ScienceDaily Botany News
Botany news. Read about the latest research on experimental crops, dramatic changes in forest growth, ancient flowering plants and more.
Updated: 9 hours 32 min ago
An efficient approach for sequencing hundreds of nuclear genes across members of the Compositae (sunflower family) has now been developed, to better-resolve phylogenetic relationships within the family, as well as a bioinformatic workflow for processing and analyzing the resulting sequence data. This method can be applied to any taxonomic group of interest and could serve as a model for phylogenetic investigations of other major plant groups.
The protein essential for relocating cytokinins from roots to shoots has now been identified. The regulating hormone distribution mechanisms in plants have been identified before, but there was a poor understanding of how they worked. This new research could lead to sustainable bioenergy crops with increased growth and reduced needs for fertilizer.
Scientists have overturned a long-standing hypothesis about plant speciation (the formation of new and distinct species in the course of evolution), suggesting that agricultural crops could be more vulnerable to climate change than was previously thought.
Scientists use measurements from airborne lasers to gauge changes in the height of trees in the forest. Tree height tells them things like how much carbon is being stored. But what accounts for height changes over time -- vertical growth or overtopping by a taller tree? A new statistical model helps researchers figure out what's really happening on the ground.
Duckweed is a tiny floating plant that's been known to drive people daffy. It's one of the smallest and fastest-growing flowering plants that often becomes a hard-to-control weed in ponds and small lakes. But it's also been exploited to clean contaminated water and as a source to produce pharmaceuticals. Now, the genome of Greater Duckweed (Spirodela polyrhiza) has given this miniscule plant's potential as a biofuel source a big boost.
In a striking case of pathogen transfer involving the bacteria responsible for human acne, P. acnes, scientists report on a new type of P. acnes which exploits grapevines, dubbing it P. acnes type Zappae. They named the bacterium after the Italian term 'zappa,' meaning, hoe, as well as a tribute to eclectic composer Frank Zappa. This is the first evidence ever of human-to-plant obligate transfer and gives new perspective of bacteria host transfer between humans and domesticated plants.
As every gardener knows, nitrogen is crucial for a plant's growth. But nitrogen absorption is inefficient. This means that on the scale of food crops, adding significant levels of nitrogen to the soil through fertilizer presents a number of problems, particularly river and groundwater pollution. As a result, finding a way to improve nitrogen uptake in agricultural products could improve yields and decrease risks to environmental and human health.
An international team of anthropologists has discovered definitive evidence of the environment inhabited by the early ape Proconsul on Rusinga Island, Kenya. The findings provide new insights into understanding and interpreting the connection between habitat preferences and the early diversification of the ape-human lineage.
An interdisciplinary team re-examined Kleiber's Law, a famous 80-year-old equation that accurately describes many biological phenomena, although scientists don't agree on why it works. The team shows that Kleiber's Law captures the physics and mathematics underlying the evolution of plants' and animals' different, but equally efficient forms.
Fertilization of natural grasslands -- either intentionally or unintentionally as a side effect of global farming and industry -- is having a destabilizing effect on global grassland ecosystems. Using a network of natural grassland research sites around the world called the Nutrient Network, the study represents the first time such a large experiment has been conducted using naturally occurring sites. The researchers found that plant diversity in natural ecosystems creates more stable ecosystems over time because of less synchronized growth of plants.
Harvesting light, the single-molecule way: Molecular mechanism of light harvesting may illuminate path forward to future solar cells
Scientists have reached new insights into one of the molecular mechanisms behind light harvesting, which enables photosynthetic organisms to thrive, even as weather conditions change from full sunlight to deep cloud cover. Probing these natural systems is helping us understand the basic mechanisms of light harvesting -- work that could help improve the design and efficiency of devices like solar cells in the future.
Spinach looks nothing like parsley, and basil bears no resemblance to thyme. Each plant has a typical leaf shape that can differ even within the same family. The information about what shape leaves will be is stored in the DNA. According to researchers in Germany, the hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) has a particular gene to thank for its dissected leaves. This homeobox gene inhibits cell proliferation and growth between leaflets, allowing them to separate from each other. The thale cress Arabidopsis thaliana does not have this gene. Therefore, its leaves are not dissected, but simple and entire.
In a new article, researchers explore the evolution of a family of enzymes, called 2-hydroxy acid oxidase, or 2-HAOX, that break down fats in both plant and animals. Their results show how plants and animals have adapted differently to similar environmental conditions in order to meet their energy needs.
Insects are choosier than you might think: whether or not they end up feeding on a particular plant depends on much more than just the species to which that plant belongs. The quality of the individual plant is an important factor as well. As is the variety of other plants growing around it. But what, ultimately, makes an insect choose one plant over another?
Plants recycle, too: Biologists have now identified a new protein complex which is crucial for endocytosis in plants
Cells communicate through proteins embedded in their cell membranes. These proteins have diverse functions and can be compared with antennas, switches and gates. For the well-being of the cell, it has to adjust the composition of its membrane proteins and lipids constantly. New proteins are incorporated, while old proteins get recycled or eliminated. The process by which membrane material gets internalized is called endocytosis. Biologists have now identified a new protein complex which is crucial for endocytosis in plants.
Traditional medicine provides health care for more than half the world's population, but no one has really looked at how the environment affects traditional medicine. Studying 12 ethnic groups from Nepal biologists found that plant availability in the local environment has a stronger influence on the make-up of a culture's medicinal floras. This means that the environment plays a huge role in shaping traditional knowledge. This is very important, especially when you think of the risks that these cultures are already facing.
One of the consequences of a warmer climate can be that lowland and southern plants migrate higher up in the mountains. Ecologists now show that reindeer, voles and hare can prevent these invasions.
The rapid conversion of natural lands to cement-dominated urban centers is causing great losses in biodiversity. Yet, according to a new study involving 147 cities worldwide, surprisingly high numbers of plant and animal species persist and even flourish in urban environments -- to the tune of hundreds of bird species and thousands of plant species in a single city.
Researchers are learning more about the impact invasive zebra mussels and native aquatic insect larvae have on the risk of algae blooms in two West Michigan lakes.
Algae have huge potential as a next generation renewable resource to manufacture a whole range of essential products including food, medicines and fuel. The challenge is to grow and process them in a way that delivers its potential sustainably. The three stories are told separately to aid clarity: