Journal Club.old

2014-2015 Journal Club


Next Monday, we’ll meet at noon in room 473 (Moore hall) to talk about an intriguing piece of news concerning genetically modified crops…

Despite the fact that GMOs were introduced commercially in the mid-1990s and have 2000+ peer-reviewed studies confirming their safety, they are still an especially “touchy” political subject today in terms of safety, labeling, patents, etc.

Scott Stelpflug will present a recent publication by Kyndt et al. 2015 (PNAS), who revealed that signatures of genetic transformation (two foreign T-DNA sequences containing 9 different genes from Agrobacterium – used to create “lab-made GMOs”) are naturally found in modern sweet potato, and may have been associated with domestication.

The authors, rather optimistically, suggest that “[their] finding, that sweet potato is naturally transgenic while being a widely and traditionally consumed food crop, could affect the current consumer distrust of the safety of transgenic food crops”. What do you think? Come to journal club to weigh in!

See also the popular press article:

This will be our last Journal club this semester! Thank you all for participating! But don’t be too sad, we’ll meet again in Fall!

Kyndt et al. 2015



Next week, there will be no journal club; we invite you to attend the special seminar given by Greg Heck (lead scientist in Monsanto):

RNA-based Technologies for Agricultural Applications: Examples, Potential and Considerations

The seminar will take place on April 27th at noon in room 1420 (Microbial Sciences building).

Also, graduate students and postdocs interested in talking to Greg Heck more informally can meet with him after the seminar, at 1:15 PM in room 473 (Moore Hall).


Please join us next Monday at noon in room 473 (Moore hall) to talk about a component of crop production systems that is still poorly understood: the soil microbiome.

Matt Murray will present the paper of Panke-Buisse et al. (2014) published in ISMEJ, in which the authors showed that flowering time – but also biomass – in A. Thaliana could be manipulated in a reproducible way only from different soil microbiomes. After several cycles of selection for soil microbiomes (not plant genotypes!), significant differences in composition and nitrogen-mineralization activity of microbiomes were observed, which may explain the observed effects.

Panke-Buisse et al. 2014


Originally present in eukaryotes as a defense mechanism against extraneous genetic material, RNA interference (RNAi) has proved extremely useful as a tool for artificially knocking out genes. Interfering RNA was later considered to target genes in insects, acting as a highly-specific and environmentally sound insecticide. This strategy has encountered important practical constraints, but thanks to the clever trick presented by Zhang et al. (2015) in Science, RNAi for protection against insects now seems feasible!

Please join us next Monday at noon in room 473 (Moore hall) to learn more about this new breakthrough in RNAi technology!

Zhang et al. 2015


Please join us next Monday at noon in room 473 (Moore hall) to talk about resilience, a topic we are all familiar with as we cope with the many challenges of graduate school.

The ability to change and adapt to both predictable and unexpected changes is essential for agricultural systems. Sarah Turner will present the article by Milestad and Darnhofer, which discusses the socio-ecological resilience of organic systems using the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) standard. What is the relationship between sustainability and resilience? Is organic agriculture sustainable? Will it remain sustainable as it becomes more commercialized? What is the optimal balance among regulation, market forces, and the underlying principles of the organic movement?

Milestad & Darnhofer 2003


Next week is spring break! As a result, there will be no journal club on Monday March 30th. Journal club will resume on Monday April 6th, and we hope to see you then!


Growing up is part of life, both for humans and for plants. Although growing up isn’t always fun, finding out how it happens certainly is! Join us on Monday as we discuss how plants make the leap from juvenile leafy greens to the mature flowering wonders that keep us in business. We’ll spend the hour having a nice adult discussion on Hong & Jackson’s paper Floral induction and flower formation—the role and potential applications of miRNAs , drinking coffee (a classic adult beverage made from adult plants), and doing lots of other adult things because grad students are grown ups, right?

Chris D’Angelo will lead this discussion. Please join us next Monday at noon in room 473 (Moore hall) to learn more about the importance of microRNAs for reproductive development!

Hong & Jackson 2015


Next Monday, a special journal club will be held! Please join us at noon in Room 473 (Moore hall) to meet Beth Werner, an intellectual property manager for WARF.

Lynn Maher asked her to cover a variety of topics including:
– WARF’s history and how it functions,
– how WARF protects and commercializes plant technologies, and
– disclosing procedures for researchers and graduate students.

There will be ample time for questions, especially for those curious about previous journal club discussions around CRISPR technology and patenting new varieties.
If you have questions in advance, please send them to


Please join us next Monday at noon in Room 473 (Moore hall) to talk about the the functional basis of causal variants for complex traits. Since the advent of genome-wide association studies (GWAS), it has been deceptively hard to relate causal genes to complex traits of interest. In fact, “genes” are just the beginning of the story.

Scott Stelpflug will present a very recent paper published in Nature, titled “Genetic and epigenetic fine mapping of causal autoimmune disease variants”. Their authors developed a fine-mapping algorithm to identify candidate causal variants for 21 diseases from genotypic data and integrate these predictions with cell-type specific transcription, cis-regulatory elements and “open chromatin” epigenetic marks and found that most associations lie in enhancer regions of the genome. In the context of plant breeding and plant improvement in the future, this paper highlights the need to integrate genotypic data with other genomic data related to the regulation of gene expression to identify causal variants.

Farh et al. 2015


Please join us next Monday at noon in Room 473 (Moore hall) to talk about the implications of spatial soil sampling on modern field designs and its effect on phenotyping.

Curtis Frederick will present a paper titled “Soil mapping for improved phenotyping of drought resistance in lowland rice fields” by S. Klassen et al from the International Rice Research Institute. This is an initial investigation of using electromagnetic induction technologies to estimate soil electrical conductivity (EC) and account for that important source of variation in rice drought stress experiments.

