Can anybody identify this plant?

Can anybody identify this plant?

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I'm from Brazil. And I have this plant at home.

Can anybody identify this plant?

It's an Epiphyllum Oxypetalum. Epi is greek for around (epi-center) and phyto is plant, epiphytes are plants that live on other plants, for example rainforest plants that grow on the canopy of tall trees.

There are lots of hybrids and lots of colors.

It is a water loving cactus from Central America, I have some but I do not know the latin name. I asked a similar question.

What Is a Plant Biologist?

This is a research role where the employee will spend most of their time working in a lab. According to 2015 data collected on behalf of the BLS, the major employer of this type of qualified professional was research and development in the physical sciences at 47%. This covers a broad spectrum which includes industrial applications, materials development for clothing, plastics, biofuels, construction, engineering and many others.

The second highest employer was post-secondary education which included colleges (public and private), universities, professional and specialist schools. They employed 16% of the total body in research and teaching positions, sometimes both, as research assistants and lab assistants.

The third highest employer was pharmaceuticals at 14%. The majority of drugs manufactured globally are the result of genetic and other research into plant attributes. As new diseases emerge, more drugs will be required and plants are expected to continue to fulfil a large element of this research.

The next biggest employer was chemical manufacturing at 2%. These will be for industrial, commercial and agricultural applications. Chemical manufacturing is always on the search for new materials that are less harmful to humans and better for the environment, especially and including for sustainability.

A further 2% worked for scientific and technical consulting services. They work on a contract basis providing a range of services to organizations that may not have the resources to hire in-house employees.


Female advantage in gynodioecious plants: A meta𠄊nalysis focused on seed quality


Effect sizes of seed quantity and quality parameters from the meta-analysis of female advantage in gynodioecious plants.

Pollination of the strongly scented Sarcoglottis acaulis (Orchidaceae) by male orchid bees: nectar as resource instead of perfume


The study investigates the interaction between Sarcoglottis acaulis (Orchidaceae) and its pollinators, the Euglossine bees Eulaema atleticana and E. niveofasciata, highlighting on the analysis of nectar (the only floral resource) and scent (acting on signaling).

Regulatory hubs in plant stress adaptation

Pollination by nectar𠄏oraging pompilid wasps: a new specialized pollination strategy for the Australian flora


Caladenia drummondii (Orchidaceae) is pollinated by nectar foraging pompilid wasps, which is the first such system to be discovered in Australia.

Study on the spore release of Polytrichum commune Hedw. var. commune by synergetic effects of sub‐hygroscopic movement and wind

The following is a list of the most cited articles based on citations published in the last three years, according to CrossRef.

Diffusive and Metabolic Limitations to Photosynthesis under Drought and Salinity in C3 Plants

Resistance of European tree species to drought stress in mixed versus pure forests: evidence of stress release by inter‐specific facilitation

Significance of Flavonoids in Plant Resistance and Enhancement of Their Biosynthesis

Cold stress and acclimation – what is important for metabolic adjustment?

Boron in Plant Biology

Read Plant Biology Special Issues

January 2016 Special Issue:

January 2015 Special Issue:

January 2014 Special Issue:

January 2013 Special Issue:

September 2010 Special Issue:

The influence of rising tropospheric carbon dioxide and ozone on plant productivity


Human activities result in a wide array of pollutants being released to the atmosphere. A number of these pollutants have direct effects on plants, including carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the substrate for photosynthesis, and ozone (O3), a damaging oxidant. How plants respond to changes in these atmospheric air pollutants, both directly and indirectly, feeds back on atmospheric composition and climate, global net primary productivity and ecosystem service provisioning. Here we discuss the past, current and future trends in emissions of CO2 and O3 and synthesise the current atmospheric CO2 and O3 budgets, describing the important role of vegetation in determining the atmospheric burden of those pollutants. While increased atmospheric CO2 concentration over the past 150 years has been accompanied by greater CO2 assimilation and storage in terrestrial ecosystems, there is evidence that rising temperatures and increased drought stress may limit the ability of future terrestrial ecosystems to buffer against atmospheric emissions. Long-term Free Air CO2 or O3 Enrichment (FACE) experiments provide critical experimentation about the effects of future CO2 and O3 on ecosystems, and highlight the important interactive effects of temperature, nutrients and water supply in determining ecosystem responses to air pollution. Long-term experimentation in both natural and cropping systems is needed to provide critical empirical data for modelling the effects of air pollutants on plant productivity in the decades to come.

