Phosphorylation- the Givers and the Takers
You’ll often hear that proteins are the ‘doers’ of the cell: DNA stores and passes information across generations, RNA is a messenger middle-man, but protein is where the action’s at.
Well, let me tell you that this is overly-simplified pro-protein propaganda (although maybe because my heart belongs to RNA). Because while proteins can do things, they often need a bit of help. Just because a protein is ‘there’, doesn’t mean that it’s active. Many proteins need to be literally chaperoned into the right 3-D structure, require other co-factors to do their job (like minerals and pigments), or only work when they’re part of a multi-protein complex.… Read more
There’s no such thing as Mar-Can’t-ia
If you were as much of a plant-loving biology nerd as I was, you might still have some vague memories of plant classification systems rattling around from high school times. You known, the kind stuff that clusters with ‘useful’ memories of songs you learnt in grade three about environmentalism, the school motto, and your locker combination.… Read more
PEPC is the new RuBisCOla
Last week, we discussed how RuBisCO, although incredible and amazing…is also a little bit terrible at its job. Today we’re introducing a couple of cheats that plants have found to work around RuBisCO’s issues, and what this might mean for the future of food and fuel for humankind.
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The Greatest Protein on Earth
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
Lab Rats Part II: the ‘Cinderella’ plant
Look, I’m going to admit that I’m not being objective here. And a scientist should be objective. But today, I’m taking off my lab coat, and following my heart…straight to Nicotiana tabacum.… Read more
CRISPR fought the law and the law won
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
CRISPR/Cas9 – a shortcut to better plants?
HiScientists across the globe are excited about CRISPR/Cas9 and the possibilities the new method brings to research. And they’re not alone: plant breeders are eyeballing the tool as well. What makes CRISPR/Cas9 so special in comparison to traditional breeding?… Read more
Here to stay – the CRISPR/Cas9 system
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
Meet the lab rats of the plant world
When studying human disease or development, scientists usually don’t start experiments directly with good old Homo sapiens, but instead begin their quest using cell lines, fruit flies, or even mice. In the plant field things are similar. And although our model organisms aren’t quite as fluffy as your standard ‘lab rat’, the come with a whole lot of benefits. … Read more
In the Beginning there was…
What you think happened in the beginning might depend a bit on your perspective.
In the beginning, many would say, there was the Big Bang.
But, in case the title of our new blog hasn’t given it away, we’re not physicists, and we’re much more interested in the beginning of the planet of the plants.
So let’s jump forward about 12 billion years shall we?
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