Perspectives

  • Perspective |

    Herbacious grain annuals in the mid-Holocene period were typically so hard to forage and eat that their use by humans was seen as a ‘last resort’, but this Perspective argues that a switch from animal to human dispersal allowed for domestication into the crops that became the foundation for societies around the world.

    • Robert N. Spengler III
    •  & Natalie G. Mueller
  • Perspective |

    The gametophyte phase is extremely reduced in angiosperms, reduced to a few haploid cells in flowers. This Perspective discusses recent studies in Marchantia polymorpha that have identified conserved components of gametogenesis.

    • Tetsuya Hisanaga
    • , Shohei Yamaoka
    • , Tomokazu Kawashima
    • , Asuka Higo
    • , Keiji Nakajima
    • , Takashi Araki
    • , Takayuki Kohchi
    •  & Frédéric Berger
  • Perspective |

    The severe threat of weeds to agriculture and ecosystems necessitates management practices on the scale of landscapes. This Perspective uses four case studies to examine the best practices for this collective dilemma.

    • Muthukumar V. Bagavathiannan
    • , Sonia Graham
    • , Zhao Ma
    • , Jacob N. Barney
    • , Shaun R. Coutts
    • , Ana L. Caicedo
    • , Rosemarie De Clerck-Floate
    • , Natalie M. West
    • , Lior Blank
    • , Alexander L. Metcalf
    • , Myrtille Lacoste
    • , Carlo R. Moreno
    • , Jeffrey A. Evans
    • , Ian Burke
    •  & Hugh Beckie
  • Perspective |

    A Perspective summarizes advances in the research of plant diversity, and discusses how big data resources and new technologies, such as analytical and integrating tools, are revolutionizing our views of plant diversification and guiding conservation.

    • Julie M. Allen
    • , Ryan A. Folk
    • , Pamela S. Soltis
    • , Douglas E. Soltis
    •  & Robert P. Guralnick
  • Perspective |

    There are multiple strategies to fortify crop nutrition and support global food security and sustainable agriculture. Here the authors propose to increase the diversity of crops by devoting more efforts to studying minor crops that are naturally stress resistant.

    • Heng Zhang
    • , Yuanyuan Li
    •  & Jian-Kang Zhu
  • Perspective |

    Traditional knowledge of medicinal plants is rich and varied, with uses differing between cultures. Cultural evolutionary theory, particularly phylogenetic comparative methods, provide a framework to investigate continuity and change in medicinal plant knowledge.

    • Irene Teixidor-Toneu
    • , Fiona M. Jordan
    •  & Julie A. Hawkins
  • Perspective |

    Microbial communities are not only of great importance in the human gut, but also play irreplaceable roles in sustaining plant growth and functions. In this Perspective, strategies to optimize microbiome usage in agroecosystems are proposed.

    • Hirokazu Toju
    • , Kabir G. Peay
    • , Masato Yamamichi
    • , Kazuhiko Narisawa
    • , Kei Hiruma
    • , Ken Naito
    • , Shinji Fukuda
    • , Masayuki Ushio
    • , Shinji Nakaoka
    • , Yusuke Onoda
    • , Kentaro Yoshida
    • , Klaus Schlaeppi
    • , Yang Bai
    • , Ryo Sugiura
    • , Yasunori Ichihashi
    • , Kiwamu Minamisawa
    •  & E. Toby Kiers
  • Perspective |

    To reduce climate warming we must stop adding CO2 to the atmopshere, and develop approaches for removing it. Adding crushed, fast-reacting silicate rocks to croplands could improve productivity, restore soil quality and reduce atmospheric CO2.

    • David J. Beerling
    • , Jonathan R. Leake
    • , Stephen P. Long
    • , Julie D. Scholes
    • , Jurriaan Ton
    • , Paul N. Nelson
    • , Michael Bird
    • , Euripides Kantzas
    • , Lyla L. Taylor
    • , Binoy Sarkar
    • , Mike Kelland
    • , Evan DeLucia
    • , Ilsa Kantola
    • , Christoph Müller
    • , Greg Rau
    •  & James Hansen
  • Perspective |

    Programmed cell death is essential but differently regulated in animals and plants. In this Perspective, the features of plant apoptotic-like cell death are reassessed to highlight the similarities between animal and plant programmed cell death.

    • Martin Dickman
    • , Brett Williams
    • , Yurong Li
    • , Paul de Figueiredo
    •  & Thomas Wolpert
  • Perspective |

    Plants have long been recognized for their therapeutic properties. Now, modern science is unravelling the mechanisms of action of ancient herbal medicines and finding new ways to exploit them.

    • Fu-Shuang Li
    •  & Jing-Ke Weng
  • Perspective |

    Before maize-based agriculture, there existed in eastern North America a crop system that is now only known from archaeological data. Present research is exploring whether these crops, which sustained ancient societies for millennia, can be re-domesticated.

    • Natalie G. Mueller
    • , Gayle J. Fritz
    • , Paul Patton
    • , Stephen Carmody
    •  & Elizabeth T. Horton
  • Perspective |

    Increased legume production and consumption is a promising route to future food security for several reasons: legumes are nutritious foods in their own right, and their nitrogen-fixing capabilities can benefit subsequent crop cultivation. However, legumes are currently under-used and yields will need to be improved if legumes are to become a major food crop. This will entail improvement of genetic diversity in legume breeding programmes, more widespread cultivation of legumes currently grown in restricted regions (such as cowpea), and, possibly, increased government price support

    • Christine H. Foyer
    • , Hon-Ming Lam
    • , Henry T. Nguyen
    • , Kadambot H. M. Siddique
    • , Rajeev K. Varshney
    • , Timothy D. Colmer
    • , Wallace Cowling
    • , Helen Bramley
    • , Trevor A. Mori
    • , Jonathan M. Hodgson
    • , James W. Cooper
    • , Anthony J. Miller
    • , Karl Kunert
    • , Juan Vorster
    • , Christopher Cullis
    • , Jocelyn A. Ozga
    • , Mark L. Wahlqvist
    • , Yan Liang
    • , Huixia Shou
    • , Kai Shi
    • , Jingquan Yu
    • , Nandor Fodor
    • , Brent N. Kaiser
    • , Fuk-Ling Wong
    • , Babu Valliyodan
    •  & Michael J. Considine
  • Perspective |

    High-resolution microscopies have recently provided new insights into the structure of the chloroplast thylakoid membrane. Its dynamics are vital to its function as the site of photosynthesis and so the source of energy for almost all life on earth.

    • Alexander V. Ruban
    •  & Matthew P. Johnson