Volume 1 Issue 2 February 2015

Volume 1 Issue 2

Two-pronged attack

Wheat ears from plants with a mutation in the PHOTOPERIOD DEPENDENT 1 (Ppd-1) gene. Many of the spikelets of these mutant plants are 'paired' producing two grains rather than the usual one. Ppd-1 acts by regulating the expression of FLOWERING LOCUS T. By modulating the expression of these two genes it may be possible to improve grain-producing spikelets and crop yield.

See Boden et al. 1, 14016

S. Whitham from picture by S. Boden, CSIRO - Agriculture Flagship, Canberra, Australia.

Editorial

  • Editorial |

    People have learned much from being fed, clothed, sheltered and medicated by plants over millennia. Such traditional knowledge can yield practical discoveries and an understanding of our societies.

Comment

  • Comment |

    Buried in a notebook from his undergraduate days lie Newton's musings on the movement of sap in trees. Viewed in conjunction with our modern understanding of plant hydrodynamics, his speculations seem prescient.

    • David J. Beerling

Books and Arts

Research Highlights

News and Views

  • News and Views |

    Transposons are a major component of many plant genomes. A comparison of two related species differing in genome size and transposon content provides an opportunity to study how transposons contribute to shaping the genome and epigenome.

    • Nathan M. Springer
  • News and Views |

    Asymmetric cell divisions establish the patterning of stomata in maize. PAN receptor-like kinases were thought to start a signalling cascade leading to pre-mitotic polarization of the cell. Re-analysis of mutants now reveals that the SCAR/WAVE complex is involved in the early initiation of polarity in mother cells.

    • Laura Serna
  • News and Views |

    The development of a new jasmonate reporter further extends the tools that add greater detail to the investigation of plant hormones. Such reporters for the various types of plant hormones, exploiting different aspects of their activity, will help us to eventually study hormone signalling, distribution and dynamics in intact tissue.

    • Rainer Waadt
  • News and Views |

    Modulating the expression of two flowering-genes can be used to produce wheat spikes with modified spikelet arrangement and higher grain number.

    • Fathey Sarhan

Research

  • Article |

    The United States is one of the largest soybean exporters in the world. An analysis of meteorological and field-trial data spanning the past 20 years suggests that climatic changes have reduced US soybean yields by around 30%.

    • Spyridon Mourtzinis
    • , James E. Specht
    • , Laura E. Lindsey
    • , William J. Wiebold
    • , Jeremy Ross
    • , Emerson D. Nafziger
    • , Herman J. Kandel
    • , Nathan Mueller
    • , Philip L. Devillez
    • , Francisco J. Arriaga
    •  & Shawn P. Conley
  • Article |

    Closely related plant species can have drastically different abundances of transposable elements. Now it is shown that the genome of Arabis alpina has experienced a striking expansion of retrotransposons, probably shaped by reduced DNA methylation.

    • Eva-Maria Willing
    • , Vimal Rawat
    • , Terezie Mandáková
    • , Florian Maumus
    • , Geo Velikkakam James
    • , Karl J.V. Nordström
    • , Claude Becker
    • , Norman Warthmann
    • , Claudia Chica
    • , Bogna Szarzynska
    • , Matthias Zytnicki
    • , Maria C. Albani
    • , Christiane Kiefer
    • , Sara Bergonzi
    • , Loren Castaings
    • , Julieta L. Mateos
    • , Markus C. Berns
    • , Nora Bujdoso
    • , Thomas Piofczyk
    • , Laura de Lorenzo
    • , Cristina Barrero-Sicilia
    • , Isabel Mateos
    • , Mathieu Piednoël
    • , Jörg Hagmann
    • , Romy Chen-Min-Tao
    • , Raquel Iglesias-Fernández
    • , Stephan C. Schuster
    • , Carlos Alonso-Blanco
    • , François Roudier
    • , Pilar Carbonero
    • , Javier Paz-Ares
    • , Seth J. Davis
    • , Ales Pecinka
    • , Hadi Quesneville
    • , Vincent Colot
    • , Martin A. Lysak
    • , Detlef Weigel
    • , George Coupland
    •  & Korbinian Schneeberger
  • Article |

    By genetic studies the authors report a gene, Ppd-1, which controls paired spikelet development in wheat by regulating the expression of FT. Modulating the expression of Ppd-1 and FT can be used to improve grain-producing spikelets in wheat.

    • Scott A. Boden
    • , Colin Cavanagh
    • , Brian R. Cullis
    • , Kerrie Ramm
    • , Julian Greenwood
    • , E. Jean Finnegan
    • , Ben Trevaskis
    •  & Steve M. Swain
  • Article |

    Asymmetric cell divisions establish the patterning of stomata in maize. Here it is demonstrated that the SCAR/WAVE complex and actin networks are involved in the early polarity establishment of PAN's receptor-like kinases in mother cells before division.

    • Michelle R. Facette
    • , Yeri Park
    • , Dena Sutimantanapi
    • , Anding Luo
    • , Heather N. Cartwright
    • , Bing Yang
    • , Eric J. Bennett
    • , Anne W. Sylvester
    •  & Laurie G. Smith