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The Week in Botany 21

We send out a weekly email on Monday mornings. Here’s the one we sent Monday, October 30, 2017.

If you want to receive this email on a Monday morning, you can sign up here.

The past few weeks I’ve been trying a new system to create the emails, to make it simpler for someone else to take over if I’m hit by a bus. However, we’ve had complaints about not receiving the emails, so I’m switching back to the old system to see if it was the new layout causing the problems. This method doesn’t look as pretty and it’s slower to put together, but an email system where people actually get the emails is better than a prettier version that you don’t get. We’re still using our account at Twitter @botanyone to identify the links that are catching our followers’ eyes to find the most interesting botany links, so thank you to everyone who follows us.

From Botany One

Deep rooting in a wheat doubled haploid population with wild emmer introgression
This is the first study to identify QTLs for rooting at depth in field-grown wheat at mature growth stages.

Science, technology and innovation for Africa with the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue stakeholder panel
What does it mean to work towards Sustainable Development? Pat Heslop-Harrison, editor of Annals of Botany, has been discussing the issue in Brussels with European stakeholders.

The 3 Ps of plant science publishing
Mr Cuttings hears of a new journal launched this summer, and is appropriately excited.

Floral scent variation in woodland stars
Reproductive traits important to coevolving interactions, such as the floral scent of L. bolanderi, may be more canalized than other traits important for plant fitness.

Plant biotic interactions and fitness in habitat edges
In a recent study published in AoB PLANTS, Gargano et al. investigated herbivory and pollination in an edge-specialist carnation over a forest–open habitat gradient. Visiting insects varied over the gradient, affecting herbivory and pollination rates, and offspring quality and quantity.

Temperature variability and wheat quality
Increased hot and cold spells resulting from climate change could affect bread-making quality or seed quality for growing subsequent wheat crops, depending upon when they occur.

Egg activation and actin-myosin dependent elongation of the Dictyota zygote
Male gametes need only 1 min to find the egg, fuse, induce homogenous cell wall secretion and start showing adhesive properties, underlying the role of the ECM as a fast sperm block in D. dichotoma.

The Plant Messiah by Carlos Magdalena
If you’re looking to explain to someone how botany can be exciting, then The Plant Messiah by Carlos Magdalena is an excellent place to start.

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 Links

Is organic really better for the environment than conventional agriculture?
Our World in Data presents the empirical evidence on global development in entries dedicated to specific topics. This blog post draws on data and research discussed in our entry on Yields and Land Use in Agriculture, and Fertilizers and Pesticides. Our World in Data

Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?
It is an industry like no other, with profit margins to rival Google – and it was created by one of Britain’s most notorious tycoons: Robert Maxwell. The Guardian

E.P.A. Cancels Talk on Climate Change by Agency Scientists
The Environmental Protection Agency has canceled the speaking appearance of three agency scientists who were scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference on Monday in Rhode Island, according to the agency and several people involved. NY Times

‘Let us do our job’: Anger erupts over EPA’s apparent muzzling of scientists
The Trump administration’s decision to prevent government scientists from presenting climate change-related research at a conference in Rhode Island on Monday gave the event a suddenly high profile, with protesters outside, media inside and angry lawmakers and academics criticizing the move. Washington Post

Sharing data wasn’t cool, but neither were we – how WorldClim changed my life
I was working on toilets at the time. Suddenly, I found myself part of one of the biggest scientific movements in the history of CGIAR. CIAT Blog

Scientists Are Rewriting the History of Photosynthesis
Researchers have caught their best glimpse yet into the origins of photosynthesis, one of nature’s most momentous innovations. By taking near-atomic, high-resolution X-ray images of proteins from primitive bacteria, investigators at Arizona State University and Pennsylvania State University have extrapolated what the earliest version of photosynthesis might have looked like nearly 3.5 billion years ago. If they are right, their findings could rewrite the evolutionary history of the process that life uses to convert sunlight into chemical energy. Wired

The world’s first trees grew by splitting their guts
Scientists have discovered some of the best preserved specimens of the world’s first trees in a remote region of China. At up to 12 meters tall, these spindly species were topped by a clump of erect branches vaguely resembling modern palm trees and lived a whopping 393 million to 372 million years ago. But the biggest surprise is how they got so big in the first place Science.

