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It doesn’t feel like three years since the first papers were published in Nature Plants in January 2015. However, as Nature Plants embarks on its 4th volume this seems like a good time to look back on the research we have published in the last three years. It is always difficult choosing the ‘highlights’ from such a wide-ranging collection of research. For this anniversary collection we have looked to see which have been the highest performers by a few measures:
The most read papers as judged by the number of times that they have been downloaded from our site.
The most cited papers from each of our first three years.
The most discussed papers as judged by the Altmetric scores that they have accrued.
Interestingly the top papers by each measure are not the same!
The desert moss Syntrichia caninervis maximizes water collection in dry environments by collecting water droplets from fog using the tiny hairs on the end of its leaves and passing them down through the plant, rather than taking water up through the roots.
Maize originated in southern Mexico from domestication of the wild grass teosinte, and diffused throughout the Americas. Sequenced DNA from archaeological samples spanning 6,000 years, documents the diffusion route and reveals the genes that were specifically selected for climatic and cultural adaptation to the US Southwest.
Two high-quality genomes of petunia wild parents reveal two rounds of hexaploidization in the evolution of Petunia lineage and provide insights into the diversity of floral patterns and pollination systems — enhancing the model value of this genus.
Many plants exhibit iridescence but no link has been demonstrated between this phenomenon and photosynthesis. This study shows the epidermal chloroplasts of Begonia to have photonic properties that increase both light capture and quantum yield.
Fully enclosed, controlled-environment growth chambers can accelerate plant development. Such ‘speed breeding’ reduces generation times to accelerate crop breeding and research programmes, and can integrate with other modern crop breeding technologies.
There's a lack of knowledge on the extent to which mRNAs are transported across tissues in plants. Now a study combining RNA-seq with grafting experiments identifies 2,006 genes in Arabidopsis thaliana that generate mobile mRNAs.
The frequency of severe droughts is increasing in many regions around the world as a result of climate change. An analysis of tree growth and mortality data from forests worldwide suggests that large trees fare worse under drought than small trees.
Transient assays and transgenic experiments demonstrate that sgRNA/Cas9 constructs targeting the beet severe curly top virus (BSCTV) inhibit the virus accumulation and confer resistance in Arabidopsis and N. benthamiana.
Transient assays and transgenic experiments demonstrate that sgRNA/Cas9 constructs targeting the bean yellow dwarf virus inhibit the accumulation of the virus and confer resistance in transgenic N. benthamiana plants.
The genetic diversity of wild relatives of domesticated crops can be useful for developing more productive, nutritious and resilient crop varieties. A comparison of the modelled diversity of crop wild relatives with their representation in gene banks suggests that a systematic effort is needed to improve their conservation and availability for use in plant breeding.
A high-quality rubber tree genome reveals insights into the evolution of rubber biosynthesis and ethylene stimulation in rubber production. Together with transcriptome data, this study provides valuable data for the research and breeding of rubber trees.
CRISPR–Cpf1 has emerged as an effective genome editing tool in animals. Now, a study shows that this system can edit plant genomes at nearly 100% efficiency at independent sites. Moreover, it can be repurposed for modulating plant transcriptome.
In addition to the previously reported root-to-shoot nitrogen-deficiency small peptides, two more polypeptides are identified as phloem-mobile descending shoot-to-root signals and show a mechanism of systemic nitrogen-demand signalling.
Application of pathogen-specific double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) was proposed as an approach against plant viruses. However, the instability of dsRNA hampers its application. Now, a study has used clay nanosheets to deliver dsRNA and obtain sustained protection against viruses.
Pesticide is a threat to the environment and human health. Whether reducing pesticide would necessarily undermine crop productivity remains elusive. Analyses of data from 946 farms in France show that reducing pesticide rarely decreases productivity.
Fossil plants preserved in amber can give detailed palaeoevolutionary and biogeographical insights; the same degree of preservation can be found for vascular plant remains as for arthropods. This paper presents the earliest member of the highly diverse and widespread asterid clade of angiosperms preserved in mid-Tertiary Dominican amber, Strychnos electri sp. nov.
Food production causes a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. This life-cycle assessment of the supply chain of a loaf of bread finds that over half of its environmental impacts arise from wheat cultivation, with 40% from the use of nitrate fertiliser.
Modelling and remote sensing predict that near-future climate change could make 41–61% of the growing area of coffee in Ethiopia unusable. However, relocation of coffee areas and forest conservation could see coffee farming areas increase fourfold.
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.