Features

Plants’ Epigenetic Secrets
Plants’ Epigenetic Secrets
Jef Akst | Feb 1, 2017
Unlike animals, plants stably pass on their DNA methylomes from one generation to the next. The resulting gene silencing likely hides an abundance of phenotypic variation.
RNA Interference Between Kingdoms
RNA Interference Between Kingdoms
Kerry Grens | Feb 1, 2017
Plants and fungi can use conserved RNA interference machinery to regulate each other’s gene expression—and scientists think they can make use of this phenomenon to create a new generation of pesticides.
May the Force Be with You
May the Force Be with You
Ning Wang | Feb 1, 2017
The dissection of how cells sense and propagate physical forces is leading to exciting new tools and discoveries in mechanobiology and mechanomedicine.

Contributors

Contributors

Contributors

Contributors

Meet some of the people featured in the February 2017 issue of The Scientist.

Editorial

A Walk on the Wild Side

A Walk on the Wild Side

A Walk on the Wild Side

Plants have so much to teach us.

Speaking of Science

Notable Science Quotes

Notable Science Quotes

Notable Science Quotes

Intellectual property theft, gun violence, scientific failure, and more

Notebook

Can Plants Learn to Associate Stimuli with Reward?

Can Plants Learn to Associate Stimuli with Reward?

Can Plants Learn to Associate Stimuli with Reward?

A group of pea plants has displayed a sensitivity to environmental cues that resembles associative learning in animals.
Pitcher Plant Enzymes Digest Gluten in Mouse Model

Pitcher Plant Enzymes Digest Gluten in Mouse Model

Pitcher Plant Enzymes Digest Gluten in Mouse Model

A newly discovered protease could break down grain proteins that trigger celiac disease.
Abscisic Acid’s Role in Ferns Finally Determined

Abscisic Acid’s Role in Ferns Finally Determined

Abscisic Acid’s Role in Ferns Finally Determined

Researchers solve the mystery of 15-year-old mutant ferns with disrupted sex determination.

Critic at Large

Opinion: An Ethical Code for Conferences

Opinion: An Ethical Code for Conferences

Opinion: An Ethical Code for Conferences

This fundamental form of scientific communication is threatened by modern recording technology and researchers who refuse to adhere to an age-old ethical code. 

Modus Operandi

Deep Pocket Exploration

Deep Pocket Exploration

Deep Pocket Exploration

A modification to traditional docking software enables the examination of a ligand’s passage into its receptor.

The Literature

Plant Photoreceptor Doubles as a Thermometer

Plant Photoreceptor Doubles as a Thermometer

Plant Photoreceptor Doubles as a Thermometer

Warmth acts on a light-sensing protein similarly to the way shade does, setting off a growth spurt in plant seedlings.
The Fungus that Poses as a Flower

The Fungus that Poses as a Flower

The Fungus that Poses as a Flower

Mummy berry disease coats blueberry leaves with sweet, sticky stains that smell like flowers, luring in passing insects to spread fungal spores.

Profile

From the Ground Up

From the Ground Up

From the Ground Up

Instrumental in launching Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system, Elliot Meyerowitz has since driven the use of computational modeling to study developmental biology.

Scientist to Watch

Andrea Eveland Teases Apart Gene Networks in Crop Plants

Andrea Eveland Teases Apart Gene Networks in Crop Plants

Andrea Eveland Teases Apart Gene Networks in Crop Plants

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center researcher links complex traits to the genes that underlie them.

Lab Tools

Discovering Novel Antibiotics

Discovering Novel Antibiotics

Discovering Novel Antibiotics

Three methods identify and activate silent bacterial gene clusters to uncover new drugs

Bio Business

Pharma Cooperates to Achieve Precision Medicine

Pharma Cooperates to Achieve Precision Medicine

Pharma Cooperates to Achieve Precision Medicine

The challenges of adapting drug development to the age of personalized therapies encourage collaboration among industry players.

Reading Frames

Cannibalism: Not That Weird

Cannibalism: Not That Weird

Cannibalism: Not That Weird

Eating members of your own species might turn the stomach of the average human, but some animal species make a habit of dining on their own.

Foundations

19th Century Experiments Explained How Trees Lift Water

19th Century Experiments Explained How Trees Lift Water

19th Century Experiments Explained How Trees Lift Water

A maple branch and shattered equipment led to the cohesion-tension theory, the counterintuitive claim that water’s movement against gravity involves no action by trees.