2016 “How Plants Work” News Highlights – May

From The Current State of The World’s Plants To How Plants Conquered The Land

May 2016 was an especially rich month for fascinating reports about plant research.

So, let’s get on with it….

  • What is the current state of plants…on a global scale?

    A major report regarding this question was published by the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew.

    Kew report makes new tally for number of world’s plants.

  • Roses are red, violets are blue. Everybody knows that, but what makes them so? Although plant breeders were aware of some of the genes involved, there was as yet no quantitative study of how pigment turns a flower red, blue or yellow. Casper van der Kooi conducted just such a study, combining biology and physics.

    The anatomy of flower color.

  • Stem cells are typically thought to have the intrinsic ability to generate or replace specialized cells. However, a team of biologists at NYU showed that regenerating plants can naturally reconstitute their stem cells from more mature cells by replaying embryogenesis.

    Biologists Find How Plants Reconstitute Stem Cells.

  • Mathematical biologists love sunflowers. The giant flowers are one of the most obvious—as well as the prettiest—demonstrations of a hidden mathematical rule shaping the patterns of life: the Fibonacci sequence, a set in which each number is the sum of the previous two (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, …), found in everything from pineapples to pine cones.

    Sunflowers show complex Fibonacci sequences.

  • An almost entirely accidental discovery by University of Guelph researchers could transform food and biofuel production and increase carbon capture on farmland.
    By tweaking a plant’s genetic profile, the researchers doubled the plant’s growth and increased seed production by more than 400 per cent.

    Chance Finding Could Transform Plant Production.

  • Research at the University of Leeds has identified a key gene that assisted the transition of plants from water to the land around 500 million years ago.

    How plants conquered the land.

    Next Up: Plant news from June 2016….

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