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Gene discovery may halt worldwide wheat epidemic

University of California, Davis, researchers have identified a gene that enables resistance to a new devastating strain of stem rust, a fungal disease that is hampering wheat production throughout Africa and Asia and threatening food security worldwide.


How Snapdragons keep their colour: Signposting trick reveals evolutionary mechanism

A study of the colour patterns among wild flowers in a mountain valley has yielded a clue about how nature controls fundamental evolutionary change in all species.


Genome of wheat ancestor sequenced

Sequencing the bread wheat genome has long been considered an almost insurmountable task, due to its enormous size and complexity. Yet it is vitally important for the global food supply, providing more than 20 percent of the calories and 23 percent of the protein consumed by humans.


Secrets of succulents' water-wise ways revealed

Plant scientists at the University of Liverpool have revealed new insights into the mechanisms that allow certain plants to conserve water and tolerate drought.


Microbiome transplants provide disease resistance in critically endangered Hawaiian plant

Transplanting wild microbes from healthy related plants can make a native Hawaiian plant healthier and likelier to survive in wild according to new research from The Amend Laboratory in the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (UHM) Botany Department and the O'ahu Army Natural Resources Program (OANRP). Professor Anthony Amend and postdoctoral researcher Geoff Zahn used microbes to restore the health of a critically endangered Hawaiian plant that, until now, had been driven to extinction in the wild and only survived in managed greenhouses under heavy doses of fungicide.


Disease-resistant apples perform better than old favorites

You may not find them in the produce aisle yet, but it's only a matter of time before new disease-resistant apple cultivars overtake favorites like Honeycrisp in popularity, according to a University of Illinois apple expert.


Where a leaf lands and lies influences carbon levels in soil for years to come

In one of the few such studies, scientists examined how dead leaves, roots, and other plant litter decay over a decade. The team used stable isotope labels to trace plant litter-derived carbon and nitrogen as the litter decomposed and formed soil, specifically the fraction of soil called organic matter, which comes from plant inputs and microscopic animals. They found that the litter type (needles or roots) and the placement in the soil environment both affected decomposition, but at different timescales.


Sun's role in mitigating fungal disease of mango fruit

Mango fruits play host to some economically damaging fungal diseases, especially during ripening and storage; but mango growers and suppliers have a new ray of hope...in the form of sunlight.


Amazon's recovery from forest losses limited by climate change

Deforested areas of the Amazon Basin have a limited ability to recover because of recent changes in climate, a study shows.


Flower attracts insects by pretending to be a mushroom

The mysterious flowers of Aspidistra elatior are found on the southern Japanese island of Kuroshima. Until recently, scientists thought that A. elatior has the most unusual pollination ecology among all flowering plants, being pollinated by slugs and amphipods. However, direct observation of their ecosystem has revealed that they are mainly pollinated by fungus gnats, probably thanks to their resemblance to mushrooms.


Parasitic plants rely on unusual method to spread their seeds

Three species of non-photosynthetic plants rely mainly on camel crickets to disperse their seeds, according to new research from Project Associate Professor Suetsugu Kenji (Kobe University Graduate School of Science). These findings were published in New Phytologist.


Saving Cavendish: QUT grows world-first Panama disease-resistant bananas

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researchers have developed and grown modified Cavendish bananas resistant to the devastating soil-borne fungus Fusarium wilt tropical race 4 (TR4), also known as Panama disease.


Urban trees are growing faster worldwide

Trees in metropolitan areas have been growing faster than trees in rural areas worldwide since the 1960s. This has been confirmed for the first time by a study on the impact of the urban heat island effect on tree growth headed by the Technical University of Munich (TUM). The analysis conducted by the international research team also shows that the growth of urban trees has already been exposed to changing climatic conditions for a long period of time, which is only just beginning to happen for trees in rural areas.


Poison ivy an unlikely hero in warding off exotic invaders?

Dozens of studies have looked at the effects of Japanese knotweed on natural communities in Europe and North America. Yet Bucknell University professor Chris Martine still felt there was something important to learn about what the plant was doing along the river in his own backyard.


Tomatoes with enhanced antioxidant properties created with genetic engineering

A research team at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), in collaboration with the Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes (CNRS, Strasbourg, France), has identified a new strategy to simultaneously enhance health-promoting vitamin E by ~6-fold and double both provitamin A and lycopene contents in tomatoes, to significantly boost antioxidant properties.


