Milestones in Plant Science
The United Kingdom releases UK Plant Science: Current status and future challenges
The Plant Science Research Summit publishes Unleashing a Decade of Innovation in Plant Science: A Vision for 2015-2025
Inaugural Fascination of Plants Day held May 18. The European Plant Science Organisation initiates FoPD to plant virtual and perpetually germinating seeds in the minds of people around the globe about the critical importance of plant science.
Tomato genome published
Fifteen plant scientists named as inaugural Howard Hughes Medical Institute-Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigators
The Association of Independent Plant Research Institutes forms to promote plant science discovery. Scientists from the four U.S. non-profit plant research organizations will participate in collaborative projects and share resources.
Over 1 million farmers plant Sub1 rice. The new variety could increase food security for 70 million of the world’s poorest people
The Global Plant Council formed by a coalition of plant and crop science societies around the world to address global issues that involve plant biology and to provide policy makers with scientific information to make decisions on these topics
Two plant research groups identify TALEs (transcription activator-like effectors) as valuable tools for gene technology
The corn genome published by a consortium led by Richard Wilson. The maize sequence contains more than twice as many genes as the human genome
The BioCassava Plus project genetically modifies the cassava plant to fortify it with enough vitamins, minerals and protein to provide a day’s worth of nutrition in a single meal
health of millions around the world, developed by a multi-institution research team from the U.S. and Mexico
DOE selects first small-scale biorefinery projects to advance production of current and next-generation biofuels and industrial products
iPlant forms, the first national cyberinfrastructure center dedicated to tackling global “grand challenge” questions in plant biology. University of Arizona researchers led by Richard Jorgensen initiate the effort. Supported by NSF, iPlant aims to identify problems in the plant sciences that could benefit from cyberinfrastructure and develop methods to coordinate delivery of hardware and software to solve those problems.
An international effort of more than 40 institutions completes the first genome-sequencing project of a nonvascular land plant, the moss Physcomitrella patens.
Three bioenergy research centers established with DOE funding. The centers’ goal is to provide transformational science needed for bioenergy breakthroughs to make cellulosic ethanol cost-competitive with gasoline.
Kan Wang, Victor Lin, Brian Trewyn and Francois Torney demonstrate the first use of nanotechnology to penetrate plant cell walls and simultaneously deliver a gene and a chemical that triggers its expression with controlled precision.
UC Berkeley, the University of Illinois and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory receive a $500 million award from BP to establish the Bioenergy Research Institute
Sun Kim, Tracy Punshon, Antonio Lanzirotti, Liangtao Li, Jose Alonso, Joseph Ecker, Jerry Kaplan and Mary Lou Guerinot discover that plants store iron the vacuole. This finding increases the ability to modify crops to create iron-rich seeds.
Researchers clone a gene from wild wheat that increases the protein, zinc and iron content in the grain
The U.S. Department of Energy and the USDA initiate a program to advance fundamental research in biomass genomics that will provide a scientific foundation to facilitate the use of woody plant tissue for bioenergy and biofuel
Jonathan Jones and Jeffrey Dangl, after work in Arabidopsis, show that molecular chaperones are needed to guide innate immune responses
X. Zhang and colleagues describe the first genome-wide high-density methylation map of an entire genome using Arabidopsis thaliana.
Pamela Ronald, Keong Xu, Takeshi Fukao, Abdlbagi Ismael and Julia Bailey-Serres identify a gene in rice that renders the crop tolerant to water submergence.
A consortium led by the University of California, Davis initiates research to advance technology that rapidly identify genes that may produce higher quality wheat
A consortium led by the University of California, Davis initiates research to advance technology that rapidly identify genes that may produce higher quality wheat.
U.S. Postal Services honors plant genetics pioneer and Nobel Prize winner Barbara McClintock with a postage stamp. International Rice Genome Sequencing Project publishes DNA blueprint for the crop in Nature. The final “map” reveals the location and sequence of more than 37,500 protein-encoding genes among 389 million base pairs of DNA.
Aaron Liepman and Kenneth Keegstra characterize enzymes responsible for synthesizing fibrous carbohydrates that make up plant cell walls. The work enables development of plants that provide increased nutrition, cheaper food additives and easily digestible animal feed.
Researchers at Duke, New York University and the University of Arizona develop an Arabidopsis root gene expression map
Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer succeed in developing “Golden Rice,” a modified rice plant yellowish in color that contains beta carotene, a building block of vitamin A. The crop could help prevent blindness in malnourished children. However, a lack of awareness concerning GMOs curtails production of the crop for over a decade.
