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The Week in Botany 31

January 22, 2018

BioRxiv seems a little more prominent than usual in this week's scientific papers. I'm not sure if that's random drift, or a sign that it's slowly speeding up how quickly new research gets attention. I'm a bit wary of mentioning bioRxiv papers on the blog, as I don't want to interfere with authors getting into the journal of their choice. However, I have no trouble linking to them here, as they've already been shared by quite a few people following the @botanyone Twitter account.

If you have a paper coming out and you'd like a bit more attention when the published version goes live, then you can contact Anne Osterrieder through She'd be delighted to talk to you about blogging on Botany One. The paper doesn't have to have been published in an AoB journal.

From Botany One

Cell growth and homeostasis are disrupted in Arabidopsis rns2-2 mutants
The salvage pathway that recycles rRNA is shown to be important in maintaining normal nucleoside levels and cellular homeostasis in plants.

Plectocarpon lichenum: the parasite that makes itself comfortable when it moves into a lichen
What happens when an unwanted visitor infects a lichen? Plectocarpon lichenum makes it harder for its host to eject it.

The phyllochron of peach trees varies with shoot type and irrigation
The addition of new nodes to shoots is an essential mechanism for understanding and modelling canopy growth but surprisingly, there is very little research on the factors that control the phyllochron in tree species. 

Not one, but two second messengers?
Confusingly, a second second messenger is not a third messenger.

Phylogenetic and functional signals in ovular secretions of gymnosperms
This study reinforces the antiquity of insect–plant pollination mutualisms in Gnetophyta, which have a fossil record beginning in the Triassic.

Nitrogen to phosphorus ratio as a threshold for nutrient limitation in plants (Meta-analysis)
These findings highlight that canonical N:P thresholds have the potential to introduce a large uncertainty when used to detect plant nutrient limitations, suggesting that the error risks should be cautioned in future studies.

Biogeographic history and climatic niche evolution of Japanese endemic primroses
Climatic changes and historical orogenies during the Quaternary might have played a significant role in determining the speciation and diversification patterns of primroses in Japan.

Plant collections and flowers for the start of the year #Countryfile
Why do we collect plants? Pat Heslop-Harrison finds out with the BBC television show Countryfile.

Call for Papers: Special issue on the Ecology and Evolution of Plant Reproduction

Botanists have long been fascinated by the extraordinary diversity in flowering plant reproductive patterns and have sought to understand theecological processes and genetic mechanisms influencing plant mating. Over the last five years, research progress in this discipline has rapidly accelerated. Important new insights in this field often combine elegant theoretical models with innovative field and laboratory experiments. Annals of Botany will release a Special Issue on the Ecology and Evolution of Plant Reproduction in January 2019, and it will highlight papers from 3 symposia at the XIX International Botanical Congress in Shenzhen, China. See the full call for papers for more information.

News and Views

The flower that never blooms
When a plant gives up photosynthesis, it can find that it's an advantage to give up a lot more too.
Botany One

Kew Gardens’ Temperate House to reopen after £41m restoration
Rare plants among hundreds of specimens being planted in new beds at world’s largest surviving Victorian glasshouse
The Guardian

Hands-on teaching models for plant xylem anatomy
Our goal with this project is to make the high-resolution X-ray micro-computed tomography (microCT) data available for anyone interested in the structure and function of plant vascular systems.
3D Data Portal

Fort McMurray researchers find forests highlight the high fire risk areas
The larger the tree, the drier the peat and so the greater the fire risk.
Botany One

Angiosperm poster
This article provides a visual overview of the relationships of all angiosperm families (following APG IV). The poster shows important characters for major grades and clades and these are illustrated with flower images of 269 plant families. It is presented to provide a useful educational tool. The scientific names and photo accreditation of each image are listed.
Plant Gateway

Weʼre raising £5,000 to Restore Joshua's Restoration Project
In the 4 months since launching the North-West Rare Plant Initiative, (NWRPI) Joshua Styles has collected and brought into cultivation almost 49 plant species that have been identified as being at risk of regional extinction.
Just Giving

2017 Was One of the Hottest Years on Record. And That Was Without El Niño.
The world in 2017 saw some of the highest average surface temperatures ever recorded, surprising scientists who had expected sharper retreat from recent record years.
NY Times

Pollution isn’t always good for trees
You might be surprised that it has any positive effects, but anthropogenic Nitrogen has been boosting the nutrients for sugar maples in Michigan. But these benefits are likely to be lost in the future due to rising CO2 concentrations.
Botany One

Prestigious Climate-Related Fellowships Rescinded
Reduced program is one of several that usually support climate science postdoctoral research but have eliminated or suspended funding opportunities.

Rare chestnut find: 'This tree, it's a survivor'
Dan Brinkman — a self-described tree nerd — knew he'd hit the jackpot when he was told about a certain tree standing in a cattle pasture near Mount Brydges. To most, the tree looks like any other. But to Brinkman, a stewardship technician with the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority, he was pretty certain this was an American chestnut, a species that once thrived in southern Ontario but has been nearly wiped out by blight in the past century.

It’s Bears, not Birds that scatter seeds in Alaska
The discovery comes after scientists spent time watching what bears do in the woods.
Botany One

Call for papers: Developing sustainable bioenergy crops for future climates

Rapid progress has been made over the last five years with respect to emerging new genomic technologies for crop improvement and this Annals of Botany Special Issue will be devoted to highlighting the latest findings and considering the potential of these technologies for the future deployment of bioenergy crops in the face of climate change. At the same time, cutting-edge research that provides insights into the complex plant traits underpinning drought tolerance and response to other abiotic and biotic stresses is required for these relatively new crops. Knowledge in this area will be brought together in this Special Issue, and there will be a focus on recent advances in high throughput phenotyping to unravel these complex responses. See the full call for papers for more information.

