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The Week in Botany 188

February 22, 2021

Spring is getting closer in the UK. Outside the daffodils have gold bars at the end of green stalks and the first hedgehog of the season has returned to the garden. But there's still a little time to go, and I'm aware that winter is still putting up a fight elsewhere.
Next week I plan to be at Kew's Reforestation conference. If you've not registered, it will still be possible to watch live on YouTube on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I'm expecting to find it interesting. However, it will have competition from other stories shared by people following @botanyone on Twitter. I'll be back with a selection of those next week.
Until then, stay safe.
Alun (webmaster@botany.one)

From Botany One

The impact of climate change on Alpine bryophyte communities
How does 18 years of experimental warming influence the bryophyte communities of sub-arctic heath and meadow ecosystems of northern Sweden?

Leaf composites better than single leaves at capturing species differences
Accurate species prediction depended on adequate sampling and straightforward genetic background.

Transforming crop simulation models into gene-based models
Dynamic crop simulation models can be transformed into gene-based models by replacing an existing process module with a gene-based module for simulating the same process.

Historical trends in herbarium specimens could cause misleading observations
Extra care should be taken to avoid misinterpretation of data when looking at centuries-spanning specimens.

Pitfalls between fungus gnats and plant pitchers
Dr Tetsuya Matsumoto and colleagues investigated three pollination barriers (geography, time, pollinator species) amongst five Arisaema species along an altitudinal gradient at a Japanese skiing resort.

Colder temperatures better for long-term maize seed storage
Seeds were found to vary from one accession to the next in their cold storage longevity.

VfODB, a comprehensive database for faba bean improvement
Presenting a new open-access genomic database for marker assisted breeding of Vicia faba.

A new spin on Darwin’s “abominable mystery”
Darwin may indeed not have been referring to angiosperms broadly in his famous words to his friend.

Reducing sorghum water stress during drought
A new study uses drought patterns, sowing date, and genotype phenology to reduce sorghum water stress during critical stages.



News and Views

Tunable crops are just a spray away
The genetic control of crop growth and behaviour can be modified through traditional plant breeding or genetic engineering, but is fixed once a variety is sown. New spray-on viral transfection technology can transiently alter gene expression to fine-tune agronomic traits within the season while avoiding modifications to the genome.
Nature Plants

Converging Digital Specimens and Extended Specimens: Towards a global specification for data integration
The consultation aims to expand participation in the process, build support for further collaboration, identify key use cases, and develop an initial roadmap for community adoption and implementation.
Global Biodiversity Information Facility

Current job openings
There are a couple of post doc openings at Rillig Lab.
Freie Universität Berlin

Floral find confirms new tree species in Príncipe
Deep in the forests of Príncipe, off the west coast of Africa, a tropical giant still held onto some secrets. In 2020, a dedicated team with a head for heights edged closer to uncovering them and securing this unique tree’s future.
Global Trees

Tanisha Williams: Botanist And Founder of Black Botanists Week
PBS Nature talked with the Tanish Williams about her inspirations, her hopes for the future and what’s next for #BlackBotanistsWeek.
PBS

Application instructions for the 2021 TPJ Fellowship scheme
"The TPJ Fellowship scheme was first launched in 2020, and we are pleased to announce that we have now opened applications for the 2021 TPJ Fellowship scheme."
The Plant Journal

Jobs and vacancies at SLU
The post doc project will be part of a larger project funded by Vinnova (Sweden’s innovation agency) that explores innovative ways to improve the CO2-withdrawal by forest management, while at the same time considering the wealth of other ecosystem services and biodiversity.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

The Rea Postdoctoral Fellowship Program 2021 - Career Portal
The Rea Postdoctoral Fellowship Program supports training and early career development of outstanding young scientists to conduct research at Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH).
Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The Plant Cell Focus Issues
"We are commissioning reviews and seek from the community submission of primary research papers that present new data of special significance in plant-microbe interactions."
American Society of Plant Biologists



