Plant “Fountain of Youth”? – Increasing the Longevity of Plants Through Genetic Modification

Forever Young? In a previous post, we saw how some Spanish scientists genetically modified (GM) plants in the genus Pelargonium (more commonly known as geraniums) so that they don’t produce pollen. (You can view the abstract of this paper here or read a provisional copy of the complete paper via…

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How Stress Shapes Plants

To make complex organisms takes specialized cells. Animals and flowering plants require specialized cells with distinct abilities in order to accomplish higher order functions – such as vision or flowering. It’s somewhat like a symphony orchestra. The orchestra integrates different musicians playing different instruments. The characteristic sounds of the instruments…

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A New Master Plant Hormone?

What if the roots of flowering plants produced chemical signals that regulated the branching and thickening of their shoots, i.e., secondary growth? Chemical signals used by plants to regulate their development and physiology are called plant hormones. Very small amounts of these compounds, acting alone or in tandem, often elicit…

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“Talking” Plants: Airborne Chemical Signals (Part 2)

Smells Like Trouble If you’re crunching on a Wintergreen Lifesaver®, while drinking a cup of jasmine tea, you may be totally “freaking out” your nearby house plants. Why? Because you’re disseminating two volatile organic compounds known to have significant effects on plants, you may be inadvertently turning on hundreds of…

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How Pruning Works: New Evidence In The Curious Case Of Apical Dominance

Plant Cut-Backs “Pruning is one of the most important cultural practices for maintaining woody plants, including ornamental trees and shrubs, fruits and nuts. It involves both art and science: art in making the pruning cuts properly, and science in knowing how and when to prune for maximum benefits.” (from ref.…

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