Let’s get Fascinated

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Today, 18th of May, is International Fascination of Plants Day.

If you want to find out more about the day, go here. If you want to read some of our favourite stories about plant science from the last year, read on!

Joram’s Favourites

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

  • Scientists vs. a a commonly held misconception- that plants can make your office air ‘cleaner. Personally, I intend to keep collecting houseplants anyway.

Raindrops keep falling on my leaf

  • A study that shows that plants, like the rest of us, can get stressed out by being rained on. This may be because rain, which can bounce from leaf to leaf, can also help the spread of viruses, fungal spores or bacteria. So if plants feel rain, they might also be feeling an imminent threat!

Bacteriocins waging war in the Bacteria Battlegrounds

  • Some bacteria produce bacteriocins, small toxic proteins that are made to murder other bacteria. Scientists made modified plants that produced these bacteriocins, to see if it helped the plant’s own survival.

How the Leaf Got It’s Shape

  • Leaves come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. But what are the factors that drive this natural diversity? Well- recent research suggests that it might come down to light, water, wind warmth.. and maybe also weevils?!

There’s no such thing as Mar-can’t-ia

  • A post for those of you who, like us, still get confused between liverworts and hornworts

See-through Soil

  • Scientists develop a new substance that mimics soil, but which allows them to literally watch plant roots grow. It also contains ‘Joram’s favourite image of all kind’.

Tegan’s Favourites

P-bodies prepare plants for growth in the light

  • Switching from growth in darkness to growth in light during germination involves a tonne of changes that need to happen rapidly… but making new transcripts to make new proteins takes a whole lot of time. Plants have found a cheat to bypass that old DNA-RNA-PROTEIN slog.

Global Biodiversity Hotspots- Defined by Plants

  • In a world that is rapidly losing biodiversity, knowing which areas we should focus our limited resources on is incredibly important. Global Hotspots make up just 2.4% of the Earth’s surface, but include nearly 43% of all of all bird, mammal, reptiles an amphibian species, and over half of the world’s plant species.

Healing Herbs II – Artemisinin

  • This compound is the most effective drug against Malaria. And it’s made only in the glandular trichomes or a small herb.

The thin tree line between life and death

  • Entire forests are dying in our rapidly warming world. Scientists investigate whether parched trees can be identified, and saved, before it becomes too late.

Where are our GM superfoods?

  • If genetic modification is so powerful, how come we still don’t have the GM superfoods that were first discussed decades ago?

Life in the Litterbox

  • Using everyday objects and materials to do science? Check! Kittens? Check! Honestly, what more could you even want?

So that’s it, our list of favourites. We’d love to hear from you which of the articles you particularly liked, and what you’d like to hear more of!

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