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Latest Plant anatomy Stories

2010-05-20 15:16:41

Wheat plants found to be resistant to Hessian fly larvae may be calling in reinforcements to build up rigid defenses. Christie Williams, a research scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service and a Purdue University associate professor of entomology, found that resistant plants under attack by Hessian fly larvae increased production of surface waxes and cutin, a molecule responsible for rigidity and integrity of epidermal cells. In plants susceptible to...

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2010-04-09 11:00:00

All around the country, high pollen levels are being reported, and experts are predicting that 2010 will be one of the worst seasons for allergy sufferers in years. Many factors are involved, according to an April 9 article by Associated Press (AP) writer Tamara Lush. A cold winter and high winds are partially to blame for the high frequency of the fine yellow airborne particulates--and according to what pollen.com executive Web producer J.P. Levins told Lush, "The season is actually just...

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2010-04-05 08:16:32

Long-lived pine pollen makes it difficult to contain transgenic trees When forest biologist Claire Williams boards ferries bound for North Carolina's Outer Banks, the barrier islands that line the NC coast, ferry captains call her the "Pollen Lady." Each spring from 2006 to 2009, Williams traveled back and forth from the islands to the mainland, collecting pine pollen blown far offshore. She wanted to find out if pollen from the loblolly pine "” the most commonly planted tree in the...

2010-04-01 13:24:10

Dehydrin proteins are found to be a possible key to desiccation-tolerant plants such as the resurrection fern Drought can take a serious toll on plants and animals alike. When cells are deprived of water, they shrink, collapsing in upon themselves and, without water as a medium, chemicals and enzymes inside the cells may malfunction. However, some plants, like the aptly named "resurrection fern" (Polypodium polypodioides), can survive extreme measures of water loss, even as much as 95% of...

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2010-03-23 09:30:05

New research confirms that early angiosperms were weedy, fast-growing Fossils and their surrounding matrix can provide insights into what our world looked like millions of years ago. Fossils of angiosperms, or flowering plants (which are the most common plants today), first appear in the fossil record about 140 million years ago. Based on the material in which these fossils are deposited, it is thought that early angiosperms must have been weedy, fast-growing shrubs and herbs found in highly...

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2010-03-15 09:05:58

Researchers get up-close look at Pierce's Disease Like a band of detectives surveying the movement of a criminal, researchers using photographic technology have caught at least one culprit in the act. In this case, electron microscopy was used to watch a deadly bacteria breakdown cell walls in wine grape plants "“ an image that previously had not been witnessed. The study will be published in Botany. "Basically, we've been interested in determining how the bacteria moves," said Dr. B....

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2010-03-01 07:31:24

Power struggle between genetic master switches decides stem cell fate, growth orientation in plants The first order of business for any fledgling plant embryo is to determine which end grows the shoot and which end puts down roots. Now, researchers at the Salk Institute expose the turf wars between two groups of antagonistic genetic master switches that set up a plant's polar axis with a root on one end and a shoot on the other. "In what is arguably the most important decision for a plant,...

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2010-02-25 14:13:45

Ever looked carefully at the leaves on a plant and noticed their various sizes and shapes? Why are they different? What controls the size and shape of each individual leaf? Very little is known about the developmental control of leaf size and shape, and understanding the mechanisms behind this is a major issue in plant biology. A leaf's size is determined by a combination of cell number, cell size, and intercellular space. Michael Marcotrigiano from Smith College, Massachusetts, wanted to...

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2009-12-23 07:46:54

Microscopic ridges contouring the surface of flower petals might play a role in flashing that come-hither look pollinating insects can't resist. Michigan State University scientists and colleagues now have figured out how those form. The result could help researchers learn to enhance plants' pollination success and even could lead to high-grip nanomaterials and "green chemical" feedstocks. "Surprisingly, our work on plant surface biochemistry became a birds and bees and flowers story," said...

2009-12-14 12:30:00

Biologists have identified plant enzymes that may help to engineer plants that take advantage of elevated carbon dioxide to use water more efficiently. The finding could help to engineer crops that take advantage of rising greenhouse gases. Plants take in the carbon dioxide they need for photosynthesis through microscopic breathing pores in the surface of leaves. But for each molecule of the gas gained, they lose hundreds of water molecules through these same openings. The pores can tighten...