If you’re as bad a plant parent as me, you’ve probably been in the position of coming home from a long summer vacation and being faced with crispy plants and the big question: is it worth watering your plants and hoping for their recovery, or should you immediately chuck everything in the bin and start from scratch?… Read more
Evolutionary progress requires genetic material to build on- building blocks that can be shaped and changed with time and selective pressure. Plants are especially good at copy-pasting large chunks of their own DNA or even entire chromosomes, and then altering them, slowly but surely, to make new functional genes.
Sometimes however, they get fresh material from the outside.
Let’s talk about horizontal gene transfer: nature’s own way of creating GMOs.… Read more
Plants are great listeners. Your average houseplant will happily spend hours hearing about your daily troubles, and won’t bat an eye if you sing Brittney’s ‘Toxic’ out of key for the best part of an hour. Out in the wild, this ‘listening’ has a more practical side- plants listen, by feeling sound vibrations on their leaves, for signs of attack. And when they hear the angry munchings of a hungry caterpillar, they prepare to fight for their lives!… Read more
Sometimes, the world doesn’t seem to work in your favour. Your co-worker’s experiment works on the first try, everyone finds a seat on the train but you, and your lawn can’t really compete with your neighbour’s. Today we’re looking at whether the grass really is greener on the other side, a journey that takes us deep into the centre of the leaf.… Read more
Plants can’t really choose whose pollen they get covered with. All kinds of pollinators bring all kinds of pollen to the party. And with it they bring the burden, to the plant, of figuring out which pollen to allow in and which to send away. But as it turns out, plants know just which molecular bouncers to use, to keep the party going.… Read more
Most people use instagram to follow celebs and look at highly staged photos of people enjoying their morning cup of cold brew on top of mountain in their underwear at sunset. Us plant nerds, however, like to look at plants.
And if you’re anything like us, you might have noticed a trend – marbled monstera plants, fancy ficuses with white borders, and pale or patterned philodendrons. These diverse beauties are out to show that being different from the other plants only makes them more fascinating.… Read more
Sometimes all you want for your research is a couple million of your favourite lab rat. No space in the green house? Try a beaker! Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is your guy – in fact, with Chlamy, you’ve got several million guys per millilitre.… Read more
With the idea of genetically modified (GM) crops, we the public were promised amazing new products. Healthier, tastier and better plant based foods to fill our plates. But now, it’s been over 30 years since people first proposed to use genetic engineering in plant breeding, and our plates mostly contain the same plant products as before.
What happened?… Read more
When the sun comes out, Germans and Australians have something in common: we light a fire and start cooking food outdoors. The usual barbecued suspects are sausages of questionable origin, something sitting in a red marinade, and charred but somehow-still-raw chicken breast. While this does sound mouthwatering, a new trend might bring a fresh player to the barbecues and kitchens around the world – plant based protein products.
Let’s have a look at what makes plant protein special.… Read more