breeding

Thorns to branches

Reading Time: 4 minutes

On today’s episode of “how it’s made”: Thorns!

The pointy defence system relied on by many plants has an interesting origin story. Thorns start out as branch-like structures that grow out of the main stem and then, all of a sudden, turn into sharp death spikes. Now, researchers have not only figured out how that happens, but also how it can be stopped. … Read more

Researchers use genetic copy/paste to make better rice

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Oh sun! How beautiful are the days when you shine, how warm is your light, and how much energy do you push into the photosystems of our plants!

Sometimes, as it turns out, that energy is a little too much. A surplus of light creates a major challenge to plants, causing damage to the core of their photosystems. Recent research shows that the simple addition of an extra copy of an important gene can prime plants to keep producing even when the heat is on.… Read more

Here to stay – the CRISPR/Cas9 system

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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