Tasios Melis and Liping Zhang of UC Berkeley along with Maria Ghiardi and Marc Forestier of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory discover a metabolic “switch” in algae that allows the plant to produce hydrogen gas. The finding has the potential to create a commercial source of hydrogen gas produced by photosynthesis.
NSF unveils the 2010 Project, a functional genomics research project for Arabidopsis
Winslow Briggs’ lab characterizes the LOV domain as the chromopeptide responsible for blue-light perception in organisms from higher plants to algae, fungi and even the most primitive bacteria
Arabidopsis genome sequencing completed, one year prior to completion of the human genome. Knowing the Arabidopsis genome eliminates the need to clone genes via traditional methods.
As genetics research matures, both the research and development aspects of plant physiology become more diverse.
Dean DellaPenna outlines nutritional genomics, a novel area of plant physiology in which researchers combine plant biochemistry and genomics to improve human nutrition.
Bill Clinton issues executive order to spur plant technologies and other bio-based technologies. The order called for coordinating federal efforts to accelerate technologies that can convert crops, trees and other biomass into a wide array of fuels and materials. The goal: to triple U.S. use of bioenergy and bioproducts by 2010.
Andrew Hamilton and David Baulcombe discover a short antisense RNA that can induce gene silencing
The IWG for Plant Genomes establishes the National Plant Genome Initiative.
Potatoes, genetically engineered by Charles Arntzen and Hugh Mason, are used in the first ever clinical trial of a genetically engineered food to deliver a pharmaceutical. The trial determines the safety and efficacy of an edible vaccine.
John Christie and colleagues in Winslow Briggs’ lab discover that phototropin serves as the photoreceptor for phototropism
Michael Neff and Joanne Chory describe the genetic interactions between phytochrome A, phytochrome B and cryptochrome 1 during Arabidopsis development
Peter Ryan, Martha Skerrett, Geoffrey Findlay, Emmanuel Delhaize and Stephen Tyerman describe activation of an anion channel in apical cells of wheat roots
The International Rice Genome Sequencing Project consortium established. Members include the U.S., China, Taiwan, Korea, India, Thailand, France, Brazil and the U.K.
President Clinton’s science advisor John Gibbons appoints an Interagency Working Group for Plant Genomes to identify science-based priorities for a plant genome initiative and to plan for a comprehensive effort on expanding knowledge of plant genomes, especially for those plants that contribute significantly to the U.S. agricultural sector.
Juergen Koepke, Xiche Hu, Cornelia Muenke, Klaus Schulten and Hartmut Michel identify the crystal structure of the photosynthetic light-harvesting complex
A multinational consortium funds the sequencing of the entire Arabidopsis genome
S.D. Clouse, M. Langford and T.C. McMorris report on the mechanism by which the plant cell regulators called brassinosteroids modulate cell elongation and division
Emmanuel Liscum and Winslow Briggs explain the mechanisms underlying the phototropic response
Willem Broekaert, Franky Terras, Bruno Cammue and Rupert Osborn characterize a novel class of plant peptides that resemble insect and mammalian defensins and act as a defense system
Pamela Ronald leads a research group that isolates and characterizes the XA21 pattern recognition receptor gene. A genetically engineered XA21 strain of rice resists bacterial blight, one of the most serious crop diseases in Africa and Asia.
David Jones, Colwyn Thomas, Kim Hammond-Kosack, Peter Balint-Kurti and Jonathan Jones clone resistance genes from tomato
Rufus Chaney is the first U.S. researcher to publish data on phytoremediation, the practice of using plants to clean up toxic metal wastes
Jeffrey Palmer pioneers the use of restriction enzymes to construct plant phylogenies
Margaret Ahmad and Anthony Cashmore discover the first blue light receptor, cryptochrome 1, in Arabidopsis
Julie Anderson, Shirish Huprikar, Leon Kochian, William Lucas and Richard Gaber report the first potassium channel clone
The April issue of Plant Cell includes two papers on gene silencing. In one, Richard Jorgensen, Carolyn Napoli and Christine Lemieux uncover a sequence-specific gene silencing response in petunias.
In the other, Alexander van der Krol, Leon Mur, Marcel Beld, Joseph Mol and Antoine Stuitje report on the suppression of gene expression when gene copies are added to the petunia.
Nicholas Ewing and colleagues clone tomato plasma membrane H+
Research by Bob Buchanan leads to discovery of a new type of biotechnology to remove certain allergens from foods. Buchanan used thioredoxin to change the shape of proteins in wheat and milk so that they lose much of their ability to trigger allergies
The Multinational Coordinated Arabidopsis thaliana Genome Research Project launched by an international team of scientists who recognized the need to examine in detail one simple plant with basic features common to all plants. NSF, DOE, USDA, NIH and international partners jointly support the project.
