articles

The Greatest Protein on Earth

Reading Time: 4 minutes

RuBisCO is probably the most abundant protein complex on the planet. It’s a major player in photosynthesis: responsible for taking carbon dioxide and fixing it into a human-consumable carbon source (sugars!), and in doing so helping to make the oxygen we breathe, and helping our plant friends grow. So RuBisCO is at the centre of nearly everything that we breathe and eat eat, dress in, wear and build our homes with. We think you might agree with us that RuBisCO is indeed The Greatest Protein On Earth.… Read more

Pennycress: Arabidopsis’ ‘cooler’ cousin

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Before last week, I had never heard of pennycress. It’s a relative of our beloved Arabidopsis, that up until now has been firmly relegated to the category of ‘weed’. But its oily seeds, its ability to withstand extreme cold, and the possible ease at which it can be genetically manipulated, just might make it a promising crop plant for the future of food security. … Read more

Simple Things #7

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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

Finding fields of ‘plenty’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As a scientist who occasionally has to remember the names of genes and proteins, I’m always happy when other researchers come up with something both cute and logical.

Enter the protein ‘PLENTY’. … Read more

#UnscienceaPlant

Reading Time: 3 minutes

At the end of January a twitter trend made its way to us and we could not resist joining in on the fun. Let’s unscience all the plants!… Read more

Simple Things #6

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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 fought the law and the law won

Reading Time: 5 minutes

CRISPR/Cas9 wows plant researchers and fascinates plant breeders. The public however doesn’t necessarily feel the same warm glow – public response has been mixed at best. Why is that?… Read more

Tree enemies are diversity’s friend

Reading Time: 5 minutes

How many different plants can coexist in one environment?

It’s a question that I ask myself every time I walk past a plant shop and contemplate buying yet another Monstera-like cousin for my increasingly overcrowded flat. But it’s also a question that scientists have been asking for many years when discussing dauntingly diverse tropical forest ecosystems.

It turns out that we may have had the answer for nearly 50 years.… Read more