As you add condiments to your burgers, hot dogs, etc. at a summer barbecue, take a minute to reflect on where they come from. Most are plant products. And a recent study published in PNAS tells the story about how humans wound up with mustard. As life got going, it started to fill new niches … More Cutting the Evolutionary Mustard.
Flowering Flowering is a killer application of the natural world. There are 300,000 extant species of flowering plants, dwarfing any other type of plant. There are only several thousand species of other types of plants (about 15,000 mosses exist today– the next most abundant group of plants). To say flowers are an evolutionary success story … More Flowering time and genetic memory.
It’s no accident that a lot of things humans have build resemble natural systems. The internet is a decentralized network of networks, a distributed system. There are networks in nature that are similar. Like packets of information on the internet, information in the form of genetic info is shuffled throughout nature as time goes on. … More Labels and information.
One of my favorite podcasts is Good Job, Brain, a weekly trivia podcast out of the San Francisco bay area. They’re a pub trivia team and they’re dedicated to trivia. On the podcast, they mix quizzes and stories about our world and they do it in a fun, engaging way. In the most recent episode, “Cheers!”, … More Grapes, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
This week, I’m going to write about a Genetically modified crop plant brought into the world by nature. Did you think only humans could genetically modify organisms? Nature’s been at it since long before humans were around. An international team of researchers published a paper in PNAS about the discovery of two T-DNA loci in … More A Naturally Genetically Modified Organism.
Good coffee has arrived on the International Space Station (ISS). An Italian designed espresso machine designed to fill a pouch with espresso will be installed on the ISS. They do have coffee in space currently, but it is apparently the instant stuff that tastes terrible, but works. I’m by no means a coffee snob and … More ISSpresso.
Say you write something and submit it for editing. Your editor sends it back with comments. And you create a new version and re-submit and so on. it’s a feedback loop. With editor/writer, it’s a loop of iterative improvement resulting in something publishable (ideally). Feedback loops in biology are also quite common. A recent paper … More Small surprises and a new feedback loop.
Quiet Branches started off with a broad definition of how plants show up in our lives. Two weeks ago, I wrote about translating research into practical products. And highlighted the many ways biotechnology shows up in our lives every day, in some critical (feeding the world) and fun ways (color changing petunias!). The video from … More Norman Borlaug.
Einstein’s theories of relativity enables out modern global positioning system (GPS) to work because the satellites have to correct for the distances between the satellites and Earth. This was not the intent when Einstein derived the mathematics of the relativistic universe. At least I don’t think it was. He was playing around with figuring out how … More From nature to product.