plants

A crystalline botanical fashion show. Awhile back Chemical & Engineering News published a fascinating article called "The Secret Life of Plant Crystals" with some wonderful photos of calcium oxalate crystals. Special cells (called "idioblasts") produce these crystals, with shapes that are unique to each type of plant. Reposted for the holiday. Even though 75% of flowering plants make these crystals, no one knows why ... Read more
Have you ever wondered what kinds of viruses can be found in human waste? Mya Breitbart and team have been sequencing nucleic acids from fecal samples in order to find out. You might expect that we'd find viruses that infect humans or viruses that infect the bacteria in our gut. I wouldn't have expected to learn the result that they found. A large number, 60% of the viral DNA sequences were from unknown viruses. That's not a surprise. The surprise came when they looked at the RNA viruses.
Instead, the viral sequences most often came from a plant pathogen ... Read more

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