How Plants Worked….A Look Back at 2015 – April
From Kinky Orchids to Misunderstood GMOs
Food and flowers and GMO’s.
These are often popular topics in news about plants.
And April 2015 was no exception.
Back in the day, when I was boring undergraduates in botany classes, I found that most students knew very little about the nature of the fruits and vegetables that they ate – where they we’re grown, where they originated, and why they were eating these particular plants, but not others. (But I suppose that’s true for most of us.) A book published last year aims to enlighten us on these subjects.
“The avocado undergoes a sex change overnight, and orchids are the kinky perverts of the plant world, but although there are 20,000 varieties of orchid we only eat one – the vanilla pod! These are just some of the fascinating facts unearthed in Professor John Warren’s new book The Nature of Crops: How we came to eat the plants we do.” New book explores why we eat the plants we do.
What determines the onset of flowering and what controls flower development are two topics that have fascinated plant physiologists for many, many years. Much scientific progress toward answering these questions has been made in the last decade, but, of course, there’s still much to learn.
“A molecular tug-of-war between two protein complexes gives rise to the amazing diversity of petal shapes in orchids, scientist say.” How orchid flower petals get their shape.
“A previously unknown correlation between plant pollination and the full moon has recently been discovered.” Plant pollination synchronised with full moon.
“Scientists at the John Innes Centre have discovered why the first buds of spring come increasingly earlier as the climate changes.” Scientists discover why flowers bloom earlier in a warming climate.
I shop at the local food co-op, and I can tell you that the level of opposition to GMO crops there often borders on the rabid. Why is this so?
“A team of Belgian philosophers and plant biotechnologists have turned to cognitive science to explain why opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has become so widespread, despite positive contributions GM crops have made to sustainable agriculture.” The intuitive appeal of being anti-GMO.
“Many people have strong opinions about genetically modified plants, also known as genetically modified organisms or GMOs. But sometimes there’s confusion around what it means to be a GMO.” Not all GMO plants are created equally.
Next-time: Some of the popular plant news stories from May 2015….
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