"We observed that the amount of disease present on a host can be dependent on where that host lies on the tree of life--that is, the evolutionary history of a host can predict how susceptible that host is to disease," explained Michael Bradshaw, a plant pathologist involved with the study.
A global observation of an ongoing atmospheric drying -- known by scientists as a rise in vapor pressure deficit -- has been observed worldwide since the early 2000s. In recent years, this concerning phenomenon has been on the rise, and is predicted to amplify even more in the coming decades as climate change intensifies.
Spectacular fossil plants preserved within a volcanic ash fall in China have shed light on an evolutionary race 300 million years ago, which was eventually won by the seed-bearing plants that dominate so much of the Earth today.
It's no secret that the United States' $13 billion cannabis industry is big business. Less obvious to many is the environmental toll this booming business is taking, in the form of greenhouse gas emissions from commercial, mostly indoor production. A new study by Colorado State University researchers provides the most detailed accounting to date of the industry's carbon footprint, a sum around which there is only limited understanding.
The University of Queensland has developed a sophisticated plant genomic model, as part of a project to help conserve the critically endangered Macadamia jansenii. Discovered in 1982 by a Central Queensland farmer Ray Jansen, there are only Macadamia jansenii 100 trees in existence. The Australian bushfires nearly wiped out the entire population in 2019. Genomic mapping of the species will help in conservation efforts.
Could cactus pear become a major crop like soybeans and corn in the near future, and help provide a biofuel source, as well as a sustainable food and forage crop? According to a recently published study, researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno believe the plant, with its high heat tolerance and low water use, may be able to provide fuel and food in places that previously haven't been able to grow sustainable crops.
Many species might be left vulnerable in the face of climate change, unable to adapt their physiologies to respond to rapid global warming. According to a team of international researchers, species evolve heat tolerance more slowly than cold tolerance, and the level of heat they can adapt to has limits.
Over 2 billion people worldwide are malnourished due to zinc deficiency. Led by the University of Copenhagen, an international team of researchers has discovered how plants sense zinc and use this knowledge to enhance plant zinc uptake, leading to an increase in seed zinc content by 50 percent. The new knowledge might one day be applied towards the cultivation of more nutritious crops.
New research reveals an essential step in scientists' quest to create targeted, RNA-based, more eco-friendly fungicides that protect food crops.
Researchers at CSHL used CRISPR, a genome-editing tool, to figure out the hidden roles of a developmental gene called WOX9. It usually induces flower branching in tomatoes and influences embryo growth in a plant related to broccoli. By tweaking the DNA in the gene's nearby promoter region, the researchers found WOX9 could induce flower branching in other species. These types of genetic manipulations provide new opportunities to improve crop traits while eliminating unwanted side effects.