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Category Archive for 'plant genes'

Size Does Matter (If You’re Growing Giant Pumpkins) Question: What does a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle and the current World Record Giant Pumpkin have in common? Answer: They each weigh about 1 ton (US) or about 2000 pounds (907 kilograms). Indeed, the current world record heaviest pumpkin (see the photo on the left) weighed in at […]

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Spraying RNAi To Silence Target Genes In Crops (And Insect Pests)… Many object to GMO crop plants, at least in part, because they contain foreign genes artificially – and permanently – inserted into the plant’s genome. But what if you could TEMPORARILY modifY plants (and even their insect pests) by simply spraying little bits of […]

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A Blast From The Past? Is it just me, or does there seem to be a lot about the so-called “rewilding” of crop plants in the news lately? (Please see here, for example.) I think I first heard the term “rewilding” about 20 years ago in a Biology Department seminar at Montana State University. In […]

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Plant “Extremophiles”? Recently, I was reading about a new species of metal-eating plant discovered in the Philippines, and I discovered a new word (to me, at least). This new word is “extremophyte“. Simply put, most extremophytes are plants evolutionarily adapted to thrive in highly stressful environments. Physically stressful, that is, such as extremely high or […]

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Scanning Plants? Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to identify all the different plant species in your backyard or in a nearby park from just small pieces of their leaves? And how cool would it be to use a smartphone app to determine exactly what kind of plants are actually in the herbal supplement […]

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Hothouse Flowers Unlike animals, plants are not born with their “naughty bits”. That is, the sexual organs of plants, a.k.a., flowers, are typically formed after a period of so-called vegetative growth. In other words, plants first go through a vegetative stage of development (think shoots and leaves, over and over again) and then make a […]

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A New Twist on “You Are What You Eat”? In a previous post, I alerted readers about research from China’s Nanjing University reporting that small bits of genetic material from ingested plants may regulate gene expression in mice. These surprising results from Chen-Yu Zhang’s lab claimed that bits of plant genetic material called microRNAs could […]

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Sneeze The pollen from some plants can cause allergic rhinitis, a.k.a., “hay fever” in many people. This is because, when the pollen is inhaled into the nasal passages, antigens on the surface of the pollen elicit an immune response in people with a sensitized immune system. (In grass pollen, the allergens may be so-called “expansins”, […]

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Can You Break The Law By Planting Seeds? If you are in the USA, the answer is YES (at least for the time being). Yes, that is, if your seeds contain genes patented by Monsanto, for example. Yes, even though the patented genes may have ‘contaminated” your organically-grown crops via pollen, seeds, or both, that […]

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na.ked [nay-kid] adj.- “exposed to view or plainly revealed“ Good Times For Tomato Science The tomato (a.k.a., Solanum lycopersicum). What are the chemicals that make most homegrown tomatoes taste so good? What is the genome sequence of the domesticated tomato? And how is it related to wild relatives, and even to potatoes? These interesting and […]

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