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How Supergenes Fuel Evolution Despite Harmful Mutations
Supergenes that lock inherited traits together are widespread in nature. Recent work shows that their blend of genetic benefits and risks for species can be complex.
Biologists Use Genetic Circuits to Program Plant Roots
Using inserted genetic circuitry, synthetic biologists controlled the growth of plant roots for the first time.
How the ‘Diamond of the Plant World’ Helped Land Plants Evolve
Structural studies of the robust material called sporopollenin reveal how it made plants hardy enough to reproduce on dry land.
Wildfires of Varying Intensity Can Be Good for Biodiversity
The spate of furious wildfires around the world during the past decade has revealed to ecologists how much biodiversity and “pyrodiversity” go hand in hand.
DNA of Giant ‘Corpse Flower’ Parasite Surprises Biologists
The bizarre genome of the world’s most mysterious flowering plants shows how far parasites will go in stealing, deleting and duplicating DNA.
Plant Cells of Different Species Can Swap Organelles
In grafted plants, shrunken chloroplasts can jump between species by slipping through unexpected gateways in cell walls.
Why Are Plants Green? To Reduce the Noise in Photosynthesis.
Plants ignore the most energy-rich part of sunlight because stability matters more than efficiency, according to a new model of photosynthesis.
Billion-Year-Old Algae and Newer Genes Hint at Land Plants’ Origin
A recently unearthed fossil and new genomic discoveries are filling important gaps in scientists’ understanding of how primitive green algae eventually evolved into land vegetation.