New research led by University of Pennsylvania biologists and published this week in the journal Nature Genetics has identified small sequences in plant DNA that act as signposts for shutting off gene activity, directing the placement of proteins that silence gene expression.
The study was based on observations that the more successful crops in areas typically affected by drought are usually protected by a thicker layer of leaf wax than other plants.
In The Plant Cell, UMass Amherst molecular biologist Elizabeth Vierling reports that heat-stressed plants not only need to produce new proteins to survive the stress, they need to make them right away. 'We found that a delay of even six hours of new protein translation will inhibit optimal growth and reproduction. The plants might not outright die, but they are severely impaired without the rapid synthesis of these new proteins.'
The study analyzed multiple species of Inga, a genus of tropical trees that produces defensive chemicals, and their various insect herbivores. The researchers found that closely-related plants evolved very different defensive traits. Additionally, their analysis revealed that herbivores may drive evolution of plant defenses, but may not show coevolutionary adaptations. Instead, they may 'chase' plants based on the herbivore's own traits at the time they encounter a new host.
A new University of Utah-led study shows that targeted forest regeneration among the largest and closest forest fragments in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania and the Atlantic Forest of Brazil can dramatically reduce extinction rates of bird species over time.
Nectar, the high-energy 'honey' produced by flowers, might be a brilliant distraction technique to help protect a flower's reproductive parts, according to new research. Rather than merely providing a 'come-on' to bees and other insects to attract them to pollinate the flower, nectar could be playing a much more subtle and entrancing role.
A new paper by scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew reveals the opportunities for portable, real-time DNA sequencing in plant identification and naming. Using a handheld DNA sequencing device they conducted the first genomic plant sequencing in the field at a fraction of the speed of traditional methods, offering exciting possibilities to conservationists and scientists the world over.
Climate change and habitat conversion to agriculture are working together to homogenize nature, indicates a study in the journal Global Change Biology led by the University of California, Davis. In other words, the more things change, the more they are the same.
Managing Western Flower Thrips (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on Lettuce and Green Peach Aphid and Cabbage Aphid (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on Broccoli with Chemical Insecticides and the Entomopathogenic Fungus Beauveria bassiana (Hypocreales: Clavicipitaceae).
Farmers can grow big, juicy tomatoes thanks to a mutation in the Cell Size Regulator gene that occurred during the tomato domestication process. Esther van der Knaap of the University of Georgia, Athens and colleagues describe this gene variant in a study published in open-access journal PLOS Genetics on Aug. 17, 2017.