Mapping functional diversity of forests with remote sensing

Ecological studies have demonstrated positive relationships between plant diversity and ecosystem functioning. Forests with higher functional diversity are generally more productive and stable over long timescales than less diverse forests. Diverse plant communities show increased resource use efficiency and utilization, enhanced ecosystem productivity and stability and can better cope with changing environmental conditions - an insurance effect of biodiversity. They are also less vulnerable to diseases, insect attacks, fire and storms.


Breeding highly productive corn has reduced its ability to adapt

Stuck where they are, plants have to adapt to their environments, responding to stresses like drought or pests by changing how they grow.


New bioresources for plant peptide hormones using gene editing technology

Peptide hormones are important growth regulators that play various roles in many organisms. Although the importance of genes that encode peptide hormones is broadly recognized, most peptides have yet to be functionally characterized. Using genome editing technology, researchers from Kumamoto University, Japan generated a new, comprehensive genetic resource collection of plants with knocked out CLE peptides-encoding genes. CLE peptides are a group of plant-specific peptide hormones that play a role in cell signaling and are regulated by CLE genes. This open collection is expected to contribute to future studies on how peptide hormones work in plants.


Sensors applied to plant leaves warn of water shortage

Forgot to water that plant on your desk again? It may soon be able to send out an SOS.


'Golden' potato delivers bounty of vitamins A and E

An experimental "golden" potato could hold the power to prevent disease and death in developing countries where residents rely heavily upon the starchy food for sustenance, new research suggests.


How climate change may reshape subalpine wildflower communities

With climate change, Mount Rainier floral communities could 'reassemble' with new species relationships, interactions


Seagrass biodiversity is both a goal and a means for restoration

Coral reefs, seagrass meadows and mangrove forests work together to make the Coral Triangle of Indonesia a hotspot for marine biodiversity. The system supports valuable fisheries and endangered species and helps protect shorelines. But it is in global decline due to threats from coastal development, destructive fishing practices and climate change.


Circadian clock discovery could help boost water efficiency in food plants

A discovery by Texas A&M AgriLife research scientists in Dallas provides new insights about the biological or circadian clock, how it regulates high water-use efficiency in some plants, and how others, including food plants, might be improved for the same efficiency, possibly to grow in conditions uninhabitable for them today.


Why plants form sprouts in the dark

A signal from the cell wall decides that, in the dark, seeds grow into long yellow sprouts, instead of turning green and forming leaves. The signal that switches on the darkness programme in seedling development has not hitherto been identified. Earlier studies had shown that these processes involve photoreceptors inside plant cells. One vital signal outside the cells has now been described by the team of Prof Dr Ute Krämer and Dr Scott Sinclair at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, in collaboration with Prof Dr Dominik Begerow, likewise from Bochum, as well as colleagues from Australia, France, Switzerland, and from the Max Planck Institute of Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, in the journal Current Biology.


Early bloomers: Statistical tool reveals climate change impacts on plants

Early flowering, early fruiting: Anecdotal evidence of climate change is popping up as quickly as spring crocuses, but is it coincidence or confirmation that plants’ timing is shifting in response to warming temperatures?


Swapping where crops are grown could feed an extra 825 million people

Redrawing the global map of crop distribution on existing farmland could help meet growing demand for food and biofuels in coming decades, while significantly reducing water stress in agricultural areas, according to a new study. Published in Nature Geoscience, the study is the first to attempt to address both food production needs and resource sustainability simultaneously and at a global scale.


Identifying pathogens that cause soybean stem canker

Scouting soybean fields and identifying diseases are some of the tasks that Kristina Petrović performs as a research associate at the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops in Serbia. She is expanding her work on pathogens that affect soybeans as a visiting scientist at South Dakota State University, where she is working with field crops pathologist Febina Mathew, an assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science.


Animals' mitochondria defenses discovered in plants

Mitochondria are cell organelles that play critical roles in maintaining the cell's health, or homeostasis. One way that mitochondria do this is by harvesting energy though oxidative phosphorylation, where various enzymes in the mitochondria release energy to produce the molecule ATP, the cell's "energy currency" that can be used in other processes. This is why mitochondria are often described as the cell's "powerhouse."


Genomic study reveals clues to wild past of grapes

About 22,000 years ago, as the ice sheets that consumed much of North America and Europe began retreating, humans started to consume a fruit that today brings joy to millions of wine drinkers around the world: grapes.


Hacking evolution, screening technique may improve most widespread enzyme

Plants evolved over millions of years into an environment that has dramatically changed in the last 150 years since the Industrial Revolution began: carbon dioxide levels have increased 50 percent, and the average global temperature has increased by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit. While natural adaptation has been unable to keep up, scientists have developed tools to simulate millions of years of evolution in days to help plants adapt.