The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science has selected Brookhaven National Laboratory to lead a new research effort focused on potential threats to crops grown for bioenergy production. Understanding how such bioenergy crops could be harmed by known or new pests or pathogens could help speed the development of rapid responses to mitigate damage and longer-term strategies for preventing such harm.
Tag: Plant Biology
Weedy rice has become herbicide resistant through rapid evolution
Biologists used whole-genome sequences of 48 contemporary weedy rice plants to show how herbicide resistance evolved by gene flow from crop rice. Almost all other cases of herbicide resistance in agricultural weeds result from selection of tolerant genotypes in the weed species.
Multi-scale research uncovers microbes that affect sorghum drought response
By bridging experiments in the lab and field, Danforth Center scientists and their collaborators identified microbes that influence sorghum development during drought.
WashU Expert: New insights on melon use, origins on National Watermelon Day
The oldest known seeds from a watermelon relative, dating back 6,000 years to the Neolithic period, were found during an archaeological dig in Libya. An investigation of these seeds led by biologist Susanne S. Renner at Washington University in St. Louis reveals…
Study points to Armenian origins of ancient crop with aviation biofuel potential
Camelina, also known as false flax or Gold-of-Pleasure, is an ancient oilseed crop with emerging applications in the production of sustainable, low-input biofuels. Multidisciplinary research from Washington University in St. Louis is revealing the origins and uses of camelina and may help guide decisions critical to achieving its potential as a biofuel feedstock for a greener aviation industry in the future.
The space between us
Tree beta diversity — a measure of site-to-site variation in the composition of species present within a given area — matters more for ecosystem functioning than other components of biodiversity at larger scales. The finding has implications for conservation planning.
Pushy plants? Student discovery ‘adds new dimension to plant biology’
The tall elephant’s foot — low growing from a center arrangement of leaves, known as a rosette — have greater leverage to push, according to the study. Findings may also apply to other low-hovering plants, such as aloe or agave.
Evolution in Chicago’s clover: DePaul University researchers help chart global human impact on nature
Jalene LaMontagne, associate professor of ecology, and Windsor Aguirre, associate professor of evolutionary biology, are among hundreds of researchers who collected clover in 160 cities all over the world. The research, published this week in the journal “Science,” offers insight into how urbanization is transforming the genetic properties of plants and animals around us.
Research Finds Key Advances Towards Reducing the Cost of Plant Improvement
These findings, An siRNA-guided ARGONAUTE protein directs RNA Polymerase V to initiate DNA methylation, were recently published in the scientific journal Nature Plants.
Danforth Center and Salk plant researchers launch collaboration to breed carbon-capturing sorghum
Researchers at the Salk Institute’s Harnessing Plants Initiative have established a five-year, $6.2 million collaboration with Dr. Nadia Shakoor and her team at the Danforth Center to identify and develop sorghum plants that can better capture and store atmospheric carbon.
Danforth Center Announces New Principal Investigator
Tessa Burch-Smith, PhD, has joined the Danforth Center as Associate Member and Principal Investigator. Her research is focused on how plant cells communicate with each other through intercellular pores called plasmodesmata.
NSF Taps Danforth Center to Lead New Institute to Advance the Restoration of Natural and Agricultural Ecosystems
The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center today announced a $12.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish the New Roots for Restoration Biology Integration Institute (NRR-BII).
Depth of perception
Minuscule tunnels through the cell membrane help cells to perceive and respond to mechanical forces, such as pressure or touch. Using tip-growing cells in moss and pollen tubes of flowering plants, a new study is among the first to directly investigate what one type of these mechanosensitive ion channels — PIEZO channels — is doing in plant cells, and how.
Take a Look Inside the Danforth Center’s X-Ray CT Facility
Did you know our x-ray computer tomography (x-ray CT) facility is one of the only X-ray imaging facilities in North America that is solely devoted to studying plant biology?
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
: Plants synthesize thousands of metabolites that help them adapt to their environments. Mass spectrometry can detect and measure metabolites in a sample, but this is difficult with complex samples. One solution is to add labeled chemicals to a sample. This research developed an easy-to-use computational tool that locates labeled chemicals, simplifying analysis.
Nanoscale sensors measure elusive water levels in leaves
A breakthrough technology uses nanoscale sensors and fiber optics to measure water status just inside a leaf’s surface, providing a tool to greatly advance our understanding of basic plant biology, and opening the door for breeding more drought-resistant crops.
We’ve Got the Dirt on Soil Protists
The diverse collection of microbes known as protists are understudied, but their impact on ecosystems and agriculture could be huge.
