HPW Retrospectacles 2018 – August

8 (CC BY-SA 2.0) by elizaIO

From How Plants Tell Time To Saving The American Chestnut.

Time seemed to be a recurring theme in the plant science news of August 2018…from how plants tell time to how long seeds have to successfully germinate.

The future was also a theme…from the future of food production in the face of climate change to the future of an iconic American tree.

And also, some plant researchers may indeed be “barking mad”.

  • A Sweet Way to Measure Time?: “A new study by an international team of scientists, including the University of Bristol, has discovered that plants adjust their daily circadian rhythm to the cycle of day and night by measuring the amount of sugars in their cells.
    Plants can tell the time using sugars
  • Germination Time Limit?: “When a seed germinates, it only has two days to turn into a seedling capable of photosynthesis, before having exhausted its reserves. Swiss researchers reveal the underlying mechanism of this process.”
    When the seed becomes a plant, it has 48 hours to survive
  • Barking Up A Tree?: “What forces enable trees to stand upright? To grow straight, plants need a motor system that controls their posture by generating forces to offset gravity. Scientists have long thought that this motor force was controlled only by the internal forces induced in wood. In a study published on 4 August 2018 in New Phytologist, researchers from the CNRS and Cirad show that bark is also involved in the generation of mechanical stresses in several tree species.
    The bark side of the force
  • Mapping The Future?: “The starting pistol has been fired in a race to develop “climate change resistant” wheat with the publication of a map of the crop’s genes.”
    Wheat gene map to help ‘feed the world’
  • GMO’s To The Rescue?: “American chestnuts, towering 30 meters or more, once dominated forests throughout the Appalachian Mountains. But in the early 1900s, a fungal infection appeared on trees at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, and then spread rapidly. The so-called chestnut blight—an accidental import from Asia—releases a toxin that girdles trees and kills everything above the infection site, though still-living roots sometimes send up new shoots. By midcentury, large American chestnuts had all but disappeared.
    To save iconic American chestnut, researchers plan introduction of genetically engineered tree into the wild

Next Up: From trees that “bleed” metals to visualizing danger signals in plants….

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