Effects of elevated CO2 on grain yield and quality of wheat: results from a 3‐year free𠄊ir CO2 enrichment experiment


Spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. TRISO) was grown for three consecutive seasons in a free-air carbon dioxide (CO2) enrichment (FACE) field experiment in order to examine the effects on crop yield and grain quality. CO2 enrichment promoted aboveground biomass (+11.8%) and grain yield (+10.4%). However, adverse effects were predominantly observed on wholegrain quality characteristics. Although the thousand-grain weight remained unchanged, size distribution was significantly shifted towards smaller grains, which may directly relate to lower market value. Total grain protein concentration decreased significantly by 7.4% under elevated CO2, and protein and amino acid composition were altered. Corresponding to the decline in grain protein concentration, CO2 enrichment resulted in an overall decrease in amino acid concentrations, with greater reductions in non-essential than essential amino acids. Minerals such as potassium, molybdenum and lead increased, while manganese, iron, cadmium and silicon decreased, suggesting that adjustments of agricultural practices may be required to retain current grain quality standards. The concentration of fructose and fructan, as well as amounts per area of total and individual non-structural carbohydrates, except for starch, significantly increased in the grain. The same holds true for the amount of lipids. With regard to mixing and rheological properties of the flour, a significant increase in gluten resistance under elevated CO2 was observed. CO2 enrichment obviously affected grain quality characteristics that are important for consumer nutrition and health, and for industrial processing and marketing, which have to date received little attention.

Plant organ senescence – regulation by manifold pathways


Senescence is the final stage of plant ontogeny before death. Senescence may occur naturally because of age or may be induced by various endogenous and exogenous factors. Despite its destructive character, senescence is a precisely controlled process that follows a well-defined order. It is often inseparable from programmed cell death (PCD), and a correlation between these processes has been confirmed during the senescence of leaves and petals. Despite suggestions that senescence and PCD are two separate processes, with PCD occurring after senescence, cell death responsible for senescence is accompanied by numerous changes at the cytological, physiological and molecular levels, similar to other types of PCD. Independent of the plant organ analysed, these changes are focused on initiating the processes of cellular structural degradation via fluctuations in phytohormone levels and the activation of specific genes. Cellular structural degradation is genetically programmed and dependent on autophagy. Phytohormones/plant regulators are heavily involved in regulating the senescence of plant organs and can either promote [ethylene, abscisic acid (ABA), jasmonic acid (JA), and polyamines (PAs)] or inhibit [cytokinins (CKs)] this process. Auxins and carbohydrates have been assigned a dual role in the regulation of senescence, and can both inhibit and stimulate the senescence process. In this review, we introduce the basic pathways that regulate senescence in plants and identify mechanisms involved in controlling senescence in ephemeral plant organs. Moreover, we demonstrate a universal nature of this process in different plant organs despite this process occurring in organs that have completely different functions, it is very similar. Progress in this area is providing opportunities to revisit how, when and which way senescence is coordinated or decoupled by plant regulators in different organs and will provide a powerful tool for plant physiology research.

Rhododendron? Hydrangea? America Doesn’t Know Anymore

Douglas Belkin

The U.S. is running short of people who can tell the forest from the trees.

Organizations such as the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management can’t find enough scientists to deal with invasive plants, wildfire reforestation and basic land-management issues.

Botanists use the term “plant blindness” to describe the growing inability by Americans—and even well-degreed biologists—to tell the difference among even basic plants. Quick: Rhododendron or hydrangea?

The issue has prompted botanical gardens around the nation to raise the alarm. Colleges are beefing up plant identification coursework for a generation of botanists more focused on their microscopes than studying leaf patterns. Bills introduced in the U.S. Senate in July and the U.S. House last year are aimed at promoting botany education.

“Imagine a medical doctor who didn’t know how to identify the correct body parts,” said William Friedman, a Harvard biology professor. “You wouldn’t want that guy working on you.”

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Laws, Regulations, Guidelines, and Principles Pertaining to Laboratory Animals in Southeast Asia

Montip Gettayacamin , . Abdul Rahim Mutalib , in Laboratory Animals , 2014

Genetically Altered Animals

The Genetic Modification Advisory Committee (GMAC) oversees and advises on issues relating to genetic modification and genetically modified organisms. The GMAC Guidelines 31 details general considerations in transport of transgenic animals, with two critical principles:

The animals are prevented from escaping.

