag


Call for papers: Developing sustainable bioenergy crops for future climates

Rapid progress has been made over the last five years with respect to emerging new genomic technologies for crop improvement and this Annals of Botany Special Issue will be devoted to highlighting the latest findings and considering the potential of these technologies for the future deployment of bioenergy crops in the face of climate change. At the same time, cutting-edge research that provides insights into the complex plant traits underpinning drought tolerance and response to other abiotic and biotic stresses is required for these relatively new crops. Knowledge in this area will be brought together in this Special Issue, and there will be a focus on recent advances in high throughput phenotyping to unravel these complex responses. See the full call for papers for more information.


Scientific Papers

Transcriptome dynamics revealed by a gene expression atlas of the early Arabidopsis embryo
This atlas provides the most comprehensive tissue- and cell-specific description of genome-wide gene activity in the early plant embryo, and serves as a valuable resource for understanding the genetic control of early plant development.Nature PLANTS

Mechanochemical Polarization of Contiguous Cell Walls Shapes Plant Pavement Cells
“If you are remotely interested in cell walls and mechanics, this is a MUST READ!” says @Kleine-Vehn Lab. Developmental Cell

Divergent leaf shapes among Passiflora species arise from a shared juvenile morphology
Leaf shape diversity among Passiflora species is expressed in a heteroblastic-dependent manner, unique to each species. Leaf shape is constrained by linear, allometric relationships related to leaf size that vary between species. There is a strong species × heteroblasty interaction effect for leaf shape, suggesting that different leaf shapes between species arise through changes in shape across nodes specific to each species. The first leaves in the series are not only more like each other, but are also less variable across species. Plant Direct

Facultative root-colonizing fungi dominate endophytic assemblages in roots of nonmycorrhizal Microthlaspi species
Our findings support that Microthlaspi spp. roots are colonized mostly by saprotrophic and likely facultative endophytes, and that differential niche preferences and distribution ranges among fungi importantly drive the assembly of root-endophytic communities. New Phytologist

Phylogenetics of Allopolyploids
We give an overview of recently developed methods to reconstruct phylogenies of taxa that include allopolyploids that have originated in relatively recent times — in other words, taxa for which at least some of the parental lineages of lower ploidy levels are not extinct and for which ploidy information is clearly shown by variation in chromosome counts. Annual Reviews

Genetic Components of Root Architecture Remodeling in Response to Salt Stress
Here, we describe the natural variation among 347 Arabidopsis thaliana accessions in root system architecture (RSA) and identify the traits with highest natural variation in their response to salt. Salt-induced changes in RSA were associated with 100 genetic loci using genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Two candidate loci associated with lateral root development were validated and further investigated. Plant Cell

Glyphosate Use and Cancer Incidence in the Agricultural Health Study
In this large, prospective cohort study, no association was apparent between glyphosate and any solid tumors or lymphoid malignancies overall, including NHL and its subtypes. There was some evidence of increased risk of AML among the highest exposed group that requires confirmation. Journal of the National Cancer Insititute

Laccaria bicolor MiSSP8 is a small-secreted protein decisive for the establishment of the ectomycorrhizal symbiosis
Mycorrhiza-induced Small Secreted Proteins (MiSSPs) are hypothesized as keystone symbiotic genes, required to set up the symbiosis by modifying the host metabolism and/or building the symbiotic interfaces. Since L. bicolor MiSSP8 is the third most highly induced MiSSPs in symbiotic tissues and it is expressed in fruiting bodies, we report its functional study by analysing phenotypes of L. bicolor MiSSP8-RNAi mutants and MiSSP8 in planta subcellular localization. bioRxiv

The effect of artificial selection on phenotypic plasticity in maize
Here we use data generated from the Genomes to Fields (G2F) Maize G × E project to assess the effect of selection on G × E variation and characterize polymorphisms associated with plasticity. Genomic regions putatively selected during modern temperate maize breeding explain less variability for yield G × E than unselected regions, indicating that improvement by breeding may have reduced G × E of modern temperate cultivars. Nature Communications

Light Controls Protein Localization through Phytochrome-Mediated Alternative Promoter Selection
Alternative promoter usage is a proteome-expanding mechanism that allows multiple pre-mRNAs to be transcribed from a single gene. The impact of this mechanism on the proteome and whether it is positively exploited in normal organismal responses remain unclear. We found that the plant photoreceptor phytochrome induces genome-wide changes in alternative promoter selection in Arabidopsis thaliana. Cell

Unlocking new alleles for leaf rust resistance in the Vavilov wheat collection
Thirteen potentially new leaf rust resistance loci were identified in a Vavilov wheat diversity panel. We demonstrated the potential of allele stacking to strengthen resistance against this important pathogen. Theoretical and Applied Genetics

And that’s everything for this week. We’ll be back next week. In the meantime you can follow us on social media @botanyone. Goodbye!


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