Volume 4

  • No. 12 December 2018

    Cold calling

    Many plants time their flowering by measuring the presence and duration of winter. The mechanism of this vernalisation is quite well established, but comparisons with diverse plants inform how this is tailored to specific lifestyles.

    See Xu, S. & Chong, K.

  • No. 11 November 2018

    Genetic colour code

    Most oranges and other cultivated citrus fruits tend to have light yellow or green flesh. But different abilities to synthesise anthocyanin produce different colours, controlled by the Ruby2–Ruby1 gene cluster.

    See Huang, D. et al.

  • No. 10 October 2018

    Flowering outside the lab

    The cycle of night and day is not as simple as turning a light off and on. Continuously adjusting temperature and the intensity and quality of light affecting growing plants, produces more realistic phenotypes and reveals subtle controls on flowering.

    See Song, Y.H. et al.

  • No. 9 September 2018

    Wall building with rhamnosyltransferase

    The enzyme RRT1 is involved in the biosynthesis of rhamnogalacturonan I, one of the major domains of pectin, and belongs to a newly defined glycosyltransferase family. Plants such as Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) are rich in rhamnogalacturonan I.

    See Takenaka, Y. et al.

  • No. 8 August 2018

    Root cap renovation

    The root cap is a multi-layered shield that protects the root apical meristem. Its maintenance relies on coordinated production and shedding of cell layers.

    See Shi, C.-L. et al.

  • No. 7 July 2018

    Fern relationships

    Ferns are closely related to flowering plants but remain much less studied. Genome sequences of two ferns help redress this imbalance, and illuminate their mechanisms of defence and nitrogen fixation.

    See Li et al.

  • No. 6 June 2018

    Stigmata senescence

    Flowers are only available for pollination for a few days at best. In Arabidopsis two transcription factors, KIRA1 and ORESARA1, control the death of papilla cells of the stigma and so its life span.

    See Gao et al.

  • No. 5 May 2018

    Living with stress

    Rice plants react to stressful conditions with degeneration of apical spikelets, leading to losses in yield. The trigger for this is a stress sensor, IRE1, in the endoplasmic reticulum. The response of this sensor can be ‘fine-tuned’ by the survival factor, SPL6.

    See Wang et al.

  • No. 4 April 2018

    Limiting Factor

    The plant meristem is maintained by feedback between a series of receptors and their ligands. This also involves co-receptors such as the CIK receptor kinases. Mutant plants lacking CIKs develop unconstrained meristems.

    See Hu et al.

  • No. 3 March 2018

    Sourcing viral silencing

    Viruses can cause severe damage to infected plants but, in some plants, leaves can recover while still containing infectious, replicating virus. Tolerant leaves act as physiological sources of antiviral siRNAs to protect the rest of the plant.

    See Kørner et al.

  • No. 2 February 2018

    Grain picking in the green Sahara

    Wild cereals, weeds in modern agriculture, are traditional food plants in subsistence economies. Early Holocene millet and sorghum seeds from central Sahara provide early evidence of cultivation without domestication by African foragers.

    See Mercuri et al.

  • No. 1 January 2018

    Fast-forward food

    Rapid development of crop varieties is hampered by the slow breeding times of crop plants. Manipulating the light regime within controlled environment rooms can at least halve generation times of a range of crops and their wild relatives.

    See Watson et al.