Is more DNA better?

Plants are pretty flexible when it comes to chromosome numbers. Whole genome duplications–aka, when a whole extra set of chromosomes are made by accident– is a major route by which plants evolve. Humans, by contrast, generally have 2 copies of each chromosome. If this same mutation were to happen in a human egg or sperm cell, it would nope outta there. Pretty normal day in the plant kingdom, though.

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VOCs are in the air 💕

We can’t get enough of the intricacies of volatile organic compounds, whether they’re for communication among ants, communication between bacteria and fungishedding light on shaded plant leaves, or a means of sexual selection in moths. These volatiles are incredibly versatile, and new research published in the journal Evolution doesn’t disappoint. Continue reading “VOCs are in the air 💕”

Pine-scented infographic

Oh man. Pine scent. Personally I’ve never wondered about the function of this delicious smell in nature. When you think about it, there’s no way trees produce these fragrant compounds for nothing! A new open access paper in Nature Geoscience looking into this mystery totally blew our minds… and so we drew it immediately. Yet another reason why volatile organic compounds are pretty much the coolest things EVER*! Continue reading “Pine-scented infographic”

Out of the fire, into the drought

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ve probably heard about the epic wildfires raging on the west coast of North America. If you live on the west coast of North America, or heck, even as far out as the midwest, you were probably tipped off by the smoke. Fires are a double-edged sword; they’re certainly destructive, but also help maintain forest health.

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Keepin’ up with the Spruces

The boreal forest, also called the taiga, is the northern forest that circles the globe and borders the arctic circle. There, hardy conifers like pine and spruce set up shop in the nutrient-poor soil. What affects their growth the most? Is it the temperature? Lack of water? Not enough sun? …Or is it something else? Find out below!

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Title translation: Bumblebee vs pesticide

You know how antibiotics are great because they kill bad bacteria and make you better, but are also kind of iffy because they kill good bacteria and make you a little ill? Antibiotics are made to kill bacteria, indiscriminately, no matter whether they’re harmful or helpful. The same thing goes on with pesticides (insecticides) and plants. Continue reading “Title translation: Bumblebee vs pesticide”