The need for arrival to the intended delivery, with proper identification processes and accounting for all animals by a competent biologist.

The aim of both principles is to ensure that transgenic animals do not escape into the environment and potentially interbreed with feral populations. It may also be necessary for the Institutional Biosafety Committee of the facility to make additional rules or conditions, and inspect transport arrangements to ensure compliance with the above two principles. In addition to transportation of animals adhering to transportation guidelines detailed in the Guiding Principles of the NACLAR Guidelines, the GMAC Guidelines also stipulate that the transport carriers should comply with International Air Transport Association (IATA) criteria. They must be escape-proof and allow for easy inspection without the carriers being opened.

Special considerations for the use of transgenic animals are described in Chapter 3 : Review of Proposals of the IACUC Guidelines. The IACUC has a responsibility in determining if any mutant gene can result in a severely debilitating phenotype, and mitigating measures which can be put into place to address this. For example, modified husbandry measures or housing conditions can be of use.

General criteria for humane endpoints should be included in the project proposal. Specific clinical abnormalities which are known or suspected to occur in the development of a new mutant model should either be included at the start, or made known to the IACUC when the information becomes available. It is recognized that experimental endpoints may differ from mutant animals as compared to “normal” animals where the phenotype involves clinical abnormalities.

Personnel performing genetic manipulations should be qualified and trained in these procedures as well as related procedures such as aseptic surgery.

Productivity in Ecosystem

The rate of biomass production is called productivity. The portion of fixed energy, a trophic level passes on to the next trophic level is called production.

Productivity in ecosystems is of two kinds, i.e., primary and secondary. Green plants fix solar energy and accumulate it in organic forms as chemical energy. As this is the first and basic form of energy storage, the rate at which the energy accumulates in the green plants or producers is known as primary productivity.

Productivity is a rate function, and is expressed in terms of dry matter produced or energy captured per unit area of land, per unit time. It is more often expressed as energy in calories/cm 2 /yr or dry organic matter in g/m 2 /yr (g/m 2 x 8.92 = lb/acre). Hence, the productivity of different ecosystems can be easily compared.

Primary productivity has two aspects:

The total solar energy trapped in the food material by photosynthesis is referred to as gross primary productivity (GPP).

However, a good fraction of gross primary productivity is utilised in respiration of green plants. The amount of energy-bound organic matter created per unit area and time that is left after respiration is net primary productivity (NPP).

Net productivity of energy = Gross productivity — Energy lost in respiration.

The rates at which the heterotrophic organisms resynthesise the energy-yielding substances are called secondary productivity. Here, the net primary productivity (NPP) results in the accumulation of plant biomass, which serves the food of herbivores and decomposers.

It is notable that the food of consumers has been produced by the primary producers, and secondary productivity depicts only the utilisation of this food for the production of consumer biomass. Secondary productivity is the productivity of animals and saprobes in ecosystem.

Concepts of Productivity:

a. Standing Crop:

This is abundance of organisms existing in the area at any one time. It may be expressed in terms of number of individuals, as biomass of organisms, as energy content or in some other suitable terms. Measurement of standing crop reveals the concentration of individuals in various populations of the ecosystem.

b. Materials Removed:

The second concept of productivity is the materials removed from the area per unit time. It includes the yield to man, organisms removed from the ecosystem by migration, and the material withdrawn as organic deposit.

c. Production Rate:

The third concept of productivity is the production rate, at which the growth processes are going forward within the area. The amount of material formed by each link in the food chain per unit of time per unit area or volume is the production rate.

Environmental Factors Affecting the Productivity in Ecosystem:

1. Solar radiation and temperature.

2. Moisture, i.e., leaf water potential, soil moisture, fluctuation of precipitation, and transpiration.

3. Mineral nutrition, i.e., uptake of minerals from the soil, rhizosphere effects, fire effects, salinity, heavy metals and nitrogen metabolism.

4. Biotic activities, i.e., grazing, above ground herbivores, below ground herbivores, predators and parasites and diseases of primary producers.

5. Impact of human populations, i.e., populations of different sorts, ionising radiations, such as atomic explosions, etc.

6. In aquatic systems, productivity is generally limited by light, which decreases with increasing water depth. In deep oceans nutrients often become limiting for productivity. Nitrogen is most important nutrient limiting productivity in marine ecosystems.

