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

A Final Taste of 2012

  • One of the oldest mysteries of plant breeding is why hybrid plants usually provide significantly higher yields than their homozygous parents. Plant breeders have known about this for more than 100 years, and they have used this effect, called hybrid vigor or heterosis, to obtain greater crop yields. Scientists have puzzled over the molecular processes underlying this phenomenon for many years. Do we now have an answer?
    Hybrid Corn: Do more active genes lead to higher yields?






    • “For years, mistletoe has suffered from a split reputation: either the decorative prelude to a sweet Christmas kiss or the tree-killing parasite that must be mercilessly excised for the good of the forests. Now a recent Australian study has come up with a surprising new understanding of the evergreen plant: It is a key to keeping forest life healthy.” from:
      Beyond the kiss, Mistletoe helps feed forests, study suggests.


    “As the human population increases, so too do the demands and stresses on agriculture. In the January 2013 issue of International Journal of Plant Sciences, Penn State University Waller Professor of Plant Biology Dr. Sarah Assmann explores how the responses to environmental stresses by one small, genetically diverse plant species might illuminate possible approaches to addressing growing human demand for crop products amid decreasing resources.” from:
    Can observations of a hardy weed help feed the world?

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