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

Science In Real Life (IRL) – an educational YouTube series

Science In Real Life (IRL) is an educational YouTube series that’s here to show you how textbook science concepts come to life in the lab. Since each episode revolves around an experiment that a scientist does every day in the lab or field, our viewers also get to see what being a scientist is like, … Read more

Responsible Conduct of Research Infographics by ORI

ORI is the Office for Research Integrity, part of the US Dept. of Health and Human Services. ORI has a wealth of information useful for discussing the important issues surrounding research ethics and misconduct. Recently they have released a set of infographics on various themes, from “Tips for Presenting Scientific Images with Integrity” to “What … 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

Communicating Effectively with Graphics

Frédéric Bouché, a postdoctoral research with Richard Amasino at the University of Wisconsin, recently caught our attention when he published a set of impressive visual abstracts to support his latest research papers. We invited him to share how and why he makes these images. -Editors When you work hard, and your scientific work is finally … Read more

What We’re Reading: Nov 4

Featured Review: Role of Mass Spectrometry in Biology Mass spectrometry (MS) has become a core tool for molecular and structural biology. Lössl et al. review the history of MS and provide an accessible explanation for how it works and its applications, with numerous examples. This is a must-read for students of biochemistry as well as … Read more

What We’re Reading: Oct 28

Featured Review: Evolution of ROS signaling ($) Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are partially reduced or excited forms of oxygen (for example, O2·−) that are reactive and damaging towards cellular components. Because ROS are produced as byproducts of metabolism, cells have evolved ROS detoxification pathways; more than 150 Arabidopsis genes contribute to ROS detoxification. Inupakutika et … Read more

What We’re Reading: October 21

Featured Review: Update of Arabidopsis floral meristem formation ($) Genetic approaches using Arabidopsis have identified key players in the initiation and elaboration of floral meristems and flowers. These core findings are now expanded to encompass the roles of hormone fluxes and mechanical forces, and systems-wide modeling of gene regulatory networks. In this review, Denay et … Read more

What We’re Reading: Oct 14th

Featured Review: Celebrating 150 years since Mendel’s Discoveries ($) This review describes Mendel’s seminal work and how it laid the foundation for today’s plant breeding (as well as all of genetics). Smýka et al. trace the evolution of our understanding from Mendel’s discrete traits through continuous traits and quantitative trait loci (including the contributions of … Read more

Educational Resources for plant biology. Longer accessible videos: TED talks, iBiology and Gatsby Plants Summer School lectures

Many schools and universities are embarking on a new academic year, so it’s a good time to remind you of some of the great resources available to help you teach (or learn) about plant biology. Many of these and others can be found at the ASPB’s Education and Outreach page. See also the American Phytopathological … Read more

Pushing back the dawn of life

Our understandings of the forces that have shaped Earth and the forces that have shaped life on Earth have common roots. Charles Darwin was famously inspired by the work of early geologists such as Charles Lyell, who proposed that Earth was subject to slow but gradual change. This idea recurs in Darwin’s insights about evolution … Read more

“How to Read a Scientific Paper” and “Case Study: Reading a Plant Physiology article”

One of the most important skills a young scientist needs to learn is how to read (and write) scientific papers. Some students begin to learn this in a high school biology classes, and others as they begin their university coursework. To help instructors teach these critical skills, we created two articles to introduce students to … Read more

Food for thought: Digital farming, Food Computers and OpenAg

There’s a lot of buzz right now about indoor farming. I’m sure you’ve seen photos of fuchsia-illuminated lettuces hydroponically growing in abandoned warehouses, airplane hangars, and disused subway terminals (see for examples here and here and here.)  One of the goals of these programs is to cut the energy costs of food shipping, and another … Read more

March/April President’s Letter: Your Society Needs Your Vote!

Because of publication deadlines, I started to write this newsletter the day before the Iowa caucuses. International members of the Society may be unfamiliar with the somewhat bizarre procedure whereby the people of the state of Iowa select their preferred choices for presidential nominee for both major parties, and I would bet that many in … Read more