Volume 2 Issue 6 June 2016

Volume 2 Issue 6

Hybrid vigour

Garden petunias, Petunia hybrida, are possibly the world's favourite bedding plants. The genome sequences of the wild relatives, Petunia axillaris and Petunia inflata, whose hybridization created P. hybrida, document the evolution of the genus, not least the employment of inhibitory RNAs in diversification of its floral patterns and pollination systems.

See Nature Plants 2, 16074 (2016).

Image: Matthew Cuda / Alamy Stock Photo Cover Design: S. Whitham

Editorial

  • Editorial |

    No scientist works in isolation, but not all scientists can inspire the collaborations needed for more modern research. Good mentors have never been more important.

Comment

  • Comment |

    Transgenic biotechnology offers great opportunities for food security. But the potential effects on human health and the environment are a major concern to the public, which hinders the application of the technology. Along with continually implementing rigid biosafety assessment, educating the public is critical for promoting transgenic crops in China.

    • Bao-Rong Lu

    Outlook:

  • Comment |

    The need for GM crops is growing rapidly as a consequence of the overriding priority for the sustainable generation of vastly increased food production. Although demands for energy and raw materials from the bioeconomy remain, they may become eclipsed by the quest for more food.

    • John A. Pickett
  • Comment |

    Boosted by next-generation sequencing technology, there is now an ever-growing list of fully sequenced plant genomes. Recent additions to this list are two presumed ancestors of Petunia hybrida, the most popular bedding plant worldwide. These genome sequences provide new information on a species at a key position in plant phylogeny, and support the use of petunia as a research model plant species.

    • Alexander R. van der Krol
    •  & Richard G. H. Immink

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News and Views |

    The rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis has a chequered and little-understood social history underlying its status as one of the world's most useful plants. Anthropological insight into its history can help to tackle the challenges rubber production will face in the future.

    • Michael R. Dove
  • News and Views |

    Florigen plant hormone is made in the leaf and then travels to the shoot apical meristem to trigger flowering. The phloem-mobile metal-binding protein NaKR1 physically interacts with florigen and mediates its long-distance transport through the sieve element.

    • Ji Hoon Ahn
  • News and Views |

    Lignin is a principal component of plant cell walls and was thought to be mostly produced from L-phenylalanine. A new study in Brachypodium demonstrates that in grasses — a major source of food, livestock feed and biofuels — nearly half of the plant's lignin is actually made through fewer steps via l-tyrosine.

    • Hiroshi A. Maeda
  • News and Views |

    Bread wheat, so-called because of its springy gluten protein that allows dough to rise, accounts for around 90% of global wheat production today. This presents a striking contrast to ancient cuisines based on subsistence farming, which incorporated a diverse range of foods including staple grains.

    • Amy Bogaard

Research

  • Article | | open

    Two high-quality genomes of petunia wild parents reveal two rounds of hexaploidization in the evolution of Petunia lineage and provide insights into the diversity of floral patterns and pollination systems — enhancing the model value of this genus.

    • Aureliano Bombarely
    • , Michel Moser
    • , Avichai Amrad
    • , Manzhu Bao
    • , Laure Bapaume
    • , Cornelius S. Barry
    • , Mattijs Bliek
    • , Maaike R. Boersma
    • , Lorenzo Borghi
    • , Rémy Bruggmann
    • , Marcel Bucher
    • , Nunzio D'Agostino
    • , Kevin Davies
    • , Uwe Druege
    • , Natalia Dudareva
    • , Marcos Egea-Cortines
    • , Massimo Delledonne
    • , Noe Fernandez-Pozo
    • , Philipp Franken
    • , Laurie Grandont
    • , J. S. Heslop-Harrison
    • , Jennifer Hintzsche
    • , Mitrick Johns
    • , Ronald Koes
    • , Xiaodan Lv
    • , Eric Lyons
    • , Diwa Malla
    • , Enrico Martinoia
    • , Neil S. Mattson
    • , Patrice Morel
    • , Lukas A. Mueller
    • , Joëlle Muhlemann
    • , Eva Nouri
    • , Valentina Passeri
    • , Mario Pezzotti
    • , Qinzhou Qi
    • , Didier Reinhardt
    • , Melanie Rich
    • , Katja R. Richert-Pöggeler
    • , Tim P. Robbins
    • , Michael C. Schatz
    • , M. Eric Schranz
    • , Robert C. Schuurink
    • , Trude Schwarzacher
    • , Kees Spelt
    • , Haibao Tang
    • , Susan L. Urbanus
    • , Michiel Vandenbussche
    • , Kitty Vijverberg
    • , Gonzalo H. Villarino
    • , Ryan M. Warner
    • , Julia Weiss
    • , Zhen Yue
    • , Jan Zethof
    • , Francesca Quattrocchio
    • , Thomas L. Sims
    •  & Cris Kuhlemeier
  • Article | | open

