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Volume 2 Issue 8, August 2016

Dry fate

Farnesylation is a relatively common post-translational modification of proteins that can alter their function. For example, plants lacking a farnesylation site on a specific cytochrome p450 enzyme are more tolerant of drought.

See Nature Plants 2, 16114 (2016).

Image: Siyu Liang                   Cover Design: S. Whitham


  • Science is not a solo endeavour but a social one, and the most social part is conference attendance. Regardless of their other strengths and weaknesses, scientific meetings are critical for encouraging researchers early in their careers.



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Research Highlights

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News & Views

  • A detailed phylogenetic study now shows that there is a compelling association between polyploidy and domestication, and that polyploidy more frequently occurs before domestication.

    • Zhou Fang
    • Peter L. Morrell
    News & Views
  • Restoration of damaged ecosystems usually involves fairly crude techniques. A new study suggests that the use of soil inocula can ‘design’ new target communities more subtly.

    • Robert H. Marrs
    News & Views
  • Roots must sort the good from the bad and distinguish the inside from the outside. In endodermal cells, a ring-like apoplastic diffusion barrier called the Casparian strip is established, splitting the cells down the middle into inner and outer lateral halves. Its integrity and polarity depends on a novel protein kinase called SCHENGEN1.

    • Silvia Melina Velasquez
    • Jürgen Kleine-Vehn
    News & Views
  • The fitness costs of individual resistance (R) genes detected in previous studies suggest an impossibly high genetic load associated with disease resistance, if true for all R genes. However, new research shows that Arabidopsis plants with resistant Rps2 are no less fit than those with a susceptible Rps2 allele in the absence of disease.

    • Anna-Liisa Laine
    News & Views
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  • Dioecious species (those that have distinct male and female plants) are particularly vulnerable to climate change because male and female plants may be spatially segregated and specialized. Female plants will be more impacted by increasing aridity, especially in long-lived species in regions experiencing dramatic climate change. This could lead to an overabundance of male plants at the expense of females in a large number of populations.

    • Kevin R. Hultine
    • Kevin C. Grady
    • Thomas G. Whitham
    Review Article
  • 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
    • Michael J. Considine

    Nature Outlook:

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