Elliot Meyerowitz and Enrico Coen derive a model for organ-type specification allowing researchers to redesign flowers to have specific organ types in each part of the flower
Several research groups use photoaffinity labeling to localize an auxin-binding protein (ABP1), but despite cloning and sequencing of the gene, conclusive evidence that ABP1 is an auxin receptor remains elusive.
Molecular genetics reveal the complex signaling between Rhizobium and its legume host in the formation of root nodules and symbiotic nitrogen fixation.
Calgene Corporation initiates discussions with U.S. FDA regarding Flavr Savr tomato, engineered to provide extended shelf-life. First effort at marketing a crop food modified through biotechnology. The plant’s own gene that produces an enzyme that naturally softens the fruit was disabled by inserting it “backwards” within the tomato genome. FDA approves in 1994.
The first pest-resistant corn, Bt corn, produced
Anthony Bleecker reports on the effects of a dominant mutation in Arabidopsis thaliana. The mutation causes insensitivity to ethylene. Subsequently, the wild type allele proved to encode an ethylene receptor.
Sean Gallagher and colleagues report that blue light could activate phosphorylation of a plasma membrane protein from the growing regions of etiolated seedlings
X-ray crystallography reveals the three-dimensional structure of the photosynthetic reaction center of the purple bacterium, Rhodopseudomonas viridis. Hartmut Michael, Johann Deisenhofer and Robert Huber receive the Nobel Prize for their work.
Β Glucuronidase (GUS) reporter system developed in plants
Entire chloroplast genome of Marchantia polymorpha and Nicotiana tabacum sequenced opening the way for further studies of chloroplast gene expression, genome organization and evolution.
Sally Assmann, L. Simoncini, Julian Schroeder and others begin patch-clamping guard cell membranes and elucidate the ion currents during turgor-dependent stomatal movements.
Peter Quail and colleagues clone phytochrome and describes the first expression of the full-length photoreceptor
Arabidopsis thaliana emerged as the experimental model plant of choice for isolating mutants and elucidating biochemical and developmental pathways by means of molecular genetics
influence on gene expression in maize. Her work makes possible gene tagging that enables isolation, cloning, and functional analysis of specific genes.
Tobacco is the first eukaryotic organism that is stably and reproducibly transformed using genetic engineering
L.W. Ream, M.P. Gordon and E. W. Nester bioengineer the tumor-inducing plasmid of the crown gall bacterium (Agrobacterium tumefaciens) which begins to serve as a vector in genetic transformation of plants
Bruria Hill and Geoffrey Findlay discuss movement in plants using osmosis
John Bedbrook and W.L. Gerlach report successful cloning of ribosomal DNA and telomeric repeated sequences from wheat. This begins the era of plant gene cloning. They also established that plant DNA was similar to that of all other organisms and could be manipulated using the same enzymes, cells and vector systems.
USDA Competitive Research Grants Program begins with Joe Key as first director
Mary-Dell Chilton, Marc Van Montagu and Robert Fraley show that Agrobacterium tumafaciens T-DNA was integrated into the chromosomes of plant cells, setting the stage for the revolution in plant genetic engineering. The trio shared the 2013 World Food Prize for their early contributions to the field.
Plant genomes investigated by quantitative DNA reassociation tools such as Cot curves
Jerry Kermicle’s studies with maize reveal that phenotypic specification depends on the inheritance of parental or maternal alleles. This activity is later described as “imprinting”
Plant breeder and father of the “Green Revolution,” Norman Borlaug wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to develop improved, high-yield wheat varieties for Mexico
Paul Kramer’s work on plant and soil water relations culminates in the highly regarded book, “Plant and Soil Water Relationships: A Modern Synthesis”
G.J. Von Abrams and Harlan Pratt describe the role of nucleic acids in senescence
B.C. Jarvis, B. Frankland and J.H. Cherry reveal the role nucleic acids play in dormancy
Chaim Frenkel, Isaac Klein and D.R. Dilley shows the importance of nucleic acids to fruit ripening
Stanley Burg describes ethylene’s role in plant aging (senescence) and leaf drop (abscission)
J. Eugene Fox and Chong-Maw Chen characterize RNA from cytokinin-containing tissue
Joe Key, N.M. Barnett and C.Y. Lin provide evidence for RNA and protein synthesis in auxin regulation of cell elongation
William Hillman unravels phytochrome mechanisms
Hisao Fujisawa shows the importance of nucleic acids to germination
M.J. Jaffe and A.W. Galston describe thigmotropism exhibited by pea tendrils
Hugo Kortschak discovers C4 photosynthesis
J.E. Varner demonstrates the importance of gibberellin to reproduction
James Lyons, T.A. Wheaton and Harlan Pratt describe the role played by mitochondrial membranes during plant stress