The largeness of primary productivity depends on the photosynthetic capacity of producers and the existing environmental conditions, such as solar radiation, temperature and soil moisture.

In tropical conditions, primary productivity may remain continuous throughout the year, provided adequate soil moisture remain available.

While in temperate regions, primary productivity is limited by cold climate and a short snow- free growing period during the year.

Primary productivity of the major ecosystems of the world is as follows:

Duplications of Chromosomes: Types, Origin and Effects

In this article we will discuss about:- 1. Types of Duplications 2. Origin of Duplications 3. Chromosome Pairing 4. Phenotypic Effects of Duplications 5. Duplications in Human 6. Uses of Duplications.

Types of Duplications:

Broadly, duplications are divided into two types which are further subdivided into different subtypes.

1. Inter-Chromosomal duplication:

The duplicated segment of a chromosome is present in another chromosome of the genome. It is of two types (Fig. 13.1).

(a) The duplicated segment of a chromosome is incorporated into a non-homologous chromosome.

(b) The duplicated segment is present as a separate chromosome. Clearly, it must have a centromere to be able to survive.

2. Intra-Chromosomal duplication:

The duplicated segment remains in the same chromosome. It may be present at different locations (Fig. 13.1).

(b) In the same arm but removed from the original segment.

(c) In the same arm and next to the original segment. This type of duplication is called tandem duplication which is further subdivided into the following two types. (Fig. 13.1).

Gene order of the duplicated segment is the same as that of the original segment.

Gene order of the duplicated segment is inverted.

Origin of Duplications:

The term duplication was coined by Bridges in 1919, and the first duplications were described in Drosophila melanogaster.

Duplications may originate in the following four ways:

1. Primary structural change of chromosomes

2. Disturbances in the crossing over process (unequal crossing over)

3. Crossing over in inversion heterozygotes

4. Crossing over in translocation heterozygotes and segregation

1. Primary structural change:

A broken segment of a chromosome becomes inserted into its homologue or in a non-homologous chromosome. In 1950, McClintock described the Dissociation-Activator (Ds-AC) system in maize, which is a very remarkable case of genetically governed production of aberrations.

The cytological effects produced by this system include various kinds of chromosomal aberrations, such as, deficiencies, duplications, translocations, inversions and ring chromosomes. The Ds and Ac both are capable of transposition to any chromosome or within the same chromosome. The standard location of Ds is proximal to Wx on chromosome 9 in maize.

When the transposition of Ds takes place, a break occurs at the location it was inserted earlier. Other than this, chromosome breakage occurs either spontaneously or could be induced artificially.

Various kinds of ionizing radiations, such as, X-rays, y-rays, fast and thermal neutrons, and chemical mutagens such as, EMS (ethyl-methanesulfonate), MMS (methyl-methanesulfonate), dES (di-ethyl-sulphate) and EI (ethylene imine) etc. have been used to produce different kinds of chromosomal aberrations.

2. Unequal crossing over:

Deviations from normal chromosome pairing and crossing over processes may occur in specific cases, particularly in heterochromatic regions. This kind of pairing is called heterochromatic fusion or nonspecific pairing, and it may lead to unequal crossing over Sturtevant observed the occurrence of unequal crossing over in D. melanogaster it involved the Bar eye locus (Fig. 13.2).

3. Crossing over within inversion:

Crossing over within an inversion produces chromosomes showing deficiency-duplication.

4. Translocations:

Deficiency-duplication gametes are produced by translocation heterozygotes, but these gametes are sterile. Hagberg in 1965 produced duplications in barley using translocations.

Chromosome Pairing:

The duplicated segment forms a loop during pachytene in duplication heterozygotes (Fig. 13.3). Unequal crossing over may occur in duplication heterozygotes leading further duplications of the concerned segment. For example, Bar eye locus of Drosophila gives rise to the double-Bar (ultra bar) eye following unequal crossing over conversely, double-Bar may revert to Bar due to unequal crossing over (Fig. 13.2).

Reverse tandem duplications may form a loop to pair with the normal chromosome. A crossing over within the loop produces a dicentric chromatid bridge at AI (Fig. 13.4). In some cases, the duplicated segment of the chromosome folds back to pair with the original segment present in the same chromosome.

