Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Plant Biology

Journal Club: Virus-infected plants create buzz among bees

A bout of a viral infection can leave tomato plants stunted and their leaves sickly. But it might offer a surprising reproductive boost: infected plants release a different smell than healthy ones, and that unique aroma can draw more bees … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Ancient Chinese may have cultivated grass seeds 30,000 years ago

Typically, archaeological research into the origins of agriculture has focused on western Asia, in areas such as the Fertile Crescent (the present-day Middle East). Now scientists report that intentional collection of grass seeds may be traced back about 30,000 years … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Why do trees fix nitrogen in certain forests and not others? Model offers insights with big implications for the biosphere

Many trees can generate their own fertilizer from nitrogen in the air. But it remains a mystery as to why they grow where they do – for example, few grow in the nitrogen-poor soils of temperate forests but many thrive … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Cultivated sweet potatoes were genetically modified — naturally 

The first genetically modified foods were not human creations. Scientists have now found that sweet potatoes all over the world naturally contain bacterial genes that the microbes introduced. Such transgenes may have provided attractive traits for domestication, researchers added. The … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Genetic detective work suggests a crucial role for Maya in papaya domestication

Papaya is a multimillion-dollar crop with a complicated sex life. Now plant geneticist Ray Ming at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his colleagues find that hermaphrodite papayas, the version most useful to farmers, most likely arose due to … Continue reading

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New signaling system discovered in plants

When you step on a plant, douse it with salt water, or pluck its leaves off, it doesn’t look like the plant responds, as it stands immobilized by its roots in the ground. But plants are in-tune to their environment … Continue reading

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Helping crops deal with drought

Farming has long focused on chemicals that can fight insects or kill weeds. Now scientists have discovered a molecule that could help crops deal with droughts, report findings appearing online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of … Continue reading

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Ideas germinate for seed collector

[slideshow_deploy id=’857′]   Artist Svjetlana Tepavcevic is a portraitist of seeds. When she finds a seed she doesn’t recognize she appreciates it for a while on its own, visual terms, before attaching it’s scientific name and history. Often this information … Continue reading

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Harvard Research Forest–Fertile soil for scientists and artists

[slideshow_deploy id=’673′]   The Harvard Research Forest might not seem like the most obvious or attractive location for creating nature photography. The trees are wrapped in cables, shrubs enclosed in plastic, and unsightly pipes run from here to there. The forest, … Continue reading

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No foiling these plants: growing aluminum-resistant maize

The cerrado, a sprawling savannah that stretches across central and southern Brazil, was dismissed as worthless land for most of human history. As is also the case in other tropical areas, the acidic soils contain a form of aluminum that’s … Continue reading

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