While compiling this week's email, I had a drop-out in my internet connection. I stopped writing the email and reconnected after half an hour. I thought, because the email was in my browser, it was also in the mailing system. However, the system only picked up the parts of the email I edited after reconnecting. So I've learned something new this week. I've also found I can't send more than 2000 emails a day - which is why the corrected version is a little late.
Next week's email might be from this system or I might migrate everything to Substack, depending on how difficult that is in a week. Either way, I hope the full email will be with you next Monday.
From Botany One
Genetic structure of the riparian invasive tree Robinia pseudoacacia
Can a better understanding of invasive tree migration help to improve management practices of riparian ecosystems?
Quantification of pasture ground cover and botanical composition for sustainable grazing management
A combination of high resolution multi-spectral imagery and supervised learning effectively distinguishes between pasture species and seasonal changes in botanical composition.
Fungal highways for P-solubilizing bacteria
New study in New Phytologist reveals that nutrient-solubilising bacteria can travel on fungi hyphae if the fungi provides a source of energy.
Flowering time likely an important driver of speciation in South African Restionaceae
Allochrony is one of few ways for wind-pollinated species to achieve reproductive isolation.
Research uncovers a gene that gives pollen grains their unique shapes
The mysterious and complex patterns on pollen walls may self-organise – and far earlier than expected.
Merlin’s magnificent mushroom masterpiece
A fascinating book examines fungi not as something apart from the rest of the world, but as something intertwined with other life on the planet.
A much-needed guide to Being Well
A timely book provides a guide to support for people throughout academia in troubled times.
News and Views
Why I'm feeling hopeful about the environment in 2021
"This year, 2021, a number of things are coming together to help achieve a low-carbon future. In 25 years of reporting the environment patch I've never been so convinced that the world has the potential to change."
Sticking to its roots: fighting to save the sweet potato’s identity
Sweet potato is facing the threat of a change to its scientific name, Ipomoea batatas, which would cause a huge amount of disruption and cost to the food industry.
Déontologie, intégrité scientifique et éthique des projets de recherche: des valeurs soutenues par un dispositif opérationnel
Engagé dans une démarche d’amélioration continue de ses pratiques professionnelles au service de l’intérêt général, INRAE réaffirme sa mobilisation autour des valeurs de déontologie, d’intégrité scientifique et d’éthique par l’adoption d’une charte tout juste un an après sa naissance.
Committed to a process of continuous improvement of its professional practices in the service of the general interest, INRAE reaffirms its mobilization around the values of deontology, scientific integrity and ethics by adopting a charter just one year after birth
In memoriam Michel Morelet 1938-2020
It is with great sadness that we inform you that our esteemed colleague Michel Morelet passed away on December 20, 2020 in Nancy in his 83rd year.
UMR Interactions Arbres-Microorganismes
Never too late: how a retired teacher's 'fungi hobby' led to her finding 20 new species
At the age of 58, after decades of working as a teacher, Pamela Catcheside retrained as a researcher, transforming a lifelong passion into a career
The regulation of genetic technologies
The UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has opened a public consultation about the regulation of genetic technologies.
Gene editing of crops and livestock may soon be permitted in England
Government has launched consultation to change current strict EU rules
Food for thought? French bean plants show signs of intent, say scientists
Many botanists dispute idea of plant sentience, but study of climbing beans sows seed of doubt
2021 Maize Genetics Cooperation
You are invited to participate in the 63rd Annual Maize Genetics Meeting. The meeting will be held virtually on March 8-12 2021. Registration and abstract submission are now live.
A five-transgene cassette confers broad-spectrum resistance to a fungal rust pathogen in wheat
Luo et al. generate polygenic Pgt resistance by introducing a transgene cassette of five resistance genes into bread wheat as a single locus and show that at least four of the five genes are functional. These wheat lines are resistant to aggressive and highly virulent Pgt isolates from around the world and show very high levels of resistance in the field. The simple monogenic inheritance of this multigene locus greatly simplifies its use in breeding. However, a new Pgt isolate with virulence to several genes at this locus suggests gene stacks will need strategic deployment to maintain their effectiveness.
Monolingual searches can limit and bias results in global literature reviews
Haddaway and colleagues recently published a Perspective1 in Nature Ecology & Evolution aimed at improving the process of evidence synthesis in ecology. However, Nuñez & Amano highlight a key issue absent from this Perspective, particularly from the discussion of publication bias: the need to search and analyse literature in multiple languages.
Nature Ecology & Evolution
Horizontal genome transfer by cell-to-cell travel of whole organelles
Hertle et al. used grafting to identify the mechanisms involved in plastid genome transfer from plant to plant. They show that during proliferation of wound-induced callus, plastids dedifferentiate into small, highly motile, amoeboid organelles. Simultaneously, new intercellular connections emerge by localized cell wall disintegration, forming connective pores through which amoeboid plastids move into neighboring cells.
Forest Management Under Megadrought: Urgent Needs at Finer-Scale and Higher-Intensity
Field et al. identify potential anticipatory and/or concurrent options for non-timber forest management actions under megadrought, which by necessity are focused more at finer spatial scales such as the stand level using higher-intensity management. These management actions build on silvicultural practices focused on growth and yield (but not harvest).
Frontiers in Forests and Global Change
The evolutionary history of sedges (Cyperaceae) in Madagascar - Larridon
The biogeographical history of Cyperaceae in Madagascar is a chronicle of relatively recent multiple in and out processes of long‐distance dispersal colonizations constrained by distance. Also, the Madagascar region is not only a ‘sink’ for immigrant taxa, in situ diversification and dispersal to other regions also occurred. Some of the most diverse endemic lineages show clear adaptation to local environments.
Journal of Biogeography
Proposal to change the conserved type of Ipomoea, nom. cons. (Convolvulaceae)
Biologists propose changing the type of Ipomea, in order to preserve the name of sweet potato. Ipomoea batatas (L.)
CcLBD25 functions as a key regulator of haustorium development in Cuscuta campestris
Jhu et al. analyzed the transcriptome of six C. campestris tissues and identified a key gene, CcLBD25, as highly expressed in prehaustoria and haustoria. Their gene co-expression networks (GCN) from different tissue types and laser-capture microdissection (LCM) RNA-Seq data indicate that CcLBD25 could be essential for regulating cell wall loosening and organogenesis.
Antiviral activity of bacterial TIR domains via signaling molecules that trigger cell death
Ofir et al. report that phage infection triggers Thoeris TIR-domain proteins to produce an isomer of cyclic ADP-ribose. This molecular signal activates a second protein, ThsA, which then depletes the cell of the essential molecule nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and leads to abortive infection and cell death.
A New Species of Goniopteris (Thelypteridaceae) from Hispaniola
Goniopteris baorucensis, a species known only from the Sierra Baoruco in the southern Dominican Republic, is illustrated and described as new to science. Recent phylogenetic studies have inferred it as a member of a clade of predominantly calciphilic Goniopteris that are largely endemic to the Antilles.
A digital 3D reference atlas reveals cellular growth patterns shaping the Arabidopsis ovule
Using machine-learning-based digital image analysis, Vijayan et al. generated a three-dimensional atlas of ovule development in Arabidopsis thaliana, enabling the quantitative spatio-temporal analysis of cellular and gene expression patterns with cell and tissue resolution. They discovered novel morphological manifestations of ovule polarity, a new mode of cell layer formation, and previously unrecognized subepidermal cell populations that initiate ovule curvature.
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