A crossing over within this paired segment produces a loop at AI which gives rise to a dicentric chromatid bridge in one cell of the dyad at All (Fig. 13.5). In 1941, McClintock obtained a reverse tandem duplication in the short arm of chromosome 9 of maize this segment included the genes for colourless aleurone (c), shrunken endosperm (sh) and waxy pollen (wx).

As a result of chromosome pairing, dicentric chromatids were produced which formed dicentric bridge at AI (Fig. 13.4). The AI bridge was broken, and chromosomes having smaller or larger deficiencies and duplications were produced depending on the position of the break.

During the following interphase, when the chromosomes replicate, the broken ends of the sister chromatids may unite and form dicentric bridge at the subsequent anaphase. This will lead to a “breakage-fusion-bridge” cycle. In corn, the breakage-fusion-bridge cycle continues through the successive cell divisions in the gametophyte as well as in the endosperm but not in the embryo.

Phenotypic Effects of Duplications:

(1) Duplications may produce specific effects when the phenotype is affected due to a change in the position of a gene it is called position effect.

The position effects are of two types:

(i) Stable type or S-type (cis-trans type), and

(ii) Variegated type or V-type.

An example of the stable type of position effect is the “Bar-eye” phenotype of Drosophila. The Bar eye phenotype is the result of a duplication of the 16A region of the X chromosome (Fig. 13.6). The 16A region contains 5 bands, two of which are doublets. In the case of the Bar eye phenotype the number of facets in the compound eye of the adult fly is reduced from the normal 779 to only 358 in case of heterozygous bar (BB + ).

But in homozygous bar flies (BB) the average number of facets is further reduced to 68. Three repeats of the 16A region produces the ultra-Bar or double-Bar phenotype, in which the number of facets is greatly reduced it is reduced to only 45 in the case of heterozygous double-Bar, and to only 25 in the case of homozygous double-Bar. The type of position effect is related to the euchromatic regions of chromosomes.

The V-type position effects are confined to the genes present in the heterozygous state. It is the result of a partial repression through heterochromatinization when the functional allele of the gene is brought close to heterochromatin. The wild type allele expresses like a mutant allele due to the heterochromatinization.

However, the normal allele may escape repression due to heterochromatin in many cases and a variegated phenotype (a mixture of wild type and mutant type sectors) is produced. Such type of position effects is produced by structural changes like translocations and inversions.

(2) Duplication may lead to a more intense effect of the duplicated gene. In the breakage- fusion-bridge cycle, the gene C (for coloured endosperm) becomes duplicated in some cells, while some other cells lose this gene. The latter cells produce colourless sectors, while the former give rise to coloured sectors (twin sectors). Further, bridge-break-fusions produce spots in the endosperm with different colour intensities.

(3) The activity of certain enzymes is increased by a duplication of the concerned gene. Hagberg, in 1965, obtained a duplication for a short segment of the chromosome 6 of barley the plant having this duplication showed the doubled activity of the enzyme a-amylase.

Other Effects of Duplications:

In Drosophila, deficiency of the band 3C7 results in the notch phenotype, but its duplication produces the “abruptex” (Ax) phenotype. Abruptex is characterized by short, thin and arched wings: veins not reaching the margin, presence of fewer hairs on thorax and head, and bald patches. In Drosophila, other example exists where duplications produce dominant phenotypic effects.

Hairy wing (Hw) is due to a tandem repeat of two bands, band lB1.2, of the X chromosome. Hairy wing males have extra hairs and bristles along the wing veins on the head and on their thorax this effect is more pronounced in females. Another phenotype “confluence” (Co) is associated with tandem duplication of the bands 3C5 to 3D6 this phenotype is characterized by thickened and delta like ends of the wing veins.

Duplications are believed to have played an important role in evolution. In Drosophila where salivary gland polytene chromosomes can be analysed accurately, numerous duplicated segments have been identified. Similarly, in many plants, many duplicated loci have been investigated. The duplicated segments may be large or very small. Duplications are proposed to have given rise to new gene functions.

The duplicate and polymeric factors are considered to represent duplications. The several types of haemoglobins in man and animals are believed to have originated through duplication of a common ancestral gene. In 1970, it was suggested by Ohno that the duplications are responsible for effective evolution by increase in DNA content per cell in’ conjunction with mutation, it gives rise to new genes.

