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DNA sequencing – The Methods that Made us

Every living thing depends on the information stored in its genetic material. DNA, the code passed down through generations and geological time, defines an organism. Within individual cells, DNA is transcribed into RNA, that is then translated to busy proteins: DNA is the starting block for cellular development and activity!

Furthermore, the genetic information of every being also tells the story of its evolution, its relatives and its adaptation to the environment.

It’s no wonder that scientists longed to decode the secrets of the DNA sequence ever since its discovery. … Read more

Chinese Duck Army

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I hope you’re doing well and the ever-present Corona virus hasn’t reached you or your loved ones. While conferences and such are cancelled, we remain unaffected as we both dwell in our homes with little to no contact to the outside world, only connected by a remote podcasting session. … Read more

Welcome to my mucilage-filled cavities

The other day, while reading about the newly-published genome for the hornwort species Anthoceros angustus, I came across the most delightful of all descriptions: ‘mucilage-filled cavities’.

I had to find out more.… Read more

When this tree is stressed, it becomes female

We all have different strategies to deal with stress. Some resort to excessive day-sleeping, others, like me, empty their sweets cupboard. For the striped maple, the response is even more extreme: when stress becomes too high, it changes its sex to female. … Read more

Get the hell off my carpet!

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We’re finally back together – even though it’s just for one night. We celebrate by recording a podcast for you and we talk about sex changing trees, the tiniest plants and lots of fun stuff. … Read more

Plant protein is the best

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Would you eat crickets? Joram says no, Tegan, however, is already munching away any insect that crosses her path. Maybe it’s best to stick to plant protein, after all.… Read more

No, your plants won’t purify the air of your office

Sitting in an office is rarely fun. Sure, sometimes you sit with crazy colleagues that you quite cherish and who will eventually start a plant blog with you… but how often does that happen, really? Apart from the work itself, the ‘office’ part of office work means being stuck indoors for hours and hours, sitting at a desk, breathing that same old recirculated air filled with the smells of the floor, desk, chair, office printer, and of course your co-worker‘s new cologne.… Read more

Rhinoceros and Anthoceros are two very different things

If you had asked me two weeks ago how to pronounce Anthoceros, I would have confidently (or, as confident as I ever am with these naming things) replied: AnthoCERos. Hard push on the ‘cer’.

But if Anthoceros means ‘flower horn’, and has the same etymological roots as the ‘nose horned’ Rhinoceros, well then, shouldn’t I be pronouncing it AnTHOceros?

While the recently published Anthoceros genome didn’t manage to answer this question for me, it did touch on some other cool facts about this long-neglected group of plant.… Read more