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Plants v. lasers: remarkable root regeneration

Plants are better than you.

They’re better at fixing carbon (hello photosynthesis). They’re better at attracting bees. They’re generally just a whole lot prettier than you, even this guy And, relevant for today’s post, they’re better than you at surviving laser attacks… providing that the lasers only damage a few cells at a time, and the plants get given a somewhat long time to recover between each shot.… Read more

Coccolitho-four facts

Ok, ok. So this blog is supposed to be about plants, and the amazing things that they do. But what we’re talking about today isn’t actually a plant. Instead, it’s a bunch of unicellular algae known as coccolithophores. Here are our four favourite facts about these fascinating not-quite-plants.… Read more

Single cell technology hits plant roots!

Often, when trying to find out what’s going on within our favourite green friends, we scientists simply grab a plants, grind it up, and perform a range of molecular or biochemical tests. But if we’re completely honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that not all plant parts are created equal. … Read more

Choice of the bees: pollinator pressure and flower colour

The other day, my friend and I were musing over the fact that many flowering plants require a third party pollinator in order to complete the fairly simple act of reproducing. And that while this sexual ‘three-or-moresome’ has some pretty great advantages, it also forces plants to spend a fair amount of energy just in attracting the middle men.… Read more

Knowing when it’s wintertime.

Winter time can be hard for plants, and many species that live in particularly cold climates do their best to ‘opt out’. When autumn comes, leaf shedding deciduous species effectively shut it all down. They reabsorb as many nutrients as they can from their leaves, throw the remaining orange-red husks to the ground, and hunker down for the cold times.

Evergreen trees, like pines and spruces, aren’t quite as dramatic. But they still need to find ways to protect themselves and their most valuable assets from the killer cold.… Read more

CTRL-C, CTRL-V: Plants plagiarize to make new mitochondrial proteins

You’ll probably remember this one from grade school biology. Mitochondria are ‘the powerhouse of the cell’. Which basically means that mitochondria take sugars and break them down to make energy.

But those little powerhouses were once so much more- they were an entire organisms. A very long time ago, a certain type of proteobacteria was engulfed by a single celled host organism, but that organism decided that instead of digesting the proteobacteria, it would hold onto it. With time, the proteobacteria evolved into the modern mitochondria, a process that involved most of its very own bacterial genome being stolen away, and sequestered in the nucleus of the host.… Read more

We were at PTDW

Hi all. Something a bit different today.

On the weekend, Joram and I went to Communicate Plant Science at the Potsdam Day of Science. Although the communication was in German, which gave me a bit of stress (Figure 1), we managed to have a nice time chatting to the public, giving away some sunflower seeds, and asking them to ask us questions!… Read more