ScienceDaily Botany News
Botany news. Read about the latest research on experimental crops, dramatic changes in forest growth, ancient flowering plants and more.
Updated: 1 hour 14 min ago
Castor hasn't been grown in the U.S. since 1972. Now, a study shows that, using proper techniques, the crop that's used for many industrial applications, can be grown in Florida.
Revolutionary new view on heritability in plants: Complex heritable traits not only determined by changes in DNA sequence
Complex heritable traits are not only determined by changes in the DNA sequence. Scientists have now shown that epigenetic marks can affect traits such as flowering time and architecture in plants. Furthermore, these marks are passed on for many generations in a stable manner.
When most people envision crocodiles and alligators, they think of them waddling on the ground or wading in water -- not climbing trees. However, a new study has found that the reptiles can climb trees as far as the crowns.
While researching methods to increase the already well-recognized anti-cancer properties of broccoli, researchers also found a way to prolong the vegetable's shelf life.
Researchers are collaborating in a eucalypts breeding program in the Ethiopian highlands which will increase this species productivity.
Scientists report the development of hemp plants with a dramatically increased content of oleic acid. The new oil profile results in an attractive cooking oil that is similar to olive oil in terms of fatty acid content, having a much longer shelf life, as well as greater heat tolerance and potentially more industrial applications.
Bees, birds and bats make a huge contribution to the high yields produced by coffee farmers around Mount Kilimanjaro -- an example of how biodiversity can pay off. This effect has been described as result of a study now published, conducted by tropical ecologists.
Biologists working in the Andes mountains of Ecuador have described a new plant species, a wild relative of black pepper, that is the sole home of an estimated 40-50 insect species, most of which are entirely dependent on this plant species for survival. This discovery is part of a larger project which focuses on the influence of plant-produced chemical compounds on biodiversity.
An extensive study on excrement and rumen fluids in plant-eating mammals from all over the whole world shows that the ciliates in their guts have evolved in parallel with them. This is the result of a five-year research project performed by evolution biologists, microbiologists and computer scientists.
Scientists have for the first time sequenced an ancient RNA genome -- of a barley virus once believed to be only 150 years old -- pushing its origin back at least 2,000 years and revealing how intense farming at the time of the Crusades contributed to its spread.
For the first time, scientists have discovered how tree roots in the mountains may play an important role in controlling long-term global temperatures. Researchers have found that temperatures affect the thickness of the leaf litter and organic soil layers, as well as the rate at which the tree roots grow. In a warmer world, this means that tree roots are more likely to grow into the mineral layer of the soil, breaking down rock into component parts which will eventually combine with carbon dioxide. This process, called weathering, draws carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and cools the planet. The theory suggests that mountainous ecosystems have acted like Earth's thermostat, addressing the risk of 'catastrophic' overheating or cooling over millions of years.
Grasshoppers are what they eat: New method to extract plant DNA from grasshopper guts sheds light on plant-insect interactions
Grasshoppers cause damage that costs landowners millions of dollars annually; however, grasshopper populations also play a positive role in cycling nutrients from decomposing plant matter back into the soil. A new method to recover high-quality DNA of ingested plant tissue from grasshopper guts can allow scientists to investigate their feeding patterns, and could help illuminate the impact of grasshoppers on plant communities.
It was climate that killed many of the large mammals after the latest Ice Age. But what more specifically was it with the climate that led to this mass extinction? The answer to this is hidden in a large number of sediment samples from around the Arctic and in the gut content from permafrozen woolly rhinos, mammoth and other extinct ice age mammals.
Thanks to its excellent growth, the Canadian lodgepole pine has become a popular feature of forestry in Northern Sweden. Researchers are now able to demonstrate that organisms in the Swedish soil most likely contribute to the success of this exotic tree species. When the researchers studied the growth of the lodgepole pine in sterilized and unsterilized Swedish and Canadian soil samples, they discovered clear differences in growth: it grew better in soil inoculated with Swedish soil biota compared to Canadian soil biota. These results improve our understanding of why some exotic tree species and invasive plants at times can function so well in new environments.
The increasing use of chemical herbicides is often blamed for the declining plant biodiversity in farms. However, other factors beyond herbicide exposure may be more important to species diversity, according to researchers.
By discovering sulpho-glycolysis, researchers reveal an important degradation pathway. Similar to the sugar glucose, sulpho-glucose is produced by all photosynthetically active organisms. Sulpho-glucose is present in all plants, mosses, ferns and algae. The degradation pathway, or metabolic pathway, for sulpho-glucose is therefore an important component of the material cycles in ecosystems.
The apparent expert consensus that the spread of new species (invasion) is a serious environmental problem does not necessarily reflect the thinking of researchers in the field. A new study documents that invasion biologists widely differ in their understanding and assessment of the invasion problem in Europe.
A grass called teosinte is thought to be the ancestor of corn, but it doesn't look much like corn at all. Scientists were surprised to find that teosinte planted in growth chambers under climate conditions that simulate the environment 10,000 to 12,000 years ago looks more like corn. This may help to explain why early farmers chose to cultivate teosinte and lends support to the idea that teosinte was domesticated to become one of the most important staple crops in the world.
Beneficial insects, nematodes not harmed by genetically modified, insect-resistant crops, studies show
Two new studies show that genetically modified Bt crops have no negative effects on two beneficial insect predators or on a beneficial, entomopathogenic nematode.
A new study from South Africa shows that the biodiversity of insects and related arthropods in genetically modified crop fields is essentially the same as that among conventional crops.