Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Plant Biology

Unlocking a mystery of seed development promises fatter, oilier oilseeds

The canola cooking oil lining supermarket shelves comes from the seeds of Brassica napus, a weedy-looking plant in the mustard family. Farmers of this crop understandably want varieties that yield big, oily seeds. A recent study in The Plant Cell … Continue reading

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Nitrogen-fixing bacteria talk to soybean roots via tiny RNAs, suggesting new avenue to improve yields

In order for soybean plants to get their necessary dose of nitrogen, they partner with bacteria called rhizobia, which can convert atmospheric nitrogen into organic forms the plant can use. But scientists don’t have the full picture of what facilitates … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Understanding how a plant makes a hook could someday improve crops

This spring, as the first shoots of new plants emerge from the soil, many are bent over in a hook. This simple act protects the fragile stem tip and leaves as the sprout pokes up through the dirt. But how … Continue reading

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Journal club: A simple model to help identify which species might become invasive

Invasive species are a major driver of global biodiversity loss. Now researchers have developed a simple model that can quickly predict which species are likely to become established outside their native environment. The team recently reported in the Proceedings of … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Plants load extracellular vesicles with a new class of RNAs

A recent study in The Plant Cell found that plants release extracellular vesicles carrying a new class of RNA molecules, named “tiny RNAs.” The findings are among the first to reveal the contents of these vesicles, and may hint at … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Single gene mutation may boost recombination and help produce better crops

As climate change and population growth threaten to destabilize global food security, plant breeders are ramping up efforts to create better, more productive crops. But in order to introduce new traits, breeding techniques typically rely on rare genetic recombination events … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Wheat’s molecular response to full sun exposure could suggest ways to increase yield

A recent study points to novel ways of improving crop yields and food production by elucidating how long it takes for wheat to return to full photosynthesis when making the transition from shade to sun exposure. The Green Revolution in … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Insights from 3-D images defy assumptions about how plant cells communicate

When plant cells communicate, plasmodesmata serve as crucial conduits. These channels cross cell walls, linking one cell to its neighbor. If a plant needs to grow larger or fight off a pathogen, molecular signals pass through plasmodesmata to keep cells … Continue reading

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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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