Coastal lupine faces specific extinction threat from climate change
Climate change is altering the world we share with all living things. But it’s surprisingly difficult to single out climate change as an extinction threat for any one particular species protected under the Endangered Species Act. To date, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has only formally considered impacts from climate change in listing actions for four animal species and one alpine tree.
Here’s How Insects Coax Plants into Making Galls
Scientists have identified proteins in aphid saliva that can alter plant development. These proteins drive abnormal growths called galls, which give insects a protected place to feed and reproduce.
Worm-like, soil-swimming robots to explore crop underworld
A Cornell University project will develop worm-like, soil-swimming robots to sense and record soil properties, water, the soil microbiome and how roots grow.
Researchers Reveal Switch Used in Plant Defense Against Animal Attack
Researchers have identified the first key biological switch that sounds an alarm in plants when plant-eating animals attack. The mechanism will help unlock a trove of new strategies for improved plant health, from countering crop pest damage to engineering more robust global food webs.
Optimizing Plant Defense against Pathogens
Plants have sophisticated defense mechanisms that activate specific genes in response to specific pathogens. Scientists investigated the tradeoffs in plant defenses against two pathogens. They identified a protein in Arabidopsis plants that regulates genes involved in pathogen response to target defenses.
Plants without cellular recycling systems get creative in the dark
Deprived of sunlight, plants are unable to transform carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into sugars. They are essentially starved of one of their most important building blocks. New research with maize shows that plants that lack the core components for autophagy have to get creative about recycling nutrients like carbon when they’re left in the dark.
E. coli bacteria offer path to improving photosynthesis
Cornell University scientists have engineered a key plant enzyme and introduced it in Escherichia coli bacteria in order to create an optimal experimental environment for studying how to speed up photosynthesis, a holy grail for improving crop yields.
NSF supports project to demystify communication in plants
The National Science Foundation recently awarded Margaret Frank, assistant professor of plant biology at Cornell University, a $1.3 million Faculty Early Career Development Program grant for her study of mRNA communication in plants.
Colleen Iversen on Belowground Ecology
After working on a climate change experiment that showed plants adapt to additional carbon dioxide by putting extra carbon into their roots, Colleen Iverson has been on a mission to understand the role of roots in the environment, especially the tundra.
Breathing New Life into an Old Question: What Plants’ Emissions Tell Us about their Cell Walls
Plants emit gases like methanol and acetic acid that are not directly related to photosynthesis but that have an unknown origin. Researchers have found a possible source: natural chemical modification in the cellulose in plant cell walls and accompanying metabolic changes.
New Biosensor Visualizes Stress in Living Plant Cells in Real Time
Plant biologists have developed a nanosensor that monitors mechanisms related to stress and drought. The new biosensor allows researchers to analyze changes in real time involving specific kinases, which are known to be activated in response to drought conditions.
Jonathan Schilling: Then and Now
Jonathan Schilling is a professor in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology at the University of Minnesota. He is also the director of the Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories in northern Minnesota.
Plant biologist to use NSF grant for maize development study
Cornell University plant biologist Michael Scanlon received a $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation Plant Genome Research Program to continue his research on the process of shoot development in maize.
How to Boost Plant Biomass: NYU Biologists Uncover Molecular Link Between Nutrient Availability and Plant Growth Rates
In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), plant genomic scientists at New York University’s Center for Genomics & Systems Biology discovered the missing piece in the molecular link between a plant’s perception of the nitrogen dose in its environment and the dose-responsive changes in its biomass.
Danforth Center Principal Investigator Elected to the National Academy of Sciences
The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center announced that Elizabeth (Toby) Kellogg, Ph.D., Robert E. King Distinguished Investigator and member of the Danforth Center, was elected as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in recognition of her distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
NMU Launches Indoor Agriculture Program
Northern Michigan University will begin offering an indoor agriculture associate degree program this fall. Through a hands-on, multidisciplinary approach, graduates learn equally about plant biology and the construction/maintenance of indoor growing systems, preparing them for a variety of career opportunities.
Biologists Capture Fleeting Interactions Between Regulatory Proteins and Their Genome-wide Targets
New York University biologists captured highly transient interactions between transcription factors—proteins that control gene expression—and target genes in the genome and showed that these typically missed interactions have important practical implications. In a new study published in Nature Communications, the researchers developed a method to capture transient interactions of NLP7, a master transcription factor involved in nitrogen use in plants, revealing that the majority of a plant’s response to nitrogen is controlled by these short-lived regulatory interactions.