Scientific Papers

Resistance gene discovery and cloning by sequence capture and association genetics
We exploited natural pan-genome variation in a wild diploid wheat by combining association genetics with Disease resistance (R) gene enrichment sequencing (AgRenSeq) to clone four stem rust resistance genes in <6 months. RenSeq combined with diversity panels is therefore a major advance in isolating R genes for engineering broad-spectrum resistance in crops.

A global atlas of the dominant bacteria found in soil
Delgado-Baquerizo et al. provide a survey of the dominant bacterial taxa found around the world. In soil collections from six continents, they found that only 2% of bacterial taxa account for nearly half of the soil bacterial communities across the globe. These dominant taxa could be clustered into ecological groups of co-occurring bacteria that share habitat preferences. The findings will allow for a more predictive understanding of soil bacterial diversity and distribution.

The expa1-1 mutant reveals a new biophysical lateral root organogenesis checkpoint
Characterization of an expansin a1 (expa1) mutant has revealed a novel checkpoint during lateral root formation. Specifically, a minimal pericycle width was found to be necessary and sufficient to trigger asymmetric pericycle cell divisions during auxin-driven lateral root formation. We conclude that a localized radial expansion of adjacent pericycle cells is required to position the asymmetric cell divisions and generate a core of small daughter cells, which is a prerequisite for lateral root organogenesis.

A revision and one new species of Begonia L. (Begoniaceae, Cucurbitales) in Northeast India
Following a taxonomic revision of Begonia L. (Begoniaceae, Cucurbitales) from Northeast India based on 332 herbarium specimens, 38 species are confirmed to occur in the region, of which ten are endemic.
European Journal of Taxonomy

PILS6 is a temperature-sensitive regulator of nuclear auxin input and organ growth in Arabidopsis thaliana
Here we show that the putative intracellular auxin carrier PIN-LIKES 6 (PILS6) is a negative regulator of organ growth and that its abundance is highly sensitive to HT. PILS6 localises to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and limits the nuclear availability of auxin, consequently reducing the auxin signalling output. HT represses the transcription and protein abundance of PILS6 specifically in the root tip, which impacts on PILS6-dependent root organ growth rates. Accordingly, we hypothesize that PILS6 is part of a novel mechanism, linking HT to auxin responses in roots.

Largely unlinked gene sets targeted by selection for domestication syndrome phenotypes in maize and sorghum
To determine how often artificial selection for domestication traits in the grasses targeted orthologous genes, we employed resequencing data from wild and domesticated accessions of Zea (maize) and Sorghum (sorghum). Many ‘classic’ domestication genes identified through quantitative trait locus mapping in populations resulting from wild/domesticated crosses indeed show signatures of parallel selection in both maize and sorghum. However, the overall number of genes showing signatures of parallel selection in both species is not significantly different from that expected by chance.
The Plant Journal

Revisiting criteria for plant miRNA annotation in the era of big data
Here, we provide updated criteria for the confident annotation of plant miRNAs, suitable for the era of “big data” from DNA sequencing. The updated criteria emphasize replication, the minimization of false positives, and they require next-generation sequencing of small RNAs. We argue that improved annotation systems are needed for miRNAs and all other classes of plant small RNAs.
The Plant Cell

Know your enemy, embrace your friend: using omics to understand how plants respond differently to pathogenic and mutualistic microorganisms
n this review, we consider some of the most recent advances in how plants respond at the molecular level to different microbial lifestyles. Further, we cover some of the means by which microbes are able to manipulate plant signaling pathways through altered destructiveness and nutrient sinks, as well as the use of effector proteins and micro-RNAs (miRNAs).
The Plant Journal

Differential spatial distribution of miR165/6 determines variability in plant root anatomy
Here, we demonstrate that Cardamine hirsuta, unlike Arabidopsis thaliana, has two cortical layers that are patterned during late embryogenesis. We show that a miR165/6-dependent distribution of the HOMEODOMAIN LEUCINE ZIPPER III (HD-ZIPIII) transcription factor PHABULOSA (PHB) controls this pattern. Our findings reveal that interspecies variation in miRNA distribution can determine differences in anatomy in plants.

Diel pattern of floral scent emission matches the relative importance of diurnal and nocturnal pollinators in populations of Gymnadenia conopsea
Here, we used dynamic headspace sampling to quantify floral scent emission and composition during the day and at night in the natural habitat of six Scandinavian populations of the fragrant orchid Gymnadenia conopsea. We tested whether diel scent emission and composition match pollinator type by comparing four populations in southern Sweden, where nocturnal pollinators are more important for plant reproductive success than are diurnal pollinators, with two populations in central Norway, where the opposite is true.
Annals of Botany


Next week and onwards

I know I said we had a Dioon post coming up last week. There's been a hiccup at the printers, and I've held it back till the paper is live to help its Altmetric score. It'll be out as soon as the printer has had a glass of water or maybe blown into a paper bag.

The next event I know of is the Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists in March in Sapporo. OUP will be there if you'd like to talk about Annals of Botany or AoB PLANTS.

As for what goes into the newsletter next week, that's up to you. So I look forward to finding out what you're finding interesting on Twitter.



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