Plants & Agriculture

Breeding Plants With Genes From 1 Parent

Scientists are a step closer to breeding plants with genes from only one parent. New research led by plant biologists at the University of California, Davis, published Nov. 19 in Science Advances, shows the underlying mechanism behind eliminating half the genome and could make for easier and more rapid breeding of crop plants with desirable traits such as disease resistance.

Why Sunflowers Face East

Sunflowers face the rising sun because increased morning warmth attracts more bees and also helps the plants reproduce more efficiently, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, Davis. The results were published Aug. 9 in New Phytologist.

“It’s quite striking that they face east,” said Stacey Harmer, professor of plant biology in the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences and senior author on the paper. “It’s better for them to face east, as they produce more offspring.”

Drought Changes Root Microbiome

Drought can have a lasting impact on the community of microbes that live in and around roots of rice plants, a team led by UC Davis researchers has found. Root-associated microbes help plants take up nutrients from the soil, so the finding could help in understanding how rice responds to dry spells and how it can be made more resilient to drought. The work was published July 22 in Nature Plants.

Discovery Increases Likelihood of Growing Food Despite Drought

University of California scientists have discovered genetic data that will help food crops like tomatoes and rice survive longer, more intense periods of drought on our warming planet.

Over the course of the last decade, the research team sought to create a molecular atlas of crop roots, where plants first detect the effects of drought and other environmental threats. In so doing, they uncovered genes that scientists can use to protect the plants from these stresses.

A Chemical Lure That Sticks: New Trapping Methods for Citrus Greening Pest

The Asian citrus psyllid is the bogeyman of the citrus industry. Its appearance in fields is a dark harbinger for farmers, for carried within this insect is the bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter, the cause of citrus greening disease. In a study published in Scientific Reports, UC Davis researchers report that an acetic acid-based, slow-release trap is capable of capturing Asian citrus psyllids even when the insect populations are low.