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The Week in Botany 187

February 15, 2021

Here's another collection of the links shared by people following @botanyone on Twitter. I also have a reminder that free registration is open for the Kew/BGCI reforestation conference until Friday. It's important to remember that reforestation starts with a 'r' not a 'd' - otherwise you might send out an embarrassing tweet promoting the conference.
Another interesting conference I've seen coming up is the BGCI Anthropology and Conservation Virtual Conference. That's currently at the call for panel proposals stage, so I don't think that will be happening soon, but it's worth keeping an eye on.
In the meantime I'll be keeping an eye on the stories you're sharing on Twitter and be back with another selection next week. Until then, take care.
Alun (

From Botany One

Connecting soil nitrogen and gypsy moth herbivory in a US oak forest
Can a better understanding of ecosystem nitrogen cycling allow us to more accurately predict invasive insect outbreaks?

Computer models using remote sensing data accurately predict crop yield
Combing new tools for the rapid advancement of genetic gain in sorghum breeding programs.

Basal orchid cheats on its fungal partner
Apostasia nipponica is the first member of the early-diverging orchid clade found to be using this strategy.

The Rules of Reforestation
Ten golden rules might sound simple, but reforestation is a bit more complicated than that.

The nickel hyperaccumulators of Borneo
Are patterns of tissue-level nickel distribution different in phylogenetically distant hyperaccumulator species on the island of Borneo?

Hungry for fungi: green mycoheterotrophic plants are far more common than previously thought
A surprising number of plants snack on fungi as well as sunshine.

Why are leaves always flat?
A new model uncovers the possible mechanisms underlying the robustness of flat leaf production.

News and Views

PhD candidate 'Seedling establishment under stress'
Are you interested to find out how plants deal with stress? Are you fascinated by the way young seedlings can sense and respond to their light environment? Do you wish to unravel the physiological and molecular pathways underlying developmental adaptations? And do you like working in a multicultural, interdisciplinary and exciting scientific environment? We are searching for an enthusiastic and motivated PhD candidate to work on an interdisciplinary project to study the impact of salt stress on seedling establishment and development in darkness and light.

A Newly Described Fungus That Mimics Flowers
Imagine there was a fungus that was able to hijack human reproductive structures so that it could reproduce. Though this sounds like the basis of a strange science fiction story, a similar situation to this has just been described from Guyana between two species of yellow-eyed grass (Xyris setigera & X. surinamensis) and a newly described species of fungus called Fusarium xyrophilum.
In Defense of Plants

Tree Mortality and Forest Recovery Following Unprecedented Drought and Bushfires
The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE)(opens in new window) at Western Sydney University within Western Sydney University is looking for a highly motivated and qualified candidate for a 3-year PhD commencing in early 2021. The project will contribute to our understanding of patterns of tree mortality and forest recovery following severe drought and bushfires.
Western Sydney University

Postdoc in Forest Ecology, Remote Sensing, and Modeling at UCLA
The Ordway lab in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA is seeking highly motivated postdoctoral researchers to join the Forest Ecosystems & Global Change group.

Milestones in Genomic Sequencing
Includes Arabidopsis thaliana, Oryza sativa and some organisms of niche interest.

World Pulses Day
World Pulses Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses and their contribution to sustainable food systems and a world without hunger.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

I2P International Internship Program Structured Internship Program
The International Internship Program (I2P) of the GMI is for students interested in doing a PhD.  I2P is a structured internship program that provides promising young scientists the opportunity to carry out cutting-edge research at one of Europe’s leading life science research centers.  Interns will be fully integrated into a research group and will be an important part of the GMI community.
The Gregor Mendel Institute

Bill Gates on CGIAR and Adapting to a Warmer World
Climate change is going to force us to consider entirely new needs.

EU's refusal to permit GMO crops led to millions of tonnes of additional CO2, scientists reveal
Europe’s refusal to permit its farmers to cultivate genetically engineered (GE) crops led to the avoidable emission of millions of tonnes of climate-damaging carbon dioxide, a new scientific analysis reveals.
Alliance for Science

Scientific Papers

The mop1 mutation affects the recombination landscape in maize
Zhao et al. found that the mop1 mutation removes CHH (where H = A, T, or C) methylation that is immediately adjacent to sites of frequent recombination in both chromosomal arms and pericentromeric regions. They further found that the mop1 mutation increased meiotic recombination frequencies in chromosomal arms but decreased them in pericentromeric regions.

Bryophytes are not early diverging land plants
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.
New Phytologist

Botanical Monography in the Anthropocene
For centuries, botanical monographs — comprehensive systematic treatments of a family or genus — have been the gold standard for disseminating scientific information to accelerate research. The lack of a monograph compounds the risk that undiscovered species become extinct before they can be studied and conserved. Grace et al. recommend best practices to complete monographs urgently, especially for tropical plant groups under imminent threat or with expected socioeconomic benefits.
Trends in Plant Science

Single cell gene regulatory networks in plants: opportunities for enhancing climate change stress resilience
Tripathi and Wilkins report on recent advances in experimental and analytical methodologies for single cell sequencing assays especially as they have been applied to the study of plants. They highlight recent advances and ongoing challenges for scGRN prediction, and finally, they highlight the opportunity to use scGRN discovery for studying and ultimately enhancing abiotic stress resilience in plants.
Plant, Cell & Environment

Branched-chain amino acid aminotransferase TaBCAT1 modulates amino acid metabolism and positively regulates wheat rust susceptibility
RNA-seq analysis of 68 pathogen-infected bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) varieties, including three (Oakley, Solstice and Santiago) with variable levels of susceptibility, uncovered a branched-chain amino acid aminotransferase (termed TaBCAT1) as a positive regulator of wheat rust susceptibility. Corredor-Moreno et al. show that TaBCAT1 is required for yellow and stem rust infection and likely functions in branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) metabolism, as TaBCAT1 disruption mutants had elevated BCAA levels.
The Plant Cell

Jasmonate biosynthesis arising from altered cell walls is prompted by turgor-driven mechanical compression
Mielke et al. provide compelling genetic evidence that mechanical and osmotic regulation of turgor pressure represents a key elicitor of jasmonoyl-isoleucine (JA-Ile) biosynthesis. After identifying cell wall mutant alleles in KORRIGAN1 (KOR1) with elevated JA-Ile in seedling roots, we found that ectopic JA-Ile resulted from cell nonautonomous signals deriving from enlarged cortex cells compressing inner tissues and stimulating JA-Ile production.
Science Advances

A molecular framework for control of oriented cell division in the Arabidopsis embryo
Vaddepalli et al. show that auxin-dependent division plane control involves alterations in cell geometry, but not in cell polarity or nuclear position. Through transcriptome profiling, they find that auxin regulates genes controlling cell wall and cytoskeleton properties. They confirm the involvement of microtubule (MT)-binding proteins in embryo division control.

The population genomics of adaptive loss of function
Grey Monroe et al. examine the evolutionary dynamics of adaptive loss of function through the lens of population genomics and consider the challenges and opportunities of studying adaptive loss-of-function alleles using population genetics models. They discuss how the theoretically expected existence of allelic heterogeneity, defined as multiple functionally analogous mutations at the same locus, has proven consistent with empirical evidence and why this impedes both the detection of selection and causal relationships with phenotypes.

Xylem network connectivity and embolism spread in grapevine(Vitis vinifera L.)
Xylem networks of grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) were reconstructed from 3D high-resolution X-ray micro-computed tomography (microCT) images. Xylem network performance was then modeled to simulate loss of hydraulic conductivity under increasingly negative xylem sap pressure simulating drought stress conditions.
Plant Physiology


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