The Selfish Plant 3 – Self-Incompatibility and Kin Recognition

When No Really Means No (In Plants) When it comes to sexual reproduction, nearly half of all flowering plant species are self-incompatible. That is, the pollen (male parts of flowers) produced by an individual plant is somehow recognized by the plant and rendered ineffectual in self-fertilizing the ovules (female parts …

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The Selfish Plant 2 – “Self” & “Non-Self” Perception: Plant-Microbe Interactions

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War Who Are You? How do plants distinguish “unfriendly” (a.k.a., pathogenic) microbes from “friendly” microbes (with which to form mutually beneficial partnerships, e.g.)? How do flowering …

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2016 “How Plants Work” News Highlights – October

From Flowers That Smell Like Stressed Bees To Corn That Smells Like “Help Me!” October 2016 seemed to feature an unusual number of quirky plant news stories. For example, we previously saw an orchid that smelled like body odor, presumably to attract mosquitos. Now here’s another weird flower smell… “A …

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2016 “How Plants Work” News Highlights – September

From Plant Secrets To Plant Antibiotics What were the five most re-tweeted and favorited plant news stories that I shared in September of last year? Well, here they are, in order of popularity, lowest to highest. “Scientists from the John Innes Centre have pioneered innovative new cell imaging techniques to …

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Do Leaf Bacteria Fertilize Plants?

The “Inside” Story? An article in Science magazine (see Ref. 1 below) reports evidence supporting the hypothesis that leaf-dwelling, nitrogen-fixing bacteria may provide host plants with significant amounts of nitrogen. In the past, we briefly explored the microbial phyllosphere, that is, the microbes – including nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria – that dwell …

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