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The Week in Botany 186

February 8, 2021

Here's another round-up of the things shared by people following @botanyone on Twitter. There were quite a few jobs come up this week. Otherwise it's been a notably quiet week. It's the first time in a long while where a political story hasn't been among the most shared links. It feels like how you can feel deaf when a whining noise in the background that you've been ignoring stops.
Until next week, stay safe.
Alun (

From Botany One

Spreading the risk over time - Dormancy in trimorphic achenes of a cold desert annual
Do variations in dormancy and germination across achenes from peripheral, intermediate and central positions contribute to the success of the cold desert annual Heteracia szovitsii?

Coffee and the Leaf Economics Spectrum: size matters
Martin and Issac quantified size-dependent variation in eight leaf traits in a single coffee genotype (Coffea arabica var. Caturra) in managed agroecosystems.

Is shattering in Aegilops longissima controlled by overlapping gene expression?
Study authors argue that suppression of one or both genes in different regions of the rachis prevented disarticulation.

Settling the debate: Plum 'yews' are in a separate family to yews
New genomic study assembled the plastid genomes of plum yews to understand their evolution.

Clonal female populations dominate the tropical herb genus, Hanguana
Can apomixis explain the distribution of Hanguana individuals in Singapore?

How much nitrogen does rice need to produce high yields?
Researchers use 3D modelling of rice canopies to determine how nitrogen availability affects photosynthetic productivity.

Lomas microrefugia subject to random, but not function-based losses due to lowered rainfall
The finding bodes well for the survival of Lomas communities in the Atacama Desert under future climate change.

Population genetics may unlock the origins of living cycad specimens
The strategy may pave the way for reintroduction work in the future.

News and Views

Assistant Professor - Evolutionary Ecologist
The Department of Biology at the University of Louisville invites applications for a tenure-track position at the Assistant Professor level to begin August 1, 2021
University of Louisville

Research Assistant II (Tree Conservation Biology)
Are you interested in using genomics, bioinformatics, and plant ecology for actionable conservation? The Hoban Lab at The Morton Arboretum is hiring a two-year Research Assistant in Tree Conservation Biology.
The Morton Arboretum

World Wetlands Day: Wetlands and Water
In this blog post, Associate Editor Chloe Robinson, will explore why wetlands are so important and the new DNA-based methods being used to monitor wetland health.

Junior Professorship in Environmental Remote Sensing
The Junior Professorship in Environmental Remote Sensing offers within a DFG-funded project and an EU-funded project from April 1, 2021 a project position as Research Associate / Postdoc for a duration of 3 years. The DFG-funded project investigates the influence of vegetation changes on the carbon cycle in northern ecosystems. The EU-funded project aims to develop a strategy for the management of wildfire risks in Europe.
TU Dresden

Data integration enables global biodiversity synthesis
Study of more than 4,000 papers relying on GBIF-mediated data shows that sharing biodiversity data freely and openly enables global research at multiple scales spanning disciplinary boundaries
Global Biodiversity Information Facility

This Flower Is Really a Fungus in Disguise
In Guyanese savannas, a fungus infects grasslike plants, sterilizes them and produces bizarre all-fungal “flower” doppelgängers
Scientific American

Postdoctoral Fellow - Clubroot pathogen
Our Lab at the department of Plant Sciences of Université Laval is hiring a postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Dr. Edel Pérez López

Invasive Insects and Diseases Are Killing Our Forests
America wasn’t ready for the pandemic. And it isn’t ready for the next contagion to strike our woodlands.
The New York Times

“How to Read a Scientific Paper” and “Case Study: Reading a Plant Physiology article”
One of the most important skills a young scientist needs to learn is how to read (and write) scientific papers.

Scientific Papers

Perception of a divergent family of phytocytokines by the Arabidopsis receptor kinase MIK2
Rhodes et al. report that the Arabidopsis leucine-rich repeat receptor kinase LRR-RK MALE DISCOVERER 1-INTERACTING RECEPTOR LIKE KINASE 2 (MIK2) is the receptor for the SERINE RICH ENDOGENOUS PEPTIDE (SCOOP) phytocytokines. MIK2 is necessary and sufficient for immune responses triggered by multiple SCOOP peptides, suggesting that MIK2 is the receptor for this divergent family of peptides.
Nature Communications

Natural variation in temperature-modulated immunity uncovers transcription factor bHLH059 as a thermoresponsive regulator in Arabidopsis thaliana
Bruessow et al. uncover variation between Arabidopsis thaliana natural accessions in response to two non-stress temperatures (22°C and 16°C) affecting accumulation of the thermoresponsive stress hormone salicylic acid (SA) and plant growth. Analysis of differentially responding A. thaliana accessions shows that pre-existing SA provides a benefit in limiting infection by Pseudomonas syringae pathovar tomato DC3000 bacteria at both temperatures.
PLOS Genetics

RefPlantNLR: a comprehensive collection of experimentally validated plant NLRs
Kourelis et al. used RefPlantNLR to determine the canonical features of functionally validated plant NLRs and to benchmark the five most popular NLR annotation tools. This revealed that although NLR annotation tools tend to retrieve the majority of NLRs, they frequently produce domain architectures that are inconsistent with the RefPlantNLR annotation.

Bryophytes are not early diverging land plants
Phylogenetic trees have permeated biology. However, an understanding of how to interpret phylogenies has lagged behind, notably in publications outside of evolutionary biology. McDaniel argues that some language commonly used in plant systematics has contributed to the confusion by describing phylogenetic trees using intuitive but misleading terms reminiscent of Aristotle’s Scala Natura. These terms (perhaps inadvertently) misrepresent evolution, not as a process acting on all living species, but rather as a progression of successively diverging lineages leading to a group that represents a subjectively defined endpoint.
New Phytologist

Evolution of the bread wheat D-subgenome and enriching it with diversity from Aegilops tauschii
Gaurav et al. characterized a rare, geographically-restricted lineage of Aegilops tauschii and discovered that it contributed to the wheat D-subgenome, thereby elucidating the origin of bread wheat from at least two independent hybridizations. We then used k-mer-based association mapping to identify discrete genomic regions with candidate genes for disease and pest resistance and demonstrated their functional transfer into wheat by transgenesis and wide crossing, including the generation of a library of ‘synthetic’ hexaploids incorporating diverse Ae. tauschii genomes.

On tree longevity
The growth plasticity and modularity of trees can then be viewed as an evolutionary advantage that allows them to survive and reproduce for centuries and millennia. As more and more scientific information is systematically collected on tree ages under various ecological settings, it is becoming clear that tree longevity is a key trait for global syntheses of life history strategies, especially in connection with disturbance regimes and their possible future modifications.
New Phytologist

Long Branch Attraction Biases in Phylogenetics
Long branch attraction is a prevalent form of bias in phylogenetic estimation but the reasons for it are only partially understood. Susko and Roger argue that it is largely due to differences in the sizes of the model spaces corresponding to different trees.
Systematic Biology

Repeated evolution of a reproductive polyphenism in plants is strongly associated with bilateral flower symmetry
Joly and Schoen combined the largest datasets on floral symmetry and cleistogamy and used phylogenetic approaches to show that cleistogamy is disproportionately associated with zygomorphic flowers and that zygomorphic species are more likely to evolve cleistogamy than actinomorphic species.
Current Biology


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