How plant science will change the world
Plant science is a lot more important than you realise. It has often been cast as cell biology’s less exciting sibling. What is the point of studying root growth, flowering or stomatal aperture? There are way more important things to be researching… aren’t there? The Biochemist Blog

A German photographer’s heroic effort to give voice to the angst of sad office plants
Office plants get no love. It’s a sorry fact that German photographer Frederik Busch has had to contend with twice. Quartz

Monsanto Attacks Scientists After Studies Show Trouble For Weedkiller Dicamba
In a normal year, Kevin Bradley, a professor of weed science at the University of Missouri, would have spent his summer testing new ways to control a troublesome little plant called water hemp. This has not been a normal year. NPR: The Salt

Dr Tiina Särkinen: Global collaboration is key to saving flora
With one-in-five of the world’s plants believed to be on the brink of extinction, things do not always look so shiny for those of us working in biodiversity science. Zoologists have pandas as an iconic example of endangered species, but what about us? Like many other lesser known groups of organisms, such as insects, thousands of plant species await discovery – and many could be wiped out before they are ever scientifically described. The Scotsman

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

Holocentric chromosomes: from tolerance to fragmentation to colonization of the land
It is argued that the tolerance to clastogens explains the origin of holocentric lineages and may also have far-reaching consequences for eukaryotic evolution in general as exemplified by the potential role of holocentric chromosomes in terrestrialization. Ann. Bot.

Heterochronic developmental shifts underlie floral diversity within Jaltomata (Solanaceae)
Our data suggest shared floral patterning during early-stage development, but that different heterochronic shifts during mid- and late-stage development contribute to divergent floral traits. Heterochrony thus appears to have been important in the rapid and repeated diversification of Jaltomata flowers. EvoDevo

The first near-complete assembly of the hexaploid bread wheat genome, Triticum aestivum
This represents by far the most complete and contiguous assembly of the wheat genome to date, providing a strong foundation for future genetic studies of this important food crop. We also report how we used the recently published genome of Aegilops tauschii, the diploid ancestor of the wheat D genome, to identify 4,179,762,575 bp of T. aestivum that correspond to its D genome components. GigaScience

Phylogenetic patterns of foliar mineral nutrient accumulation among gypsophiles and their relatives in the Chihuahuan Desert
Our data suggest multiple adaptive mechanisms support life on gypsum in Chihuahuan Desert gypsophiles. Most widespread gypsophiles are specialized for life on gypsum, likely due to shared abilities to accumulate and assimilate S and Ca in leaves. In contrast, narrowly distributed gypsophiles may have mechanisms to exclude excess S and Ca from their leaves, preventing toxicity. AmJBot

Roots-eye view: Using microdialysis and microCT to non-destructively map root nutrient depletion and accumulation zones
Here, for the first time, we have used microCT imaging to position microdialysis probes at known distances from the roots and then measured the available nitrate and ammonium. We found that nitrate accumulated close to roots whereas ammonium was depleted demonstrating that this combination of complementary techniques provides a unique ability to measure root-available nutrients non-destructively and in almost real time. Plant, cell and Environment

Melatonin and its relationship to plant hormones
Melatonin is an important modulator of gene expression related to plant hormones, e.g. in auxin carrier proteins, as well as in metabolism of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), gibberellins, cytokinins, abscisic acid and ethylene. The discovery of elevated levels of melatonin in endophytic organisms associated with plants has thrown light on a possible novel form of communication between beneficial endophytes and host plants via melatonin. Ann. Bot.