    A high-quality rubber tree genome reveals insights into the evolution of rubber biosynthesis and ethylene stimulation in rubber production. Together with transcriptome data, this study provides valuable data for the research and breeding of rubber trees.

    • Chaorong Tang
    • , Meng Yang
    • , Yongjun Fang
    • , Yingfeng Luo
    • , Shenghan Gao
    • , Xiaohu Xiao
    • , Zewei An
    • , Binhui Zhou
    • , Bing Zhang
    • , Xinyu Tan
    • , Hoong-Yeet Yeang
    • , Yunxia Qin
    • , Jianghua Yang
    • , Qiang Lin
    • , Hailiang Mei
    • , Pascal Montoro
    • , Xiangyu Long
    • , Jiyan Qi
    • , Yuwei Hua
    • , Zilong He
    • , Min Sun
    • , Wenjie Li
    • , Xia Zeng
    • , Han Cheng
    • , Ying Liu
    • , Jin Yang
    • , Weimin Tian
    • , Nansheng Zhuang
    • , Rizhong Zeng
    • , Dejun Li
    • , Peng He
    • , Zhe Li
    • , Zhi Zou
    • , Shuangli Li
    • , Chenji Li
    • , Jixiang Wang
    • , Dong Wei
    • , Chao-Qiang Lai
    • , Wei Luo
    • , Jun Yu
    • , Songnian Hu
    •  & Huasun Huang
  • Article |

    FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) is a mobile florigenic signal in plants. But how it moves across long distances through tissues and organs is not very well known. Here the authors show that a protein called NaKR1 regulates the movement of FT in Arabidopsis.

    • Yang Zhu
    • , Lu Liu
    • , Lisha Shen
    •  & Hao Yu
  • Letter |

    One major transition in early plant development is de-etiolation of the young seedling. A retrograde signal from plastids and the light perception pathway converge to antagonistic regulators (ABI4 and HY5) that optimize this transition.

    • Xiumei Xu
    • , Wei Chi
    • , Xuwu Sun
    • , Peiqiang Feng
    • , Hailong Guo
    • , Jing Li
    • , Rongcheng Lin
    • , Congming Lu
    • , Haiyang Wang
    • , Dario Leister
    •  & Lixin Zhang
  • Article |

    Phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) is a key enzyme that connects primary and secondary metabolic pathways. In the grass Brachypodium, one PAL can use tyrosine as a substrate. This bifunctional PTAL enzyme can produce half of the cell wall lignin.

    • Jaime Barros
    • , Juan C. Serrani-Yarce
    • , Fang Chen
    • , David Baxter
    • , Barney J. Venables
    •  & Richard A. Dixon
  • Article |

    As photosynthesis requires water, its transport to and within leaves is a potential determinant of photosynthetic productivity. This comparison of 30 species of Viburnum shows how variations in venation architecture constrain photosynthetic rate.

    • Christine Scoffoni
    • , David S. Chatelet
    • , Jessica Pasquet-kok
    • , Michael Rawls
    • , Michael J. Donoghue
    • , Erika J. Edwards
    •  & Lawren Sack