What We’re Reading: February 17

New Phytologist Tansley Medal finalists essays The New Phytologist Tansley Medal is awarded to an early career scientist for excellence in plant science. The essays submitted by each of the five finalists are published in the March 2017 issue of New Phytologist, and make good reading. We agree with the sentiments of the editors, “warmest … Read more

What We’re Reading: February 10

Review: Plant diversity change across scales during the Anthropocene ($) We’re living in the Anthropocene, a term that reflects the profound impact of human activities on Earth’s geology and ecology. A hallmark of the Anthropocene is a decrease in biodiversity due to an increase in the rate of extinctions. Vellend et al. examined how plant … Read more

How can genomics help neglected crops fight disease?

Guest post by Kelsey Wood (@klsywd) a PhD student researching the genetics and genomics of plant-pathogen interactions at the University of California, Davis. I recently attended a Plant Pathology symposium on “Genomics Strategies for Developing Sustainable Disease Resistance for Neglected Crops in the Developing World“. The symposium was held at the University of California, Berkeley and … Read more

What We’re Reading: February 3rd

Review: Cyanobacterial metabolites as a source of sunscreens and moisturizers The cosmetic industry uses many different chemicals to produce the seven or so skin care products used by the average American every day. Efforts are underway to develop renewable sources for some of these. Derikvand et al. review the chemistry and potential applications behind compounds … Read more

What We’re Reading: January 27th

Review: The sexual advantage of looking, smelling and tasting good, the metabolic network that produces signals for pollinators ($) The interaction between angiosperms and their pollinators provides an excellent system to study co-evolution, and underpins the evolution of the biosynthesis of numerous interesting and useful specialized metabolites, from pigments to fragrances. Borghi et al. review … Read more

What We’re Reading: January 20th

Two Reviews: CRISPR/Cas for genome engineering in plants, and Genome editing in cereal crops ($) The gene-editing technology CRISPR/Cas, which introduces double-strand breaks that are repaired by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ), is best known for the promise it holds in modifying an organism’s DNA sequence without the introduction of exogenous genes. However, as Puchta describes … Read more

In Brief: More than Window Dressing: Revealing 5-Methylcytocine Patterns that Decorate Arabidopsis RNA

IN BRIEF by Jennifer Lockhart jlockhart@aspb.org DNA is sculpted by several types of epigenetic modifications with profound effects on gene expression, development, and stress responses. Much less is known about the more than 100 chemical modifications shaping plant RNA, a topic explored in the newly emerging field of epitranscriptomics (reviewed in Burgess et al., 2016). … Read more

What We’re Reading: January 13

Editorial: Rigorous Science: a How-To Guide Casadevall and Fang set out several proposals for research training to help ensure scientific “rigor”, which they define as promoting confidence in the truth or accuracy of the findings. The authors propose and elaborate on five foundations for scientific rigor: Redundancy in experimental design, recognition of error, intellectual honesty, … Read more

What We’re Reading: January 6th

Review: Transport and homeostasis of K and P ($) Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) are the three macronutrients required in highest amounts for plant growth. N is abundant in the atmosphere, therefore plentiful if we overlook the energetic costs of converting N2 to usable form. By contrast, K and P are present in … Read more

Recognizing featured Plant Cell first authors, December 2016

Recently, we’ve been profiling first authors of Plant Cell papers that are selected for In Brief summaries. Here are the first-author profiles from the December issue of The Plant Cell. Yao-Pin Lin, featured author of Identification of Chlorophyll Dephytylase Involved in Chlorophyll Turnover in Arabidopsis Current Position: Postdoctoral fellow in Agricultural Biotechnology Research Center, Academia … Read more

What We’re Reading: Dec 16

Previewing Pollen Biology special issue of Plant Physiology In Plant Physiology Preview you can get a head start on reading the excellent set of articles from a forthcoming special issue on Pollen Biology. Updates and research articles cover all aspects of this crucial part of reproductive biology, from the complex cell biology that underpins polar … Read more

Best of 2016: Top Topics in The Plant Cell journal

We’ve highlighted some of the Plant Cell papers that were widely shared, liked, blogged, retweeted and otherwise garnered high-levels of attention this year. Perhaps you can use some holiday-season quiet time to catch up on those you missed. Reviews and Perspectives Creating order from chaos: epigenome dynamics in plants with complex genomes http://www.plantcell.org/content/28/2/314 Advancing Crop … Read more

What We’re Reading: December 9

Review: Domestication and Breeding of Jatropha curcas L. Jatropha curcas L. is a drought-tolerant perennial angiosperm in the in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. As such, it has a high untapped potential to meet the food and bioenergy demands of the world. Montes and Melchinger review the current status of the progress in Jatropha domestication and … Read more

Recognizing featured Plant Cell first authors, November 2016

Recently, we’ve been profiling first authors of Plant Cell papers that are selected for In Brief summaries. Here are the first-author profiles from the November issue of The Plant Cell. Jaewook Kim, Kijong Song, and Eunae Park, featured authors of Epidermal Phytochrome B Inhibits Hypocotyl Negative Gravitropism Non-Cell Autonomously Jaewook Kim Current Position: Graduate student, … Read more

What We’re Reading: Dec 2

Featured Review: Programmed Cell Death in Development and Disease Programmed cell death (PCD) is an active process that occurs as part of normal development and also contributes to defense against pathogens. While there are many similarities in developmental PCD (dPCD) and pathogen-triggered PCD (pPCD), there are also differences. Huysmans et al. review and contrast these … Read more

What We’re Reading: November 25

Featured Review: The Broad Footprint of Climate Change From Genes to Biomes to People ($) In this review, Scheffers et al. collate a vast amount of data to summarize the impact of climate change on terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems; their findings are sobering. A key conclusion is that across the 94 processes analyzed, 84% … Read more

What We’re Reading: November 18

Featured Review: Effects of water stress on rhizodeposition Rhizodeposition refers to the release of organic compounds from roots into soil. Rhizodeposits alter the composition and structure of soil and also provide food for soil microbes whose actions can increase the bioavailability of soil organic matter. Preece and Peñuelas review how drought affects rhizodeposition, which in … Read more

What We’re Reading: Nov 11

We start with a trio of papers that explore plant cell proliferation Featured Review: Plants grow with a little help from their organelle friends ($) Mitochondria and chloroplasts are semi-autonomous organelles that provide cells with energy, metabolites and hormones. Van Dingenen et al. review organelles’ dynamic roles during organ growth. As an obvious example, many … Read more