Editorials

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  • In the last decade, high-throughput sequencing approaches have revolutionized the field of plant genomics. With the pace of technical improvement showing no sign of slowing what advances could be just around the corner.

    Editorial
  • The work of many plant biologists has garnered prizes and plaudits in recent months. But will we continue to see plant researchers overlooked for the ultimate scientific awards?

    Editorial
  • Gene editing techniques have the potential to substantially accelerate plant breeding. Now, officials in the United States and Europe are arguing that it is not genetic modification — and that is a good thing!

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  • Part of the role of any country or state should be to provide a basic level of nutrition to all its citizens. A recent proposal in the United States may make this even more difficult to achieve.

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  • On 28 March 2017, UK Prime Minister Theresa May signed the letter invoking Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (EU) signalling the UK’s intention to leave the EU on 29 March 2019. How then, can scientific collaborations be maintained?

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  • Sixty years ago, Francis Crick articulated the central dogma of molecular biology to explain the sequential information flow between genes and proteins. Nowadays our understanding of genes and the information they convey is no longer limited to the single-molecule level.

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  • Breeding crops with a high yield and superior adaptability is vital to maintaining global food security. New technologies on multiple scales are re-engineering traditional plant breeding to meet these challenges.

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  • The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals contain a commitment to abolish world hunger. Sounds like a job for a plant scientist!

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  • The sciences and arts are often described as two separate cultures, but fruitful collaborations across this divide highlight the artificiality of such distinctions.

    Editorial
  • Cities need green spaces to maintain the well-being of their citizens. But is the realization of their value making them more private luxury than public commons?

    Editorial
  • The recent International Botanical Congress in Shenzhen was the largest meeting in its history. That a gathering rooted in the superficially traditional science of taxonomy is thriving in the age of genomics and biotechnology shows the strength and adaptability of modern botany and botanists.

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  • Fire has always been one of the more dramatic routes by which humanity and the plant kingdom interact. Forest management practices, urban planning and global warming are conspiring to make the relationship ever more destructive.

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  • Science is a competitive business and in any competition there can be ‘shortcuts’ to success. Transparency is the only way to guarantee that research results can be trusted more than some sporting achievements.

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  • In the March for Science, held on 22 April in cities around the world, many placards bore Galileo's assertion that scientific truth is unaffected by political circumstance, “Eppur si muove”. But scientific research is inevitably shaped by the political climate in which it takes place.

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  • A long and almost uncrossable distance separates fundamental plant research carried out predominantly in rich countries, and the production of better crops in the fields of poor farmers from developing regions. A unique network of international organizations involved in global agriculture helps bridge that chasm.

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  • If, as the former editor of The Washington Post Phil Graham said, “[journalism] is the first rough draft of history”, then it is sometimes worth looking back at recent news to try to identify the significant events among the noise.

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  • Plant biology has a long history in helping to illuminate the most detailed workings of living organisms. This tradition is amply represented by a trio of structures appearing this month.

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  • For millennia, Chinese knowledge of agriculture and crop breeding influenced the whole world. After an extended period of introspection, Chinese plant biology is once again establishing global eminence.

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  • January is traditionally a time for reflections and resolutions. By looking back on the past year at Nature Plants, we can perhaps see what might be in store for the year to come.

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  • With the year drawing to a close, what hope is there for a ‘golden’ future for plant sciences in 2017 and beyond?

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