The latter is achieved because duplication provides additional copies of genes which can go on accumulating mutations (in the duplicated copies of the genes) without any deleterious effect on the organisms, since a fully functional copy of the concerned genes is always available. In due course of time, the accumulation of mutations changes the duplicate copies to the extent that they may ultimately assume new functions.

Duplications in Human:

In human, duplication-deletion syndrome has been reported by some workers. Duplication has been reported to be produced to a crossing over in a pericentric inversion involving the chromosome 3. The main features of this duplication were facial dismorphy and congenital anomalies.

Uses of Duplications:

(1) Duplications can be used to study the chromosome behaviour during meiosis, such as, chromosome pairing, crossing over and their consequences.

(2) Duplications offer a number of possibilities in plant breeding. They can be used to increase the dosage of certain desirable genes for increasing disease or pest resistance, enzymatic activity or other characteristics. For example, the activity of the enzyme alpha-amylase in grains of barley is greatly increased due to a duplication in the short arm of chromosome 6.

Duplication has an advantage over polyploidy because the genetic dis-balance due to the duplication of chromosomal segments is lesser as compared to polyploidy where the whole genome is duplicated.

(3) In case where genes for resistance to diseases or pests are linked to some undesirable genes or the genes for resistance to various races are allelic, a combination of resistance to different races can be obtained through duplication.

(4) True breeding heterosis may be established in self-fertilized crops by the technique of duplication breeding. Homozygous duplications in the heterozygous condition for the heterotic loci will give rise to permanent hybrid vigour.

(5) Duplication may be used to study the dosage effect of the nucleolar organizer.

(6) Duplications may be useful in the study of the position effects.

(7) New genes can be produced only through duplications thus it is believed to have played an important role in evolution.

Why the Research Community Needs Cyberinfrastructure Now

Consider the following example. Tara 1 , a plant biology researcher, wants to know how varieties of a major crop species can be developed to better suit a changing environment. She is coordinating a collaborative project to address this question by identifying and analyzing small molecules, drought responsive regulatory/signaling pathways, and key epigenetic events in plants with a long history of adaption to limited water. To do this, her global team generates, and uses, molecular genetics, transcriptomic (including small RNA expression) and metabolite profiling data from related genotypes/varieties within the species under study, and data from closely related species that differ in their tolerance to drought.

Tara takes advantage of iPlant’s cyberinfrastructure, which helps her generate predicted functions for her team’s candidate pathways and modes of their regulation. Data are integrated and candidate genes are selected based on their association with specific regulatory/signaling and metabolic pathways and physiological tolerance traits from small-scale field trials. Tara infers putative roles for these genes in cellular function and environmental adaption, and uses her working hypotheses to set priorities for her team’s large-scale experimental tests. These large-scale studies further validate correlations between drought-tolerance and specific genomic responses, allowing Tara and her team to prioritize the genes and their variants for use in new crop variety development.

Like Tara, many plant scientists today are uniquely positioned to address some of the world’s most pressing societal, economic, and environmental challenges. From feeding an expanding human population to creating new forms of renewable energy, advances in plant science promise to deliver new solutions to urgent problems. These challenges will be addressed through breeding efforts based on modern molecular analysis techniques, through a better understanding of the evolution of important plant traits, and through better predictions of the environment’s impact on plant physiology. Biology is a data-driven and data-intensive science (Smith et al., 2011a). Biologists are inundated with new data, from ever-cheaper DNA sequence data to complex traits, species relationships, environmental impacts and responses, and molecular phenotypes. Plant science data range in scope from complete genome sequences of individual plant varieties to geospatial maps of plant species distribution across the entire biosphere (Hughes, 2006 Armstead et al., 2009). These data vary in scale from the results published in a single journal article to data entries in enormous databases. Analytical methods are being developed at an accelerating pace – but data sets are not necessarily easy to integrate and tools to analyze these data are often inaccessible or poorly scalable. The data integration problem is larger than a single lab can handle, and the solution requires cross-disciplinary approaches with expertise from computer science, information science, and the life sciences. Investment in the creation of the existing analysis tools and datasets has been significant and must be leveraged by iPlant (Benfey et al., 2010 Buell and Last, 2010 Cook and Varshney, 2010 Edwards and Batley, 2010 Hirayama and Shinozaki, 2010 Paterson et al., 2010 Pichersky and Gerats, 2011 Proost et al., 2011). Use of analysis tools in isolation contributes to the lack of experimental verifiability/reproducibility for computational analyses. This article describes how iPlant’s cyberinfrastructure addresses these profound needs, and how researchers like Tara will benefit from the cyberinfrastructure.

