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Self-fertilization in Brassica rapa is prevented by the interaction of multiple alleles at the self-incompatibility locus. The complicated hierarchy among many alleles is epigenetically controlled by a discrete number of polymorphic small RNAs.
See Nature Plants 3, 16206 (2016).
Image: Y. Wada & S. Yasuda Cover Design: A. Wing
A straightforward approach reveals the full cholesterol biosynthetic pathway in tomato, which is composed of ten enzymatic steps, opening the door for bioengineering of high-value molecules in crops. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that cholesterogenesis evolved from the more ancient phytosterol pathway.
To determine the potential of any promising tool, its performance in practice must always be considered. Two recent articles reach different conclusions on one important benefit of Bacillus thuringiensis cotton management: the potential to reduce pesticide sprays.
Despite improved farming practices, models suggest that droughts like those of the 1930s would still be devastating to the US today. High temperatures are more damaging than rainfall deficit, leading to losses ∼50% larger than the severe drought of 2012.
Pottery remains from archaeological sites in the Libyan Sahara provide the earliest direct evidence for plant processing in pottery, dating to 8200–6400 cal BC. The remains show processing of grasses and aquatic plants gathered from the then green Sahara.
Interrogation of a worldwide database of leaf traits in forest canopies shows that a large proportion of ‘full-sun’ readings were made in the shade. The majority of leaves exist in the shade but research is too focused on conditions in the sun.
To explore how climate warming may affect rice yield, a study used field experiments and three modelling approaches to examine the sensitivity of rice yield to warming. The study predicts that severe rice yield losses are likely to occur without effective crop improvement.
Plants contain small levels of cholesterol. Analysis of transcripts, proteins and individual gene silencing in tomato identifies a biosynthetic pathway involving 12 enzymes that is shown to be functional by expression of the full set in Arabidopsis.
The phenotypic expression of SP11 alleles — male determinants of self-incompatibility in Brassica rapa — is controlled by a five-phased linear hierarchy. A study has found that a polymorphic 24-nt small RNA controls the linear hierarchy of four of the SP11 alleles.
Small RNAs regulate plant–pathogen interactions. In rice, AGO18 sequesters microRNA528, which negatively regulates resistance to viruses through the silencing of L-ascorbate oxidase and thus controls the production of reactive oxygen species.
Several lines of evidence indicate that under osmotic stress conditions, subclass I SnRK2 kinases phosphorylate VARICOSE, one of the components of the mRNA decapping complex, providing an additional molecular mechanism of adaptation to stress.