Recently in the Plant Biology Category


Bringing Extinct Plants to Life

Jeff Benca is an admitted ueber-geek when it comes to prehistoric plants, so it was no surprise that, when he submitted a paper describing a new species of long-extinct lycopod for publication, he ditched the standard line drawing and insisted on a detailed and beautifully rendered color reconstruction of the plant. This piece earned the cover of March's centennial issue of the American Journal of Botany.

When we send probes to other worlds (such as Mars) to look for evidence of past life, we are sending them to look for fossils.

Sea anemone shows a genomic landscape surprisingly similar to human genome, but also displays regulatory mechanisms similar to plants.

Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey and Reading University have demonstrated that, after over 1,500 years frozen in Antarctic ice, moss can come back to life and continue to grow.

Photosynthetic life requires sufficient photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) to metabolise. On Earth, plant behaviour, physiology and metabolism are sculpted around the night-day cycle by an endogenous biological circadian clock.

Glowing Plants Are A Sign of Health

Radiant skin is considered a sign of good health in humans, but plants also glow when they are well. A potential new ESA satellite could use this fluorescence to track the health and productivity of vegetation worldwide.

Microscopic fungi that live in plants' roots play a major role in the storage and release of carbon from the soil into the atmosphere.

Conventional scientific wisdom has it that plants and other creatures have only lived on land for about 500 million years, and that landscapes of the early Earth were as barren as Mars.

When Catherine La Farge threads her way through the recently exposed terrain left behind by retreating glaciers, she looks at the ancient plant remains a lot closer than most. Now, her careful scrutiny has revealed a startling reawakening of long-dormant plants known as bryophytes.

A team of researchers from NAI's Montana State University Team has proposed a new path in the evolution of biological nitrogen fixation on Earth. Nitrogen is one of the most important elements for life on Earth, and astrobiologists have long been interested in its role in the history and evolution of life.

Nitrogen is abundant on our planet as an atmospheric gas. However, in order for Nitrogen to be accessible for life, it must be converted into other chemical forms. A key step in the global cycling of nitrogen is biological nitrogen fixation, which is accomplished via a protein known as 'nitrogenase.' Three forms of nitrogenase are known - all similar, but containing slightly different metallic complexes. Previously, scientists thought the most common nitrogenase found today (which contains the element molybdenum (Mo)) appeared later in life's evolution that the two lesser-found forms (containing vanadium (V) or iron(Fe)). The new study has revealed an evolutionary path that places Mo-dependent nitrogenase earlier than the V and Fe forms. The study is changing views of how this important biological pathway evolved through time - shedding light on the early history of life on Earth.

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology under lead author Eric S. Boyd. The research was carried out as part of the NAI project "Evolution of Nitrogen Fixation, Photosynthesis, Hydrogen Metabolism, and Methanogenesis."