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Superpowers and lion’s teeth

Last weekend, the Fast Forward Science competition held its Super Fast challenge – 24 hours to tell a story about science on Instagram… this year, with the topic of “Hero”. I didn’t have to look far in my neighbourhood to find a true hero of the plant world: dandelion.… Read more

Crouching Dragon Hidden Protein

  • joram 

Welcome again to another episode of our little podcast. This week, we’re talking about the intricacies of Saffron and

Tegan’s paper: Schmidt, T. , Heitkam, T. , Liedtke, S. , Schubert, V. and Menzel, G. (2019), Adding color to a century‐old enigma: multi‐color chromosome identification unravels the autotriploid nature of saffron (Crocus sativus) as a hybrid of wild Crocus cartwrightianus cytotypes. New Phytol, 222: 1965-1980. doi:10.1111/nph.15715

Joram’s paper: The Role of Plastidic Trigger Factor Serving Protein Biogenesis in Green Algae and Land Plants, Marina Rohr, Fabian Ries, Claudia Herkt, Vincent Leon Gotsmann, Lisa Désirée Westrich, Karin Gries, Raphael Trösch, Jens Christmann, Frederic Chaux-Jukic, Martin Jung, David Zimmer, Timo Mühlhaus, Frederik Sommer, Michael Schroda, Sandro Keller, Torsten Möhlmann, Felix Willmund, Plant Physiology Mar 2019, 179 (3) 1093-1110; DOI: 10.1104/pp.18.01252

The “crouching dragon” protein structure from the paper.… 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

Wir waren beim PTDW

Hello to our English-speaking readers. This post is in German, you can find an English version here.

Hallo alle zusammen, heute gibt es mal etwas anderes.

Letztes Wochenende waren Joram und ich beim Potsdamer Tag der Wissenschaften, um Plants and Pipettes vorzustellen. Während wir normalerweise hier auf Englisch schreiben und sprechen, haben wir uns dieses mal auf Deutsch unterhalten, was mich ein kleines bisschen gestresst hat (Abb. 1). Dennoch hatten wir viel Spaß dabei, mit dem Publikum zu reden, Sonnenblumensamen zu verteilen und Fragen einzusammeln.… 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

PnP goes PTDW

If you’re in the Potsdam/Berlin area this Saturday, May 11th, you’re in for a treat! You can meet the heads behind Plants and Pipettes (That’s us!) at the Potsdam Day of Science.

Eine deutsche Version des Artikels gibt es hier.

You can find all information on the official website, our little event is described here. You will find Plants and Pipettes in the foyer of the central building.

Come and say hi, bring your favourite questions about plant science and follow the hashtag #ptdw.… Read more

Poison Peas and the Australian Arms Race

The synthetic poison 1080 (pronounced ten eighty), is used widely in Australia and New Zealand to control the population of feral animals that threaten local species with extinction. While 1080 is fatal to feral fauna, the scientific magic of it, is that many native species can snack on the substance without any harm. All because of some peas, their poison, and a plant v. herbivore arms race.… Read more

Seven Dish

  • joram 

Hello again! Do you want to know about a potentially organic alternative to glyphosate and the recycling system of organelle DNA? You came to the right place podcast! We also have a new favourite plant and some fun stuff for you!

Joram’s paper: Brilisauer, K., Rapp, J., Rath, P., Schöllhorn, A., Bleul, L., Weiß, E., … Forchhammer, K. (2019). Cyanobacterial antimetabolite 7-deoxy-sedoheptulose blocks the shikimate pathway to inhibit the growth of prototrophic organisms. Nature Communications10(1), 545.

Tegan’s paper: Takami, T., Ohnishi, N., Kurita, Y., Iwamura, S., Ohnishi, M., Kusaba, M., … Sakamoto, W.… Read more

‘You’ve got babies on your leaves’

Welcome to another episode of #didtheyreallycallitthat?!, in which we discuss the bizarre names that plant scientists give their favourite genes, proteins or mutants. Up today is the Arabidopsis transcription factor BABY BOOM. Can you guess what it does?… Read more

Fatherless super plants

Breeders have spent decades, centuries even, creating near-perfect crop lines. Meanwhile, scientists argue that these plants might still be further improved, and that new technologies can provide shortcuts in creating new lines. However, as is often the case, the theoretical discussion leads in practice to a dead end: the new technology simply doesn’t work when used with certain optimised lines. Recent work from Kelliher et al. demonstrates a neat way to ignore this problem. All you need is a few genetic glitches (or deliberately programmed errors), and a sprinkling of the right drugs.… Read more