H.M. Cathey describes synthetic growth regulators
Marvin Edelman is the first to isolate chloroplast DNA and among the first to map the chloroplast genome h
Stanley and Ellen Burg describe the respiratory climacteric
Clifford and Carolyn Slayman report on the basis for an H pump
Jack Dainty describes ion transport and electrical potentials in plant cells
Toshio Murashige and Folke Skoog create a culture medium of defined composition designed for the optimal growth of plant tissues
A.C. Leopold describes the role of senescence in plant development
Melvin Calvin earns Nobel Prize for research on carbon dioxide assimilation in plants
Frank Salsbury and James Bonner show the importance of nucleic acids to flowering
L.R. Blinks describes chromatic “transients” in the photosynthesis of green alga
plants that is photoreversible on sequential red and far-red illumination. The action spectrum matches anthocyanin production, light-induced seed germination, and photoperiodism
Enid MacRobbie and Jack Dainty report on ion transport in Nitellopsis obtuse
Folke Skoog and F.M. Strong identify kinetin, the first cytokinin isolated, and show that a high ratio of kinetin to auxin enhances bud formation in tissue cultures of tobacco pith. Skoog also regenerates whole plants from somatic cells
Winslow Briggs, Richard Tocher and James Wilson confirm that redistribution of auxin occurs in the absence of photodestruction during the phototropic response of corn coleoptiles
Bruce Stowe and Toshio Yamaki’s review of the largely Japanese literature on gibberellins brings this group of natural plant hormones to the attention of western scientists
Robert Emerson, Ruth Chalmers, Carl Cederstrand and Marcia Brody report on the effect of temperature on far-red light limits during photosynthesis
Bernard Phinney shows that gibberellic acid restores growth of certain single gene dwarf mutants of maize to normal
Ian Sussex publishes initial studies connecting leaf blade expansion to the development of abaxial/adaxial (top/bottom) polarity
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Daniel Arnon, Mary Belle Allen and F.R. Whatley publish the first demonstration of direct, light-driven synthesis of ATP by isolated chloroplasts and photophosphorylation in chloroplasts
Adele Millerd, James Bonner, Bernard Axelrod, and Robert Bandurski demonstrate that plant mitochondria are capable of oxidative phosphorylation
Orville Vogel introduces a dwarfing gene into wheat. This work led to improved grain yields
Daniel Arnon isolates chloroplasts and shows that they contain a copper enzyme, polyphenoloxidase
Harold Flor introduces gene-for- gene theory
George Beadle and Edward Tatum investigate the transmission of hereditary traits in the fungus Neurospora. They showed that particular genes were responsible for particular enzymes and that genes regulated all biochemical functions. Along with Joshua Lederberg, they received the 1958 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine
T.G. Mason and E. Phillis describe the mechanism of phloem transport
Using Nitella, Kenneth Cole and Howard Curtis make the first-ever measurement of changes in membrane electrical conductance during an action potential movement
Researchers, among them Mikhail Chailakhyan, Karl Hamner and James Bonner, show the flowering stimulus, induced by photoperiod, moves through the plant and across a graft union
Barbara McClintock demonstrates the role of the telomere and centromere, regions of the chromosome important in conserving genetic information
Robin Hill demonstrates oxygen evolution by cell-free chloroplasts (grana). His work leads to discovery of the “Hill reaction”
Wendell Stanley isolates the tobacco mosaic virus
Teijiro Yabuta produces a non-crystalline solid that stimulates growth of rice seedlings and names the compound gibberellin
Robert Emerson and William Arnold discover the photosynthetic unit through elegant, single-turnover flash experiments
Barbara McClintock publishes the first genetic map for maize, linking regions of the chromosome to physical traits
Barbara McClintock and Harriet Creighton prove the link between chromosomal crossover during meiosis and the recombination of genetic traits
Barbara McClintock is the first to describe genetic recombination by crossing-over during meiosis—a mechanism by which chromosomes exchange information
Barbara McClintock characterizes triploid maize chromosomes
F. M. Shertz provides the first quantitative measurements of chlorophyll
T.G. Mason and E. J. Maskell contribute to studies on long-distance transport in plants with studies of solute movement in phloem by mass flow
F.W. Went isolates a plant growth substance (auxin). Two years later he develops a method to quantify the substance
R.C. Punnett’s comprehensive analysis of the sweet pea supports the chromosome theory of linkage
Lewis Knudson devises a method to germinate orchid seeds on sterile nutrient agar
While studying the induction of flowering in tobacco and soybean, W.W. Garner and H.A. Allard discovers photoperiodism