Geographic mosaics and changing rates of cereal domestication
Quantitative data allow us to estimate the changing selection coefficients for the evolution of non-shattering (domestic-type seed dispersal) in Asian rice (Oryza sativa L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccon (Shrank) Schübl.) and einkorn wheat (Triticum monococcum L.). These data indicate that selection coefficients tended to be low, but also that there were inflection points at which selection increased considerably. Philosophical Transactions B

Cross-species functional diversity within the PIN auxin efflux protein family
Here we show that in the grass Brachypodium sopin1 mutants have organ initiation defects similar to Arabidopsis atpin1, while loss of PIN1 function in Brachypodium has little effect on organ initiation but alters stem growth. Heterologous expression of Brachypodium SoPIN1 and PIN1b in Arabidopsis provides further evidence of functional specificity. eLife

High endemism and stem density distinguish New Caledonian from other high-diversity rainforests in the Southwest Pacific
High stem density, high endemism and a high abundance of tree ferns with stem diameters ≥10 cm are therefore unique characteristics of New Caledonian rainforests. High endemism and high spatial species turnover imply that the current system consisting of a few protected areas is inadequate, and that the spatial distribution of plant species needs to be considered to adequately protect the exceptional flora of New Caledonian rainforests. Ann. Bot.

Biodiversity research requires more boots on the ground
Our incomplete taxonomic knowledge impedes our attempts to protect biodiversity. A renaissance in the classification of species and their interactions is needed to guide conservation prioritization. Nature Ecology and Evolution

Genome-wide Association Mapping Reveals that Specific and Pleiotropic Regulatory Mechanisms Fine-tune Central Metabolism and Growth in Arabidopsis
Using genome-wide association studies, we mapped QTL for 24 enzyme activities, 9 metabolites, 3 structural components, and biomass in Arabidopsis thaliana. We detected strong cis-QTL for five enzyme activities. A cis-QTL for UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase activity (UGP) in the UGP1 promoter is maintained through balancing selection. Variation in acid invertase activity (aINV) reflects multiple evolutionary events in the promoter and coding region of VAC-INV. Cis-QTL were also detected for ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGP), fumarase (FUM), and phosphosglucose isomerase activity (PGI). The Plant Cell

TomExpress, a unified tomato RNA-Seq platform for visualization of expression data, clustering and correlation networks
The TomExpress platform was developed to provide the tomato research community with a browser and integrated web tools for public RNA-Seq data visualization and data mining. The Plant Journal

The Sphagnome Project: enabling ecological and evolutionary insights through a genus-level sequencing project
Here we introduce the Sphagnome Project, which incorporates genomics into a long-running history of Sphagnum research that has documented unparalleled contributions to peatland ecology, carbon sequestration, biogeochemistry, microbiome research, niche construction, and ecosystem engineering. The Sphagnome Project encompasses a genus-level sequencing effort that represents a new type of model system driven not only by genetic tractability, but by ecologically relevant questions and hypotheses. New Phytologist

Floral morphology and anatomy of Ophiocaryon, a paedomorphic genus of Sabiaceae
We found that Ophiocaryon may be derived from ancestors that were similar to extant Meliosma in their flower structure and pollination mechanism. However, the lack of shared derived characters between Ophiocaryon and its phylogenetic sister group M. alba is puzzling and requires further investigations on the diversity of the latter species. Ann. Bot.

And that’s this week done, but if you want more papers then you should check out Mary Williams’s round up in Plantae too. The other change I’ve mad ethis week is removing the link to the webversion. I’m slightly worried that it’s my version get gets shared and every week I get one or two messages that I’ve been unsubscribed. I’m wondering if people are clicking on the wrong link to unsubscribe and then still getting this email. So to make things clear the link at the foot of this email should be the one that works for you. If you don’t unsubscribe then the next email should be next week.

Alun Salt

Alun (he/him) is the Producer for Botany One. It's his job to keep the server running. He's not a botanist, but started running into them on a regular basis while working on writing modules for an Interdisciplinary Science course and, later, helping teach mathematics to Biologists. His degrees are in archaeology and ancient history.

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The Week in Botany

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