What’s New About How Plants Work? – “Tasty Tidbits” From 2014 (First Course)

Nibbling On The Past Year

After replacing the 2014 calendar on the wall with the new 2015 edition, I decided to peruse my HowPlantsWork Twitter posts from the past year.

I was delighted to rediscover some quite interesting (to me, at least) botanical items reported in 2014.

So, I’m thinking that it would be enjoyable to share with you a few of these “morsels”.

Rather than stuff ourselves with the entire year in review, I’ll serve them up month by month, in twelve courses, starting, of course, with January 2014.

Although these stories may not be considered the most important plant science “breakthroughs” of the year past, I found them especially “tasty”.

I sincerely hope that you do, too.

Hors D’oeuvres: From An Alien Language To Cyborg Plants

  • The evidence for plant communication is only a few decades old, but in that short time it has leapfrogged from electrifying discovery to decisive debunking to resurrection.
    Read a great review of this fascinating subject at: The Secret Language of Plants
  • A reliable and cost-effective method for plant species recognition is the dream of many scientists. Species identification based on the composition of short DNA sequences – so-called “DNA barcodes” – has proven to be the safest way to reach this goal.”
    See a good example at : Tell me your barcode, and I will tell you what palm you are.
    (Also, a brief explanation of “DNA barcoding” can be found at here.)
  • Are genetically-engineered crops safe to grow and eat? Read a great story about one person’s sincere efforts to determine the “truth” about GMO plants at : A Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops
  • Light-gathering macromolecules in plant cells transfer energy by taking advantage of molecular vibrations whose physical descriptions have no equivalents in classical physics….
    Read about this new theory at: Quantum mechanics explains efficiency of photosynthesis
  • Rain forests may owe much of the high biodiversity for which they are known to tiny fungi in the soil….” You can learn about this new research published last year at: Fungi are the ‘Secret Police’ in Rain Forest Diversity
  • Are we on our way to the “Internet of Plants”? Some scientists think so. See what they are talking about at: The Internet of Vegetables: How Cyborg Plants Can Monitor Our World
  • More Hors D’oeuvres Next-Time: From plants and the human brain to flowers as agents of contagion.

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