Monday, 19 December 2016

Evo-devo themed Phil Trans issue out

Cheryll Tickle and Araxi Urrutia have put together a themed Phil Trans B issue on evo-devo research. There is a broad selection of papers, mainly on animal evolution and development, but there are also two on plant evo-devo.

My review covers genetic and developmental changes in the radiation of plant body plans, and will be useful to undergraduate and palaeo MSc students at Bristol taking the ‘flowering plants’ module. The Soltis lab reviews the evolution of floral diversity.

Cheryll and Araxi have written an interesting overview of the issue including perspectives on the history and goals of evo-devo research and the current state of play.

You can access the papers here.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Paper on liverwort shape out

Thanks to Anne Knowlton and Current Biology for working with us get the first paper from Jeremy Solly’s PhD out, now online here :-).
In it we address the question of how plant shape arises in an ancient planar growth form, the liverwort thallus. We have found that growth rate variation is sufficient to determine thallus shape, and that auxin production in the notch region is likely to pattern growth rate variation.
In contrast, planar shapes in flowering plants emerge by differential growth oriented with respect to each cell’s internal compass, or polarity. The results raise questions about the roles of polarity in liverwort thalli and how the mechanisms that determine plant shape have changed through evolution.
Comparing liverwort and flowering plant development spans the broadest evolutionary distance in land plants, so if we identify shared mechanisms for shape in the future, they are likely to have broad relevance to future efforts to engineer shape.