Scientific Papers

Transient reprogramming of crop plants for agronomic performance
Torti et al. propose alternative technology that transiently targets various regulatory circuits within a plant, leading to operator-specified alterations of agronomic traits, such as time of flowering, vernalization requirement, plant height or drought tolerance. The process does not involve genetic modification of the plant genome and is thus limited to a single plant generation, is broadly applicable, fast, tunable and versatile, and can be used throughout much of the crop cultivation cycle.
Nature Plants

Rayenia malalcurensis (Escalloniaceae), a new genus and species endemic to Central Chile
Rayenia, a new monotypic genus assigned here to the Escalloniaceae, is provided with a description of the type species Rayenia malalcurensis, endemic to San Fabián de Alico, Ñuble Region, Central Chile. Molecular phylogenetics and morphological data support its placement in a new genus, separated from its sister taxon Tribeles australis.
Phytotaxa

Spatial extent of road pollution: A national analysis
Phillips et al. used mapping of roads and realistic estimates of how pollution levels decay with distance to project the spatial distribution of road pollution. They found that 25% of land was less than 79 m from a road, 50% of land was less than 216 m and 75% of land was less than 527 m.
Science of The Total Environment

ATP Binding Cassette Proteins ABCG37 and ABCG33 function as potassium-independent cesium uptake carriers in Arabidopsis roots
Using a combinatorial approach of physiology, genetics, cell biology and root uptake assay, Ashraf et al. identified two ATP-Binding Cassette (ABC) proteins, ABCG37 and ABCG33 as facilitators of Cs + influx. The gain-of-function mutant of ABCG37 ( abcg37-1) showed increased sensitivity to Cs +-induced root growth inhibition, while the double knock out mutant of ABCG33 and ABCG37 ( abcg33-1abcg37-2) showed resistance.
Molecular Plant

Hybrid seed incompatibility in Capsella is connected to chromatin condensation defects in the endosperm
Dziasek et al. investigated whether there are specific changes in heterochromatin associated with interspecific hybridizations and found a strong reduction of chromatin condensation in the endosperm, connected with a strong loss of CHG and CHH methylation and random loss of a single chromosome. Consistent with reduced DNA methylation in the hybrid endosperm, they found a disproportionate deregulation of genes located close to pericentromeric regions, suggesting that reduced DNA methylation allows access of transcription factors to targets located in heterochromatic regions.
PLOS Genetics

Local translation in nuclear condensate amyloid bodies
This paper provides a physiological context for nuclear protein synthesis while highlighting a role for solid-like condensates in coordinating complex biochemical reactions.
PNAS

Parasite co-opts a ubiquitin receptor to induce a plethora of developmental changes
Huang et al. demonstrate how SAP05 protein effectors from insect-vectored plant pathogenic phytoplasmas take control of several plant developmental processes to simultaneously prolong host lifespan and induce witch’s broom-like proliferations of leaf and sterile shoots, organs colonized by phytoplasmas and vectors. SAP05 acts by mediating the concurrent degradation of SPL and GATA developmental regulators via a process that uniquely relies on hijacking the plant ubiquitin receptor RPN10 independently of substrate lysine ubiquitination.
bioRxiv

Intrinsically disordered protein biosensor tracks the physical-chemical effects of osmotic stress on cells
Cuevas-Velazquez et al. leveraged the environmental sensitivity and structural plasticity of intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) to develop a FRET biosensor capable of monitoring rapid intracellular changes caused by osmotic stress. The biosensor, named SED1, utilizes the Arabidopsis intrinsically disordered AtLEA4-5 protein expressed in plants under water deficit.
bioRxiv

Plant evolution driven by interactions with symbiotic and pathogenic microbes
Plants and microbes have interacted through evolution in ways that shaped diversity and helped plants colonize land. Delaux and Schornack review how insights from a range of plant and algal genomes reveal sustained use through evolution of ancient gene modules as well as emergence of lineage-specific specializations.
Science

Impacts of multiple pollutants on pollinator activity in road verges
Pollinators in road verges are exposed to many forms of pollution. Phillips et al. found impacts of roadside‐realistic levels of turbulence and metals on pollinator densities and foraging behaviour. Although the findings suggest that road verges are largely suitable for pollinator conservation, management enhancements should prioritise areas more than 2 m from the road edge, and verges along roads with relatively lower traffic densities.
Journal of Applied Ecology


     

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