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Category Archive for 'plant genes'

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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p5rn7vb New Meanings For “Medicinal Plants”? Plants have been used by humans for thousands of years as a source of medicines, some effective, many not so much (except perhaps as placebos). The first botanists were likely shaman herbalists who possessed the knowledge of which plants would kill and which plants would cure. Contemporary shamans can […]

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The Players Because the genetic story of how plants flower turns out to involve many cellular “players”, as well as an intricate plot, perhaps it would be a good idea to first introduce the main “cast of characters”. Let’s start with florigen. As previously described, this is the so-called flowering hormone that can trigger the […]

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We’ve seen that some plant species flower “autonomously” , that is, with little or no regard to environmental signals. However, most of what is known about how plants make flowers comes from research on plants that do rely on environmental guidance for flower initiation. It’s Time To Flower The correct timing of flowering is essential […]

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