Volume 2 Issue 10 October 2016

Volume 2 Issue 10

Dark heritage

The African or black rice (Oryza glaberrima), grown by the Maroons of Suriname to honour the staple food of their enslaved ancestors who escaped from plantations to settle in the rainforest, remains genetically similar to landraces in western Ivory Coast, where slave traders purchased both rice and enslaved Africans in the 1760s.

See Nature Plants 2, 16149 (2016).

Image: C. van der Hoeven Cover Design: S. Whitham

Editorial

  • Editorial |

    Scientific investigation is often a reductive process involving precise experiments in artificial environments. Perhaps some advice from a romantic poet will help to avoid the pitfalls of too narrow a view of plant research.

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News and Views |

    A new sequencing study in Arabidopsis lyrata permits comparison of imprinted genes with the closely related A. thaliana and furthers our understanding of both the proximate and ultimate causes of genomic imprinting.

    • Manus M. Patten

Research

  • Article |

    A proof-of-concept study developed and validated a high-accuracy model to predict traits based on genotypes using data from a set of sorghum accessions, demonstrating a global strategy to assess and utilize the valuable germplasms in gene banks.

    • Xiaoqing Yu
    • , Xianran Li
    • , Tingting Guo
    • , Chengsong Zhu
    • , Yuye Wu
    • , Sharon E. Mitchell
    • , Kraig L. Roozeboom
    • , Donghai Wang
    • , Ming Li Wang
    • , Gary A. Pederson
    • , Tesfaye T. Tesso
    • , Patrick S. Schnable
    • , Rex Bernardo
    •  & Jianming Yu
  • Letter |

    A population genomics study reveals a high similarity between a New World landrace of African rice and an Ivory Coast landrace. Together with diaries from captains of slave ships, the evidence presented traces the ancestry of the New World rice to its African origin.

    • Tinde R. van Andel
    • , Rachel S. Meyer
    • , Saulo A. Aflitos
    • , Judith A. Carney
    • , Margaretha A. Veltman
    • , Dario Copetti
    • , Jonathan M. Flowers
    • , Reinout M. Havinga
    • , Harro Maat
    • , Michael D. Purugganan
    • , Rod A. Wing
    •  & M. Eric Schranz
  • Article |

    Small RNAs (sRNAs) expressed in plants that target the Dicer-like (DCLs) genes of a fungal pathogen are shown to effectively silence the fungal DCLs and reduce pathogenicity after being taken up, demonstrating fungus–plant sRNA trafficking and a new approach for fungus control.

    • Ming Wang
    • , Arne Weiberg
    • , Feng-Mao Lin
    • , Bart P. H. J. Thomma
    • , Hsien-Da Huang
    •  & Hailing Jin
  • Letter |

    Fungi are the most prevalent class of plant pathogens, causing many diseases in crops. The authors show that in order to fight against them, plants produce and export miRNAs to silence important fungal genes, reducing the pathogen's virulence.

    • Tao Zhang
    • , Yun-Long Zhao
    • , Jian-Hua Zhao
    • , Sheng Wang
    • , Yun Jin
    • , Zhong-Qi Chen
    • , Yuan-Yuan Fang
    • , Chen-Lei Hua
    • , Shou-Wei Ding
    •  & Hui-Shan Guo
  • Letter |

    New approaches to create site-specific gene replacements and insertions in plants have been developed based on intron-targeting CRISPR/Cas9. These approaches efficiently generate replacements and insertions at the OsEPSPS gene in rice, resulting in glyphosate-resistant plants.

    • Jun Li
    • , Xiangbing Meng
    • , Yuan Zong
    • , Kunling Chen
    • , Huawei Zhang
    • , Jinxing Liu
    • , Jiayang Li
    •  & Caixia Gao
  • Letter |

    Chlamydomonas reinhardtii possesses an atypical violaxanthin de-epoxidase, homologous to a bacterial enzyme rather than plant or algal enzymes with the same function. This illustrates an unexpected diversity of photoprotection mechanisms in the green lineage of photosynthetic organisms.

    • Zhirong Li
    • , Graham Peers
    • , Rachel M. Dent
    • , Yong Bai
    • , Scarlett Y. Yang
    • , Wiebke Apel
    • , Lauriebeth Leonelli
    •  & Krishna K. Niyogi