What’s New About How Plants Work? – Some “Tasty Tidbits” from 2012 (Seventh Course)

3505588883 4f453dd92dSeventh Heaven?

Well, this sampling of plant science news from July 2012 may not put us in “7th heaven”, but it will take us to Harvard University. And that’s pretty close…..right?

Anyway, the first two items below are indeed reports of recent research endeavors at Harvard.

From there, we go to some commentary on flower fragrance research at Cornell University, some interesting news on the effects of genetic inbreeding from the Netherlands, and, finally, a report from the UK that shows that more plants in cities makes for less air pollution.

  • The first-ever effort to define the entire community of microbes — the “microbiome” — of a (full-size) Ginko tree.
    New branch of science.
  • Researchers are using one of the most comprehensive fungal “family trees” ever created to unlock evolutionary secrets.
    Mushroom relations – Harvard researchers’ phylogeny yields evolutionary clues.
  • Fragrance is putatively an important character in the evolution of flowering plants, but natural selection based on scent is rarely studied and thus poorly understood.
    Is what you smell more important than what you see? Natural selection on floral scent.
  • A new study in plants indicates that it’s not just genes that lead to so-called inbreeding depression. It’s also how these genes are switched on and off.
    Inbreeding’s downside is not all in the genes.
  • A new study has found that trees, bushes and other greenery growing in the concrete-and-glass canyons of cities can reduce levels of two of the most worrisome air pollutants by much more than previously thought.
    Green plants reduce pollution on city streets up to eight times more than previously believed.

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