A healthy wild-type
Arabidopsis plant (left) and a mutant plant suffering from a microbe imbalance (right).
Just as humans can suffer from an imbalance of microbes in their gut, plants can suffer a similar syndrome in their leaves. This finding opens up new possibilities for improving food security.
Plant hackers at work: microscopic oomycete spores infiltrating a plant root.
Oomycete spores hack into plants to get what they need, causing agricultural disease. Can researchers figure out how to close plants' security loopholes and create more resilient crops?
Though not this obvious from the outside, plants are keeping time.
Precisely calibrated timekeepers are found in organisms from all domains of life. Biologists are studying how they influence plant/pathogen interactions – what they learn could lead to human medicines.
Spend many months attached to the ISS and see how well you grow.
If you want to live on Mars, you're going to need to grow food. Seeds are naturally equipped to handle challenging Earth environments, but how well can they survive what they'll encounter off-planet?
Plants make proteins based on whatever genetic material you give them.
Carl Davies, CSIRO
Inserting a random DNA mishmash into a plant or bacterium directs it to make a novel protein. Sifting through the resulting molecules, researchers may find ones have medical or agricultural uses.