Plant & zo

The science of plants and more

Shape shifting RNA

Shape shifting RNA For lots of plants it is important to know when it is winter, and when winter is gone. They adjust their growth accordingly. Plants, for example, often flower only after they have gone through a period of cold. We know lost about how plants are regulating this. But how plants perceive coldContinue reading “Shape shifting RNA”

Manipulative intruders

Manipulative intruders Pathogens are shrewd operators while entering a plant and stealing its nutrients. They use proteins that manipulate the plant, preventing it from noticing the intruders. Most of them work hard to repress the plant’s immune response. So that it cannot raise the alarm. But this turned out not to be true for theContinue reading “Manipulative intruders”

Selecting fungi

Selecting fungi We all carry our own micro-organisms with us, plants also. The communities that these micro-organisms form contribute to keeping the plant healthy. For example, micro-organisms can collaborate with a plant, exchanging nutrients for sugars, helping the plant grow. Or micro-organisms can produce substances that make the plant less attractive for herbivores. And theyContinue reading “Selecting fungi”

How to do both

How to do both Sometimes there are things by which you think; how? So are there for example gen-on switches in plants that turns on a gene when there are only few of them but turn off the same gene when they are with many. Contradictory you would say. The logical expectation would be thatContinue reading “How to do both”

Fast Breeding

Fast Breeding Crops that can survive the heat, and drought. That are nutritious, but also resistant against pests and diseases. A whole list of wishes. Preferably ready by today, and if that is not possible then by tomorrow, but no later. Hooked as we are to the quick fulfilment of our desires and wishes. ForgettingContinue reading “Fast Breeding”

From day to night

From day to night Licht and dark, regulate a plants growth and development. Day and night, each bringing their own set of regulators. But the transition goes gradually from the day to the night shift. Just like how the dark is slowly consuming the light at the start of the night. The important regulator ofContinue reading From day to night

Finding balance

Finding balance Miraculous, when you start thinking about it. Each plant, from the tiniest tot the gigantic, grow from their growth regions. Small groups of cells with as main goal: slowly dividing and no specialisation. By each division these cells place their daughter cells outside their group. These then divide a few more times andContinue reading Finding balance

Defying gravity

Defying gravity Roots, for a plant how the grow is life shaping. Straight down, for groundwater uptake. Or maybe sideways, for phosphate uptake. To regulate this precisely is crucial. Plants use gravity for growing downwards. About this lots is already known. But growing sideways, against gravity, that is more of a mystery. To find outContinue reading Defying gravity

Light on: Go

Light on: Go Water is an essential part of photosynthesis, the reaction that makes energy for plants. To get the water to the reaction, veins are essential. These pipelines transport the water form the roots to the light. As the water needs to get to the light, light influences the placement of these veins. Consequently,Continue reading “Light on: Go”

Compact soil protocol

Compact soil protocol For good rooting a not to close packed soil is a must for plants. When the ground is to compact it costs the roots more effort to find a way through. In agriculture, this is increasingly a problem. Here, intensive use of the ground results in compact soils. More difficult to accessContinue reading “Compact soil protocol”

Fruit development

Fruit development Strawberries, apples, pears, bananas, but also cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and pumpkins, are all fruits. All protecting their seeds and distributing them. Because we, and animals are picking them, taking, and eating them. There are also countless seedless fruits. Bred specially for us. But we actually don’t know how this is possible. The developmentContinue reading “Fruit development”

Excel through collaboration

Excel through collaboration Fungi, we see them mostly as the mushrooms that stick their heads above the ground in autumn. But underground there are whole networks of them. Plants make good use of those. They collaborate with Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Exchanging sugars for nutrients. And are so able to excel during difficult times. Not onlyContinue reading “Excel through collaboration”

Shooting seeds

Shooting seeds Plants have different strategies to spread their seeds. There are those that use animals, with the seeds traveling in the fur or stomach of the animal. Then there are those that trust the wind to disperse their seeds. A third group of plants spreads them all by themselves. They shoot their seeds asContinue reading “Shooting seeds”

Pausing growth

Pausing growth Just like ours, the environment of plants is in flux, changing constantly. There can be a drought, or a shortage of nutrients. To survive, plants adjust their growth. By shortage of water a plant will grow little to none. Only to start growing again after rain has fallen. For long it was notContinue reading “Pausing growth”

Relay messengers

Relay messengers A fast response is needed when pathogenic bacteria or fungi enters a plant. Then the plant can try to actively stop this intruder, starting an immune reaction. For this, the recogniser sends a message to the whole cell, who in turn forwards it to the whole plant. Like a relay. Although most ofContinue reading “Relay messengers”

Heat gives infections a chance

Heat gives infections a chance Through higher temperatures due to climate change plants get into more trouble. They get stressed faster. By heat. By drought. But also, it makes them more infection prone. At higher temperatures, the immune response upon pathogen infection does not happen. Giving the pathogens free access. The increasingly common occurrence ofContinue reading “Heat gives infections a chance”

Heat and drought, what now?

Heat and drought, what now? Both heat and drought occur more regular, and more often together. They can cause lots of trouble. Like people, plants don’t like it. They get stressed. Especially when there is both heat and drought. Heat and drought are asking for conflicting reactions. When there is just heat, a plant willContinue reading “Heat and drought, what now?”

Recognising salt

Recognising salt Salty soil and salty water are fatal to plants. It pushes them out of balance. To avoid this damage, plants have a salt-action plan. They turn on genes that help dealing with too much salt in a plant. They adjust their growth, avoiding the salty ground. But plants need salt as well, inContinue reading “Recognising salt”

Early communication

Early communication Like plants, plant cells cannot change their place. For forming functioning organs, good communication is a must. To tell the cell when to divide, and what its job is. This communication is most important at the verry start. During the development of the embryos the growth regions are established. When this does notContinue reading “Early communication”


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