Volume 1 Issue 1 January 2015

Volume 1 Issue 1

Up close and personal

The image shows detail of a flower from Petunia hybrida. To avoid self fertilization members of the Solanaceae family, such as petunia, use a system in which components of S-ribonucleases in pistils are detoxified by a collection of 16-20 different S-locus F-box proteins expressed in non-self pollen.

See Kubo et al. 1, 14005

Seiji Takayama, Nara Institute of Science and Technology


  • Editorial |

    For more than a decade political stalemate has enforced a de facto ban on the exploitation of genetic modification technologies by European agriculture. It is to be hoped that a recent compromise by the European Parliament will allow reasoned decision-making to proceed.


  • Comment |

    Genome editing opens up opportunities for the precise and rapid alteration of crops to boost yields, protect against pests and diseases and enhance nutrient content. The extent to which applied plant research and crop breeding benefit will depend on how the EU decides to regulate this fledgling technology.

    • Huw D. Jones
  • Comment |

    Africa south of the Sahara is going through a major agricultural transformation. Low crop productivity, hunger and pessimism are being replaced by a rapid rise in food production, an increasingly vibrant agricultural value chain and convergence towards a common goal.

    • Pedro A. Sanchez

Books and Arts

Research Highlights

News and Views

  • News and Views |

    Sequencing ancient DNA from archaeological samples reveals both how maize was transported through North America, and the shifting genomic patterns in response to selection for drought tolerance and sugar content.

    • Greger Larson
  • News and Views |

    Rubisco catalyses the first step in photosynthetic carbon fixation, but it can be easily poisoned by side-products of its activity. Structural and functional analyses of a protein conserved across plants, algae and bacteria shows how one such blockage is both removed and recycled.

    • Rebekka M. Wachter
    •  & J. Nathan Henderson
  • News and Views |

    Ascorbate is synthesized in mitochondria but needed in chloroplasts. Identification of a transporter bridging the chloroplast envelope membranes that separate cell cytoplasm from chloroplast stroma reveals a connection between ascorbate transport and cellular redox homeostasis.

    • Christine H. Foyer
  • News and Views |

    A 180-year-old ‘law’ in zoology has found its best support so far in a study of floral colour, which not only documents darker plants growing closer to the equator, but also supports the idea that the colour stems from ultraviolet protection.

    • Innes C. Cuthill


  • Article |

    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.

    • Rute R. da Fonseca
    • , Bruce D. Smith
    • , Nathan Wales
    • , Enrico Cappellini
    • , Pontus Skoglund
    • , Matteo Fumagalli
    • , José Alfredo Samaniego
    • , Christian Carøe
    • , María C. Ávila-Arcos
    • , David E. Hufnagel
    • , Thorfinn Sand Korneliussen
    • , Filipe Garrett Vieira
    • , Mattias Jakobsson
    • , Bernardo Arriaza
    • , Eske Willerslev
    • , Rasmus Nielsen
    • , Matthew B. Hufford
    • , Anders Albrechtsen
    • , Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra
    •  & M. Thomas P. Gilbert
  • Article |

    Gloger's rule describes how the colouring of animals darkens the closer to the equator they live. Similar global trends have not been observed in plants. Here Gloger's rule holds for the variation of UV pigments in silverweed (Argentina anserine).

    • Matthew H. Koski
    •  & Tia-Lynn Ashman
  • Article |

    To avoid self-fertilization, members of the Solanaceae family, such as Petunia, use a system in which components of S-ribonucleases in pistils are detoxified by a collection of 16–20 different S-locus F-box proteins expressed in non-self pollen.

    • Ken-ichi Kubo
    • , Timothy Paape
    • , Masaomi Hatakeyama
    • , Tetsuyuki Entani
    • , Akie Takara
    • , Kie Kajihara
    • , Mai Tsukahara
    • , Rie Shimizu-Inatsugi
    • , Kentaro K. Shimizu
    •  & Seiji Takayama
  • Article |

    Combining transcriptomics and molecular cell biology has identified homologous hormone systems between land plants and freshwater green algae. In particular, Arabidopsis and Spirogyra possess homologous ethylene-signalling pathways.

    • Chuanli Ju
    • , Bram Van de Poel
    • , Endymion D. Cooper
    • , James H. Thierer
    • , Theodore R. Gibbons
    • , Charles F. Delwiche
    •  & Caren Chang
  • Article |

    Sugar beet provides around one third of the sugar consumed worldwide and serves as a significant source of bioenergy. A series of laboratory experiments suggests that the transporter BvTST2.1 is responsible for sucrose uptake in the vacuoles of sugar beet taproots.

    • Benjamin Jung
    • , Frank Ludewig
    • , Alexander Schulz
    • , Garvin Meißner
    • , Nicole Wöstefeld
    • , Ulf-Ingo Flügge
    • , Benjamin Pommerrenig
    • , Petra Wirsching
    • , Norbert Sauer
    • , Wolfgang Koch
    • , Frederik Sommer
    • , Timo Mühlhaus
    • , Michael Schroda
    • , Tracey Ann Cuin
    • , Dorothea Graus
    • , Irene Marten
    • , Rainer Hedrich
    •  & H. Ekkehard Neuhaus
  • Article |

    Rubisco catalyses the conversion of atmospheric CO2 to organic compounds in photosynthetic organisms. Biochemical and structural analyses suggest that a selective sugar phosphatase found in plants and algae degrades a potent Rubisco inhibitor.

    • Andreas Bracher
    • , Anurag Sharma
    • , Amanda Starling-Windhof
    • , F. Ulrich Hartl
    •  & Manajit Hayer-Hartl
  • Article |

    Plants perceive UVB from sunlight. For this, Arabidopsis thaliana use the receptor UVR8. Dynamic crystallography reveals early signalling structural events and intermediates between the homodimeric (inactive) and monomeric (active) states of UVR8.

    • Xiaoli Zeng
    • , Zhong Ren
    • , Qi Wu
    • , Jun Fan
    • , Pan-Pan Peng
    • , Kun Tang
    • , Ruiqin Zhang
    • , Kai-Hong Zhao
    •  & Xiaojing Yang