articles

Simple Things #5

In which we use Randall Munroe’s ‘simple writer‘ to explain plant-and-pipette topics. Can you guess what they are?

Monroe’s ‘simple writer’ limits language use to only the 10 hundred most common words in the English language. So the word ‘chloroplast’ is out. But so is ‘duck’, ‘cuddle’, and ‘explosion’.

We’ve tried to define a plant and pipette related word using only these common words. Can you tell what we’re talking about? The solution is shown at the bottom.… Read more

CRISPR/Cas9 – a shortcut to better plants?

HiScientists across the globe are excited about CRISPR/Cas9 and the possibilities the new method brings to research. And they’re not alone: plant breeders are eyeballing the tool as well. What makes CRISPR/Cas9 so special in comparison to traditional breeding?… Read more

Spitting in the eye of plant defences

Unlike animals, plants can’t make a run for it when attacked by predators: they have to stand and fight. And fight they do, with a variety of defences designed to prevent themselves from becoming food. But of course, in the evolutionary tug-of-war of nature, the predators themselves have developed specialised weapons to surmount these blockades.

And for whitefly, the secret’s in the spit!… Read more

Simple Things #4

In which we use Randall Munroe’s ‘simple writer‘ to explain plant-and-pipette topics. Can you guess what they are?

Monroe’s ‘simple writer’ limits language use to only the 10 hundred most common words in the English language. So the word ‘chloroplast’ is out. But so is ‘duck’, ‘cuddle’, and ‘explosion’.

We’ve tried to define a plant and pipette related word using only these common words. Can you tell what we’re talking about? The solution is shown at the bottom.… Read more

Here to stay – the CRISPR/Cas9 system

Very few scientific methods manage to jump from the world of molecular research into popular knowledge.

Detectives on TV put a swab from a crime scene into a DNA sequencer and – bingo! – the culprit is found. On the next channel, in a disastrous case of ‘genetic engineering gone wrong’, a monster roams New York City!

Seen it all? Well scientists have come up with a hot new method to fill tomorrow’s movie plots: CRISPR/Cas9 is here to stay!… Read more

Meet the lab rats of the plant world

When studying human disease or development, scientists usually don’t start experiments directly with good old Homo sapiens, but instead begin their quest using cell lines, fruit flies, or even mice. In the plant field things are similar. And although our model organisms aren’t quite as fluffy as your standard ‘lab rat’, the come with a whole lot of benefits. … Read more

Simple Things #3

In which we use Randall Munroe’s ‘simple writer‘ to explain plant-and-pipette topics. Can you guess what they are?

Monroe’s ‘simple writer’ limits language use to only the 10 hundred most common words in the English language. So the word ‘chloroplast’ is out. But so is ‘duck’, ‘cuddle’, and ‘explosion’.

We’ve tried to define a plant and pipette related word using only these common words. Can you tell what we’re talking about? The solution is shown at the bottom.… Read more

Rubber tree

Honestly, I chose to write about the rubber tree (a.k.a Ficus elastica) for our first ‘my favourite plant’ segment, because I have a huge one in my flat, looming dramatically over my bed.

But I actually followed through on that thought because of Living Root Bridges. Which just look friggin’ cool.… Read more

mRNA- going the (long) distance

Inside billions of cells all around us, DNA quietly makes messenger RNA (mRNA), which in turn acts as the template for protein synthesis.

In this equation, mRNA is the boring middle man. Unlike DNA, its lifetime is short, and it doesn’t get passed to the next generation. It also doesn’t get the protein life- catalyzing metabolic reactions, capturing the light from the sun, or transporting products across cell membranes.

Sometimes in our lives, we need a thrilling tale of an ordinary guy making a break for freedom….… Read more

Simple things #2

In which we use Randall Munroe’s ‘simple writer‘ to explain plant-and-pipette topics. Can you guess what they are?

Monroe’s ‘simple writer’ limits language use to only the 10 hundred most common words in the English language. So the word ‘chloroplast’ is out. But so is ‘duck’, ‘cuddle’, and ‘explosion’.

We’ve tried to define a plant and pipette related word using only these common words. Can you tell what we’re talking about? The solution is shown at the bottom.… Read more