All posts

PPR-protein-expression-system-plant: very good ☁☂

  • joram 

Despite a MASSIVE thunderstorm we came together and recorded episode 10 for you guys. Aren’t we great? Yes, we are.

Tegan’s paper: Engineered PPR proteins as inducible switches to activate the expression of chloroplast transgenes, Margarita Rojas, Qiguo Yu, Rosalind Williams-Carrier, Pal Maliga & Alice Barkan, Nature Plants, volume 5, pages505–511 (2019) 

Joram’s favourite plant has the biggest leaves. This palm is a total cheat so let’s praise giant rhubarb instead.

Joram and the giant rhubarb
Tegan and the medium sized rhubarb

Our listener question of the day: do you think we can eat everything that dinosaurs could eat?… Read more

Harry Bittercress and the suspicious petals

  • joram 

This week, we’re trying something new! Instead of doing a longer episode with two papers, we’re doing just one paper and instead release weekly! All thanks to us benevolent researchers listening to the voices of you, the common people of instagram.

This week, Joram is nerding out about Harry Bittercress, the newest star on the firmament of young adult research articles. Tegan’s favourite plant is super slick and super endangered and then we have an app for you and some feline fun facts.… Read more

Where are our GM superfoods?

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

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

Give peas a chance

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

Pennycress for your thoughts

  • joram 

Heyyy it’s another episode of the plants and pipettes podcast! This week, we have something special for you: we talked to Ratan Chopra, researcher at the University of Minnesota about his work domesticating pennycress. Sounds familiar? Yes! We presented his research on the blog and now had the chance to talk to him directly.

Ratan works in the lab of David Marks who is pioneering and driving forward the work on pennycress. Using its close family relationship to Arabidopsis, he and his group were able to quickly advance the knowledge and domestication of pennycress, turning it from a weed into a soon-to-be crop plant.… 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