iPlants – A Brief Look at Virtual Plants (From Avatar To Systems Biology)

iPlants: An Introduction From movies and video games to landscape design to education to scientific research, we are increasingly encountering plants in silico (that is, computer-simulated plants). Virtual plants fall into three categories: (1) computer-generated images, (2) outputs from computer algorithms, and (3) computer-searchable plant gene and protein databases. What…

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A Step Toward “Fixing” The Most Important Enzyme on Earth

The world’s most abundant and most important enzyme is RuBisCo. It’s the most abundant because it’s present in relatively large quantities in every photosynthetic organism on the planet – from microscopic cyanobacteria and phytoplankton in the oceans to the leaves of giant-sized trees in the tropics. It’s also the most…

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Plant Mythbusters (#1) – Seeds From Ancient Egyptian Tombs That Germinate

A Truly Ancient Grain? The wheat variety called Kamut® has a fascinating history. According to “Kamut®: Ancient Grain, New Cereal”, one of the original growers, and one of the trademark holders, of Kamut®, Robert M. Quinn recounts the story of this unusual wheat variety. “Following WWII, a US airman claimed…

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Life in the Phyllosphere: What Microbes Commonly Dwell on the Surface of Leaves?

Leaf Surfaces = Microbial Habitats Imagine all the leaves of all the plants currently living on planet Earth. Now, add up all the surface areas of all of those leaves. And your answer is?… No idea?…. Luckily, some microbiologists have made an estimate, and it’s an astounding number. According to…

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