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

The forgotten organelle

Think of a plant organelle. You probably picked the chloroplast, the guy that’s specific to plants. Or maybe the giant vacuole. If you‘re weird, you picked the tiny mitochondria*. Chances are, however, that you forgot about one organelle – the peroxisome.

*We’re both chloroplast people, thus the mito shade.… 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

Drawing Plants and Pipettes

I’m not an artist. I’m a fairly conventionally trained molecular biologist and I spent way more time assembling acrylamide gels than on the drawing board. Still, I draw most of the images here on the site. Today, I’ll show you how.… Read more

Global climate strike 2019

You might have noticed it on the news, or maybe you even joined – this year there was a Global Climate Strike on September 20th. We joined our local demonstration in Berlin… Read more

How the Leaf got its Shape

Leaves begin their lives as a tiny rounded ‘peg’- an outgrowth of a cluster of just a few cells. Yet as they grow, they develop not only in size, but also in shape. The result: a huge and beautiful diversity of foliage structures, with differences seen from species to species, within a single plant as it ages, or in response to the surrounding environment.

So why exactly do leaves look like they do?

It all comes down to light, water, wind warmth..… Read more

Werewolf roots

This werewolf didn’t come into being like the werewolves of other stories do. There wasn’t a bite, a fever, or rapidly sprouting knuckle-hairs. There wasn’t a dark night or a full moon or the howling call of the wild.

But there were scientists. And there may have been some mutagenic substances.… Read more

A house that plants built

Insects, viruses, bacteria and others can hijack plant genes to turn leaves into highly specialised organs that have one main function: to serve as a home for the invader. … Read more