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

53587268 aa38a567f8Elevenses? – From Ancient Lifeforms to Future Agriculture

Well, here we are at the penultimate post of my plant science news “buffet” for 2012.

Can you imagine what it would be like to live for over 4,000 years? (Maybe Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks came close with the 2,000-year-old man.)

  • The longevity of bristlecone pines living in the Great Basin was first recognized in the 1950s by Dr. Edmund Schulman at the University of Arizona. He systematically sampled these trees in California and Nevada and published his findings in a 1958 National Geographic article, which reported several of the trees to be more than 4,000 years old.
    Read My Rings: The oldest living tree tells all.
  • “MicroRNAs are essential regulators of the genetic program in multicellular organisms. Because of their potent effects, the production of these small regulators has itself to be tightly controlled.” from:
    MicroRNAs in plants: Regulation of the regulators in plants.
  • The hydraulic system of trees is so finely-tuned that the predicted increase in frequency of drought conditions worldwide due to global climate change may lead to catastrophic failure in many tree species.
    Prediction: Increasing drought stress may challenge vulnerable hydraulic systems of trees.
  • Many millions of years ago primitive eukaryotic cells held single-celled algae captive and stole their genes for energy production, thereby evolving into new and more powerful species. How they likely did this is revealed in a paper published online in Nature 28 November 2012.
    Crimes of evolution: algae held captive and genes stolen.
  • Plant scientist Dr. Rob McClung thinks that elucidating plants’ internal biological clocks will become increasingly important to agricultural productivity in the face of global climate change.
    The biological clocks are ticking, and the climate is changing.
  • Next-Time: The final trip to the plant science 2012 “buffet table”. (Full yet?)

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