Cyberinfrastructure (CI), as defined by the NSF in their CI Vision report (Atkins et al., 2003) includes the use of HPC, use of large shared data storage, and the establishment of collaborations and virtual organizations around shared analysis tools and analyzed data. Traditional bioinformatics focuses on solutions to individual problems. The CI approach is to provide a foundation from which bioinformatics work can proceed efficiently in a collaborative environment. The iPlant CI for plant biology (or life sciences in general) is leveraging the computational and storage infrastructure created by hundreds of millions of dollars in NSF investments such as the TeraGrid (now XSEDE). The iPlant CI is focused on developing the comprehensive platform to support data analysis tools and data storage useful for plant biology research and subsequent applications. iPlant’s CI platform provides methods for leveraging physical resources, integrating tools, and integrating data. This platform will be sustainable and species-independent. Other efforts in CI development such as the Department of Energy’s Systems Biology Knowledgebase (Gregurick, 2010) and the European Life Sciences Infrastructure for Biological Information (ELIXIR, 2010) have overlapping synergistic goals. These efforts are being coordinated with iPlant’s CI development where appropriate and mutually beneficial. Plant biologists like Tara are being empowered to use HPC and integrated tools and data in collaborative research projects without becoming computational experts.

Plant Breeding: Definition, Objectives and Historical Background

Plant breeding is a science based on principles of genetics and cytogenetic. It aims at improving the genetic makeup of the crop plants.

Improved varieties are developed through plant breeding. Its objectives are to improve yield, quality, disease-resistance, drought and frost-tolerance and important characteristics of the crops.

Plant breeding has been crucial in increasing production of crops to meet the ever increasing demand for food. Some well known achievements are development of semi-dwarf wheat and rice varieties, noblization of Indian canes (sugarcanes), and production of hybrid and composite varieties of maize, jowar and bajra.

As written above, crop improvement means combining desirable characteristics in one plant and then multiplying it. The job of a plant breeder is to select plants with desired characters, cross them and then identify the offspring that combine the attributes of both parents. He then multiplies the progeny to supply to farmers, growers or planters.

The modern age of plant breeding began in the early part of the twentieth century, after Mendel’s work was rediscovered. Today plant breeding is a specialized technology based on genetics. It is now clearly understood that within a given environment, crop improvement has to be achieved through superior heredity.

Objectives of Plant Breeding:

To develop varieties with better characteristics, such as:

5. Adaptability to wide range of habitats

6. Resistance to alkaline and saline soil conditions

10. Insect and pest resistance

Historical Background:

1. R. Camerarius produced the first artificial hybrid plant of maize in 1694.

2. Kolreuter (1733-1806) produced successful hybrids through artificial crosses in many plants.

3. The discipline of plant breeding witnessed great advances with the increased knowledge in the field of genetics.

4. Shull (1908, 1909) while investigating effect of inbreeding and cross-breeding in maize gave the concept of heterosis which has resulted in manifold increase in agricultural production.

5. Male Sterility in plants was reported by Kolreuter in 1763 which led to the economic exploitation of heterosis.

6. Alphonse de Condolle in 1882 was the first to give an account of the history and origin of cultivated plants.

7. N.I. Vavilov in 1925 proposed eight centres of origin of crops. These centres provided the regions of immense genetic resources of cultivated plants which existed there.

Institutes Engaged in Plant Breeding at National and International Level:

1. International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines.

2. International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), Mexico.

3. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad.

4. International Potato Centre (CIP), Peru.

5. International Board of Plant Genetic resources (now International Plant Genetic Resources Institute IBPGR, now IPGRI).

Talk to your kids about .

Families can talk about how PictureThis - Plant Identifier can help kids learn about the plants and flowers in their yard, neighborhood, and community. Have you ever wondered what the name of the wildflowers are that you see on a family walk? Did you see plants in a friend's garden you'd like to plant at your house?

Talk about how apps make money. We recognize ads, but why would an app require sharing to social media? What if an app is totally free?

Use the app to get outside and be in nature. Consider using the app to educate yourselves about the plants around you when traveling. Will the plants you saw on vacation survive in your yard? Are they safe to touch, or could they be poisonous?