How Plants Work – “Greatest Hits” of 2017 – September

9 (CC BY-SA 2.0) by underscore design

From Fat Leaves to Tree Blindness.

On my HPW Twitter feed I typically feature one news story per day, covering a wide range of plant-related topics. The most favorited stories of September 2017 certainly reflects this diversity of subjects.

  • “Eat too much without exercising and you’ll probably put on a few pounds. As it turns out, plant leaves do something similar. In a new study at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, scientists show that retaining sugars in plant leaves can make them get fat too.”
    With Extra Sugar, Leaves Get Fat Too.
  • “Environmental degradation, unsustainable resource use, and biodiversity loss are just a few points in the long list of pertinent issues that call for collaborative solutions from science and society together. Unanimously supported by participants at the XIX International Botanical Congress, held in July 2017, Shenzhen, China, the Shenzhen Declaration for Plant Sciences, runs under the slogan of “Uniting plant sciences and society to build a green, sustainable Earth” and comes in response to the rapid changes experienced by both our Planet and society.”
    Connecting plants and society: The Shenzhen Declaration, a new roadmap for plant sciences.
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists have discovered a ribonucleic acid, or RNA, that can increase the thale cress plant’s resistance to stress from drought and salt. The discovery could help illuminate a new pathway to engineering drought- and salt-tolerant plants, including food crops,…”
    RNA discovery could help boost plant drought, salt tolerance
  • Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have harnessed the untapped power of genome editing to improve agricultural crops. Using tomato as an example, they have mobilized CRISPR/Cas9 technology to rapidly generate variants of the plant that display a broad continuum of three separate, agriculturally important traits: fruit size, branching architecture and overall plant shape. All are major components in determining how much a plant will yield. The method is designed to work in all food, feed, and fuel crops, including the staples rice, maize, sorghum and wheat.
    Plant geneticists develop a new application of CRISPR to break yield barriers in crops.
  • “For several years, I’ve led tree walks in Washington, D.C. I start by asking participants who they are and why they want to spend precious hours looking at trees. My students are nearly all highly educated, successful people who work impressive jobs, speak multiple languages and effortlessly command sophisticated computers and phones. Yet most know barely the first thing about the trees around them. They want to change that.”
    Cure Yourself of Tree Blindness.

    Next-Time: See why the most popular news item for October 2017 was certainly appropriate for the month.

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