Plants

  • Photo of Time-lapse reveals the hidden dance of roots

    Time-lapse reveals the hidden dance of roots

    Duke researchers have been studying something that happens too slowly for our eyes to see. A team in biologist Philip Benfey’s lab wanted to see how plant roots burrow into the soil. So they set up a camera on rice seeds sprouting in clear gel, taking a new picture every 15 minutes for several days after germination. When they played…

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  • Photo of A (pollen-free) sigh of relief for Japan: The genetics of male sterility in cedar trees

    A (pollen-free) sigh of relief for Japan: The genetics of male sterility in cedar trees

    Cryptomeria japonica, or the Japanese cedar, is highly revered as the national tree of Japan. Locally known as ‘sugi,’ it covers over 4.5 million hectares of land, accounting for nearly half of Japan’s artificial forests. However, it is also notorious for causing hay fever, with a good 26.5% of Japan’s population reporting cedar pollen allergies in 2008. Over the past…

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  • Photo of Researchers solve riddle of plant immune system

    Researchers solve riddle of plant immune system

    How do plants build resilience? An international research team led by the University of Göttingen studied the molecular mechanisms of the plant immune system. They were able to show a connection between a relatively unknown gene and resistance to pathogens. The results of the study were published in the journal The Plant Cell. Scientists from “PRoTECT”—Plant Responses To Eliminate Critical…

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  • Photo of Application of potassium to grass used as cover crop guarantees higher-quality cotton

    Application of potassium to grass used as cover crop guarantees higher-quality cotton

    The use of cover crops between cotton harvests protects the soil, conserves water, and reduces the risk of erosion. Researchers at the University of Western São Paulo (UNOESTE) and São Paulo State University (UNESP) in Brazil found that application of potassium (K) to a grass cover crop grown before cotton in sandy soil lowered production cost and resulted in cotton…

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  • Photo of Eating spinach could protect astronauts from space radiation, study suggests

    Eating spinach could protect astronauts from space radiation, study suggests

    One of the biggest barriers to long-distance space travel is how to protect astronauts from the damaging effects of space radiation. Cosmic rays and proton storms from the Sun expose spacefarers to dangerous levels of radiation that the human body has not evolved to handle. However, an antioxidant-rich diet could go some way to protecting cardiovascular health in space. “If…

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  • Photo of Researchers identify up to 98 potential species of melon, watermelon and almond pollinating bees

    Researchers identify up to 98 potential species of melon, watermelon and almond pollinating bees

    Researchers from the Faculty of Biological Sciences of the University of Valencia (UV), with other Spanish and European universities, have identified a total of 98 species of bees potentially pollinating three crops of economic importance in Spain: melon, watermelon and almond. The research, published in the journal Annales de la Société entomologique de France, will help plan conservation actions for…

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  • Photo of I’m 47. How many trees would I need to plant to carbon offset my life?

    I’m 47. How many trees would I need to plant to carbon offset my life?

    The average person in the UK has a carbon footprint of about 13 tonnes per year. This is a ‘carbon dioxide equivalent’ value (CO2e), as it also includes emissions of other greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide, adjusted so that the warming from these gases can be compared to the warming from carbon dioxide. Multiplying that figure by…

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  • Photo of Why are four-leaf clovers so rare?

    Why are four-leaf clovers so rare?

    As in animals, plant genes are located on tiny packages of DNA in the nucleus of every cell, called chromosomes. Whereas human chromosomes come in matched pairs, clovers have four copies of each chromosome per cell. The gene responsible for four-leaf clovers is ‘recessive’, which means that the plant will only produce four leaves if it has the four-leaf gene…

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  • Why plant diversity is so important for bee diversity

    As abundant and widespread bees, it is common to see both bumble bees and honey bees foraging on the same flower species during the summer, whether in Britain or many other countries. Yet researchers at the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects (LASI) at the University of Sussex, have found that different bees dominate particular flower species and revealed why.…

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  • Photo of A reeking, parasitic plant lost its body and much of its genetic code

    A reeking, parasitic plant lost its body and much of its genetic code

    For most of their lives, plants in the Sapria genus are barely anything — thin ribbons of parasitic cells winding inside vines in Southeast Asian rainforests. They become visible only when they reproduce, bursting from their host as a dinner plate–sized flower that smells like rotting flesh. Now, new research on the genetic code of this rare plant reveals the…

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