News

Local genetic adaption helps sorghum crop hide from witchweed

Sorghum crops in areas where the agricultural parasite striga, also known as witchweed, is common are more likely to have genetic adaptations to help them resist the parasite, according to new research led by Penn State scientists.

Herringbone pattern in plant cell walls critical to cell growth

Plant cells tend to grow longer instead of wider due to the alignment of the many layers of cellulose that make up their cell walls, according to a new study that may have implications for biofuels research.

Water lily genome expands picture of the early evolution of flowering plants

The newly reported genome sequence of a water lily sheds light on the early evolution of angiosperms, the group of all flowering plants. An international team of researchers, including scientists at Penn State, used high-throughput next-generation sequencing technology to read out the water lily’s (Nymphaea colorata) genome and transcriptome — the set of all genes expressed as RNAs.

Agricultural parasite avoids evolutionary arms race, shuts down genes of host

A parasitic plant has found a way to circumvent an evolutionary arms race with the host plants from which it steals nutrients, allowing the parasite to thrive on a variety of agriculturally important plants. The parasite dodder, an agricultural pest found on every continent, sends genetic material into its host to shut down host defense genes.

Forest farms could create market for ginseng, other herbs

A transition from wild collection of herbs to forest farming needs to occur in Appalachia to make the opaque, unstable and unjust supply chain for forest medicinal plants such as ginseng sustainable, according to a team of researchers who have studied the market for more than a decade.

Novel way to ID disease-resistance genes in chocolate-producing trees found

Chocolate-producing cacao trees that are resistant to a major pathogen were identified by an international team of plant geneticists. The findings point the way for plant breeders to develop trees that are tolerant of the disease.

Choosing most cost-effective practices for sites could save in bay cleanup

Using site-specific watershed data to determine the most cost-effective agricultural best management practices — rather than requiring all the recommended practices be implemented across the entire watershed — could make staying below the Chesapeake Bay’s acceptable pollution load considerably less expensive.

Global Faculty Fellow will create connections between Penn State and Colombia

Siela Maximova, research professor of plant biotechnology, has been named a Global Faculty Fellow in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and a Land Grant University U.S.-Colombia Fulbright Scholar.

Mackenzie Named Inaugural Director of Plant Institute

Sally Mackenzie sees a unique opportunity for Penn State to address complex global challenges in an unprecedented way.

Insect-deterring sorghum compounds may be eco-friendly pesticide

Compounds produced by sorghum plants to defend against insect feeding could be isolated, synthesized and used as a targeted, nontoxic insect deterrent, according to researchers who studied plant-insect interactions that included field, greenhouse and laboratory components.