Features

Genes that Escape Silencing on the Second X Chromosome May Drive Disease
Genes that Escape Silencing on the Second X Chromosome May Drive Disease
Amber Dance | Mar 1, 2020
When X-linked genes evade silencing on the “inactive” chromosome in XX cells, some protect women from diseases such as cancer, but others seem to promote conditions such as autoimmunity.
Climate Change Is Killing East Coast Forests
Climate Change Is Killing East Coast Forests
Ashley Yeager | Mar 1, 2020
As the salty Atlantic Ocean pushes farther inland, forests are turning to marsh. Some scientists want to speed the transition.
Can Destroying Senescent Cells Treat Age-Related Disease?
Can Destroying Senescent Cells Treat Age-Related Disease?
Katarina Zimmer | Mar 1, 2020
A handful of clinical trials are underway to find out whether drugs that target senescent cells can slow the ravages of old age.

Contributors

Contributors
Contributors
Contributors
Meet some of the people featured in the March 2020 issue of The Scientist.

Editorial

Confessing to Plant Blindness
Confessing to Plant Blindness
Confessing to Plant Blindness
I have taken plants for granted. I pledge to change.

Speaking of Science

Ten Minute Sabbatical
Ten Minute Sabbatical
Ten Minute Sabbatical
Take a break from the bench to puzzle and peruse.

Critic at Large

Opinion: Crafting a Cure for Plant Blindness
Opinion: Crafting a Cure for Plant Blindness
Opinion: Crafting a Cure for Plant Blindness
The plant awareness revolution will be led by poets, philosophers, and hipsters; not just scientists.

Notebook

Researchers Discover the Largest Virus in the Oceans Yet
Researchers Discover the Largest Virus in the Oceans Yet
Researchers Discover the Largest Virus in the Oceans Yet
The ChoanoVirus genome codes for rhodopsin, perhaps giving its choanoflagellate host extra energy-harvesting capabilities.
Generations of Insect Attacks Drive Plants to “Talk” Publicly
Generations of Insect Attacks Drive Plants to “Talk” Publicly
Generations of Insect Attacks Drive Plants to “Talk” Publicly
Goldenrods that evolved in the presence of herbivores release volatile chemicals that trigger defenses in neighboring plants of their species, even those that are genetically unrelated.
Ancient Wheat Genome Reveals Clues to the Agricultural Past
Ancient Wheat Genome Reveals Clues to the Agricultural Past
Ancient Wheat Genome Reveals Clues to the Agricultural Past
A museum sample of a 3,000-year-old Egyptian crop plant yields genomic information that helps researchers track the plant’s domestication and migration.
Genomics Reveals How Humans Can Inadvertently Drive Plant Mimicry
Genomics Reveals How Humans Can Inadvertently Drive Plant Mimicry
Genomics Reveals How Humans Can Inadvertently Drive Plant Mimicry
Hand weeding of fields spurred an interloper to evolve a rice-like appearance, researchers conclude.

Modus Operandi

Gene Editing Reaches Plant Mitochondria
Gene Editing Reaches Plant Mitochondria
Gene Editing Reaches Plant Mitochondria
Modified gene editing machinery enables targeted disruptions of mitochondrial genes in rice and rapeseed plants.

The Literature

What Makes a Venus Flytrap Snap
What Makes a Venus Flytrap Snap
What Makes a Venus Flytrap Snap
To avoid wasting digestive energy, the plant only seals shut after sensing certain prey movements.
Compounds from Smoke Alter Root Development in Plants
Compounds from Smoke Alter Root Development in Plants
Compounds from Smoke Alter Root Development in Plants
Defects in the response to fire-generated karrikins turn out to be responsible for root anomalies that were previously ascribed to other plant hormones.
Ants Produce Antibiotics that May Protect Plants
Ants Produce Antibiotics that May Protect Plants
Ants Produce Antibiotics that May Protect Plants
The antimicrobial compounds ants excrete to defend themselves from pathogens may protect plants as well.

Profile

Into the Light: A Profile of Joanne Chory
Into the Light: A Profile of Joanne Chory
Into the Light: A Profile of Joanne Chory
The plant geneticist has revolutionized researchers’ understanding of how light affects plant growth and development, and is engineering plants to combat climate change.

Scientist To Watch

Joe Louis Studies the Molecular Battles Between Plants and Insects
Joe Louis Studies the Molecular Battles Between Plants and Insects
Joe Louis Studies the Molecular Battles Between Plants and Insects
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln entomologist wants to help pave the way for creating environmentally friendly tools to replace insecticides to control agricultural pests.

Bio Business

Variation in Cannabis Testing Challenges a Young Industry
Variation in Cannabis Testing Challenges a Young Industry
Variation in Cannabis Testing Challenges a Young Industry
The US lacks standardized methods to assess products for potency and safety. That’s a big problem for the labs tasked with doing the testing.

Reading Frames

Opinion: Tree Rings as Soothsayers
Opinion: Tree Rings as Soothsayers
Opinion: Tree Rings as Soothsayers
Not only can studying the growth patterns obscured within tree trunks tell us about the past, the field can also help us plan for the future.

Foundations

A Smiling Garden, 1558
A Smiling Garden, 1558
A Smiling Garden, 1558
An analysis of the En Tibi herbarium’s plants and handwriting has given clues to the identity of its maker.

Infographics

Infographic: How Some X-Chromosome Genes Escape Inactivation
Infographic: How Some X-Chromosome Genes Escape Inactivation
Infographic: How Some X-Chromosome Genes Escape Inactivation
About one-quarter of the hundreds of genes on the inactivated X chromosome in XX cells manage to escape that silencing, at least some of the time.
Infographic: How Does Cell Senescence Drive Aging and Disease?
Infographic: How Does Cell Senescence Drive Aging and Disease?
Infographic: How Does Cell Senescence Drive Aging and Disease?
The accumulation of zombie-like cells seems to accelerate aging and promote aging-related disease. Researchers are trying to figure out how.
Interactive Infographic: How Salt Transforms Coastal Forests
Interactive Infographic: How Salt Transforms Coastal Forests
Interactive Infographic: How Salt Transforms Coastal Forests
Rising sea levels are pushing salty tides and storm surges farther inland, leading to the forest death and a shift from forested habitats to marsh.
Infographic: How a Venus Flytrap Snaps
Infographic: How a Venus Flytrap Snaps
Infographic: How a Venus Flytrap Snaps
Trigger hairs on the lobes of the trap are tuned to respond to wriggling prey.
Infographic: A Gene Editor for Plant Mitochondrial DNA
Infographic: A Gene Editor for Plant Mitochondrial DNA
Infographic: A Gene Editor for Plant Mitochondrial DNA
New TALEN-based tools enable the organelle’s genome to be targeted and modified.