The American Society of Plant Physiologists recently changed its name to the American Society of Plant Biologists and celebrated the event during its summer meeting in Providence, R.I. More than 1,400 scientists, including members of the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists, heard and presented results on everything from genomics to pathogenesis to pattern formation, and some of the work had strong biotechnological implications. Here's a sample of what transpired:

Salt of the Earth

A little salt may taste great on a sliced tomato, but a lot of it in the soil spells doom for the parent plants. Just 65 mM NaCl can reduce crop yields by 50 percent, according to Eduardo Blumwald of the University of California at Davis. California's farms, like many others worldwide, are threatened by soil salinization, in this case due to irrigation. Says Blumwald, "This is not just a Middle East problem." In a minisymposium on...

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