basic research

Choice of the bees: pollinator pressure and flower colour

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The other day, my friend and I were musing over the fact that many flowering plants require a third party pollinator in order to complete the fairly simple act of reproducing. And that while this sexual ‘three-or-moresome’ has some pretty great advantages, it also forces plants to spend a fair amount of energy just in attracting the middle men.… Read more

Knowing when it’s wintertime.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Winter time can be hard for plants, and many species that live in particularly cold climates do their best to ‘opt out’. When autumn comes, leaf shedding deciduous species effectively shut it all down. They reabsorb as many nutrients as they can from their leaves, throw the remaining orange-red husks to the ground, and hunker down for the cold times.… Read more

CTRL-C, CTRL-V: Plants plagiarize to make new mitochondrial proteins

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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