Life in the fast lane: how plants avoid traffic jams

Traffic jams are the curse of the commute, the scourge of the school run and the bane of Bank Holidays. But gridlocked motorists and students of traffic flow may soon be relieved and enlightened thanks to new research into plants.

It has emerged that plants have it sorted when it comes to going with the flow and avoiding frustrating congestion. These fascinating results come from a joint study by the John Innes Centre, Norwich, and the University of Tokyo, Japan.

Researchers to look into commercial potential of volcanic dust boosted honeyberries

A research collaboration between REMIN, the James Hutton Institute, James Hutton Limited and a group of Tayside soft fruit growers led by Arbuckle’s of Invergowrie has been awarded funding to investigate the economic potential of honeyberries grown using volcanic rock dust fertiliser.

Global team of researchers crack leaf size mystery

Why is a banana leaf a million times bigger than a common heather leaf? Why are leaves generally much larger in tropical jungles than in temperate forests and deserts? The textbooks say it’s a balance between water availability and overheating.

But it’s not that simple.

Research published today as a cover story in the journal Science, led by Associate Professor Ian Wright from Macquarie University in Australia, reveals that in much of the world the key limiting factor for leaf size is night temperature and the risk of frost damage to leaves.

Leading scientists call for unified approach to plant and animal breeding

Unifying the approaches to plant and animal breeding through the use of genomic selection is crucial to achieving global food security, according to a team of world leading scientists.

In a paper published this week in the international journal Nature Genetics, scientists from NIAB, the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) assert that global collaboration and investment across the two disciplines is central to increasing agricultural productivity and resilience.

Volunteers needed to protect Herts orchard heritage

© Public domainThe region’s orchards are an integral part of the landscape and an important source of biodiversity. They are also a rich, but under-researched, historical record.

Now the Landscape Group, part of the University of East Anglia’s (UEA’s) School of History, has been awarded £477,700 of National Lottery funding for a three-year project, Orchard’s East, to survey and record traditional orchards across the East of England.

Hormonal tug-of-war helps plant roots navigate their journey through the soil, new international study finds

A sophisticated mechanism that allows plant roots to quickly respond to changes in soil conditions has been identified by an international research team.

Scientists from the John Innes Centre and Sapienza University, Rome, combined mathematical and computer modelling with molecular genetics to show how roots can regulate their growth via the interactions of two antagonistic hormones, auxin and cytokinin.