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.
The wild relatives of modern peanut plants have the ability to withstand disease in ways that peanut plants can’t. The genetic diversity of these wild relatives means that they can shrug off the diseases that kill farmers’ peanut crops, but they also produce tiny nuts that are difficult to harvest because they burrow deep in the soil.
A team led by scientists at the University of Washington and the University of California, San Diego has discovered that cowpeas — a type of bean plant — harbor receptors on the surface of their cells that can detect a compound in caterpillar saliva and initiate anti-herbivore defenses.
Biologist Zhen Wang’s team recently published a pair of papers detailing characteristics of cardiac glycosides in two foxglove species. “This kind of study is important because we first have to know the accurate structure of natural compounds before we can explore their medicinal effects,” she says.