How Plants Work Greatest Hits – “Top Tweets” of 2021 (Part 3)

2455278328 cefec7cb47 bFrom How Roots Provide Symbiotic Bacteria Oxygen to How Flowers Changed the Evolution of Life on Earth. 

Counting down the top 25 tweets of 2021 from HowPlantsWork, here’s Part 3 – #15 to #11:

#15 – How legumes give oxygen to symbiotic bacteria in their roots

The roots of legume plants are home to symbiotic bacteria. These bacteria can fix nitrogen from the air, turning it into ammonia, a key nutrient for plants. In return, the plants house the bacteria in root nodules, providing sugars and oxygen. The amount of oxygen needs to be just right to support the symbiosis, the bacteria need oxygen to fuel their chemical reactions, but too much inhibits a key enzyme that turns nitrogen in the air into the ammonia that can be used by the plant.

The legume protein that carries oxygen to the symbiotic bacteria is called leghemoglobin. How the the expression of this protein is controlled genetically in a model legume is described in this report, published in Science magazine.

#14 – Shedding light on the long and the short of plant growth

What keeps some plants squatting close to the soil while others – even those closely related – reach high for the skies?

New research addressing the architecture and growth habit of plants has provided an answer to this question and may assist in the development of better performing crops.

#13 – WOX9: A jack of all trades

WOX9 is one of several “homeobox” genes that help plants and animals set borders in developing structures. While the gene plays a role in early development in Arabidopsis, a weedy relative of broccoli, it influences later development—reproduction and flowering—in tomatoes.

Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory “…dissected the activity of a developmental gene, WOX9, in different plants and at different moments in development. Using genome editing, they found that without changing the protein produced by the gene, they could change a plant’s traits by changing the gene’s regulation.

#12 – Scientists Find a Fossilized Ancestor of ‘Dinosaur Food’

“Before the first mammals, before dinosaurs roamed the Earth, a plant grew in Gondwana, a huge continent in the Southern Hemisphere.

Almost 280 million years later, in what is now Brazil, scientists have identified the fossil remains of that plant as an early member of a lineage called cycads, or cycadales, that continues to this day. The discovery expands scientific understanding of the resilience of these plants, which persisted through two mass extinctions.”

“11 – Flowering plants: an evolution revolution

Flowering plants today include most of the plants humans eat or drink, such as grains, fruits and vegetables, and they build many familiar landscapes such as wetlands, meadows, and forests. From 100 to 50 million years ago, the flowering plants dramatically boosted Earth’s biodiversity and rebuilt entire ecosystems.

Next-Time: The penultimate episode on our way to 2021’s most popular tweet at HowPlantsWork

 

Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygene, Pt. 4

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