Bacteriocins waging war in the Bacteria Battlegrounds

Pseudomonas syringae is a gram-negative bacteria that can have a devastating effect on a range of crops. From tomatoes, to beans, to tobacco, to kiwifruit – P syringae can destroy them all (or at least heavily maim them, resulting in crop losses). So what’s the answer? Recent research suggests that bacteriocins might be a suitable weapon in the battle against the bacteria.… Read more

Healing Herbs I – Paclitaxel

We’ve sung their praises before, and we’ll do it again: plants make the oxygen we breathe, the food we eat, the fibres that form our clothing, our fuel, and our shelters. Plus they’re just so darn pretty. But one of the things we mention perhaps less often, is that these glorious greens are not only there for us in the good times, they’ve also got us covered in the bad. Today we’re starting a new series, where we discuss some of the amazing (scientifically supported) medicines that have been developed from planty products.… Read more

Taming a Virus

You’ve all seen the news on CRISPR. The fantastic new technology that seems to get more impressive each day, and which by now seems capable of answering almost any biological question we can ask. But CRISPR technology, and the things we can do with it, is only useful if we can actually get the CRISPR inside the species we want to study. And, as it turns out, there are many species which can’t be transformed- species that we can’t efficiently get CRISPR-encoding sequences into in the first place.… Read more

The Spooookiest Plant Genes

Welcome to Halloween 2019!

Earlier in the week we shared a list of the scariest plants, including some that are dangerous, some that are deadly, and some that just have really cool names and backstories.

Today, we’re talking about our favourite plant genes, proteins and mutants with sufficiently spooooky names.

Let us know in the comments if you think we’ve missed any!… Read more

Our 11 Scariest Plants

Welcome to Halloween Week!

We thought we could stick to the spoooky theme this week, and present our favourite scary plants. Just as a disclaimer – we are well aware of (and a little bit sad about) the fact that some people will hear ‘scary plant’ and immediately thing ‘GMO’. But that’s not at all what this is about.

Instead, we’re focusing on the devious, the dangerous, and the deadly… a well as a couple of plants that just plain old smell like dung.… Read more

Cross both ways before you look!

Today, in this CROSSOVER with Vivian from Instagram’s @Fat_plants_only, we’re talking about literal crossing. 

More specifically, we’re diving into the molecular and genetic factors that play a role into directional crossing differences. I.e., why it is sometimes, using one parent species as the dad (pollen or sperm donor) and one as the mum (egg donor) makes a completely different offspring, compared to when we use those same parents, but switch their roles.… Read more

Babyccino*, with Arabidopsis milk?

Plants have long been used as an important source of oil- sunflower, olive, canola and even pumpkin seed. And, more recently, they’ve also been used to make nilk**: soy, oat, almond and cashew.

Today, we’ve got a bit of a mixed bag for you, a post about how plant oils can be used to make milk products. The kind- in case the title of the post didn’t tip you off- that are designed specifically for babies.

*For those of you who don’t know what a babyccino is, it’s basically just frothed warm milk.… Read more

What it takes to be a mitochondrion

You all know the mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells.. but what exactly is required to get that power going?

Mitos were first seen as organelles way back in the 1800s, and known to be the sites of cellular respiration by the early 1900s. And although we now know that in order to do this respiration- plus a multitude of other functions- mito require thousands of types of proteins in order to function, we don’t really have a perfect idea of how many of each of those proteins is required.… Read more