Klassen et al. 2014


Next Monday we will meet at noon in Room 473 and follow on a discussion started this week to talk about seed patents and their significance in the plant breeding industry. Brett Burdo will present a paper titled “What if Seeds were not Patentable?” by Elizabeth I. Winston, which explores the consequences of allowing seeds to be patentable subject matter, other protections put forth by the U.S. government to spur growth in research and investment in the seed industry, and the licenses developed by private companies to expand on the protections put forth by the federal government, as well as circumvent them.

Winston 2008


Next Monday we will meet at noon in Room 473 to talk about biological and regulatory aspects of the last ground-breaking invention in (plant) biotechnologies: targeted genome editing, with two short articles:

Jones (2015) briefly describes the genome-editing technologies – which include the very famous CRISPR/Cas9 system – and present the regulatory challenges for such indefinite technologies, still poorly understood by the public. Wang et al. (2014) provides a good example of the potentialities of genome editing for plant breeding, that is engineering recessive disease resistance in a species with a very complex genome (wheat).

Jones 2015

Wang et al. 2014


Next Monday the first Journal Club of the year will be held! As usual from now on, we will meet on Monday at noon in Room 473 to discuss – more or less broadly and informally – around a paper that one volunteer chose to present.

Next week (February 9th), Matt Murray will present a paper about patterns of genetic ancestry in African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans across the United States (attached).

Many authors of this paper work with the company 23andMe, the personal genotyping company that has become very common in the US. In this paper they use some of their consumer data as well as some well-known data sets, for example, the 1000 genomes project, to look at ancestry of different sub-populations of humans in the US. The authors pick apart present day admixture with the help of self-reported genealogies and historical human geography.

Bryc et al. 2015


Please join us for the final Engaged Scholarship Roundtable of the Fall Semester on  Friday, December 12, 1-3pm, in the On Wisconsin Room (1st  floor Red Gym): Incorporating Engaged Scholarship into the Tenure Dossier.

A panel of 3 recently tenured faculty will discuss how they purposefully integrated Engaged Scholarship into their tenure dossier, including developing a long-term plan for utilizing Engaged Scholarship, assessing community impacts, and documenting their scholarship. They will also address issues they encountered along the way and how those impediments were successfully resolved. The panel includes Professors Young Mie Kim in Journalism and Mass Communication, Sam Dennis in Landscape Architecture and Brian Christens in Civil Society and Community Studies. Learn more!

Engaged Scholarship Roundtable 12 12 14_FINAL


We hope you enjoyed the last two weeks of special seminars. Since they will no longer conflict with the usual time, journal club is back!

With the recent rapid innovations in genotyping technology, it is becoming easier and cheaper than ever to collect large amounts of genotypic data. Phenotypic data, however, is inherently much more difficult to quantify and unfortunately lags behind.

Carlos Arbizu has selected a very interesting paper for us to discuss this week in which the authors have developed a high-throughput facility to measure rice phenotypes and use that information for a subsequent GWAS study. Please take a look and join us next week to discuss gene discovery, genome-wide associations, high-throughput techniques, or anything else you would like to talk about!

Yang et al. 2014


In lieu of Journal Club next week, we encourage you to attend the special seminar to be given by Dr. Tony Studer at usual journal club time (noon to 1) in the DeLuca Biochemical Sciences Bldg, Room 1211. See the attached flyer for more information.


11-3-14 Moore Hall 473

With advancing technology, it’s amazing how much science can be down nowadays without the need to step into a lab (or a field). Bioinformatics, big data, and computer models are a very interesting branch of research, and the paper for next week explores how simulated predictions can be used in plant breeding.

Matt Murray has selected a very interesting paper for us to discuss this week exploring those topics in biparental crosses in corn. In it, the author simulates the crossing outcome of double haploids based on which favorable alleles are contained in the parents. Please take a look and join us next week to discuss predictive models, computer simulations, and their practicality in plant breeding, or anything else you would like to talk about!

Genomewide selection of parental inbreds_Bernardo_13


10-27-14 Moore Hall 473

With domesticated crop species in many places of the world growing alongside their wild counterparts, an interesting question to explore is if and to what extent our cultivation affects these wild species. A study of their genetic diversity can also tell us where the crop was likely domesticated and what changes occurred along that process.

Claire Luby has selected a very interesting paper for us to discuss this week exploring those topics in cotton. Please take a look and join us next week to discuss crop domestication, gene flow, speciation, plant evolution, or anything else you would like to talk about!



10-20-14  Moore Hall 473

There is much debate in both the academic and public sector question whether or not organic produce is any different than conventionally-produced vegetables. This recent meta-analysis explores this question by looking at composition differences between organic and non-organic food, and we hope that you will be intrigued by the results!

Chris D’Angelo has selected a very interesting paper for us to discuss this week, so please look it and join us next week to discuss organic production, human health, or anything else you would like to talk about.

Baranski British Journal of Nutrition 2014

10-13-14  Moore Hall 473

Hello plant scientists!

Firstly we would like to thank you all of you who attended or viewed the Plant Science Symposium! Thank you for helping us make it a successful event.

Now, what better way to resume our regularly scheduled Journal Clubs than a paper that was published in Science just two days ago? The coffee genome has been sequenced, so come help us celebrate our favorite alkaloid on Monday, September 13th at noon in Moore 473! There will be coffee and chocolate-covered coffee beans.

So please look over the attached paper and join us next week to discuss how such sequencing projects can help plant breeding, future research directions, convergent evolution, interesting phytochemicals, or anything else you would like to talk about!

See you there,


P.S. Thank you to Dr. Goldman for the paper suggestion!



10-6-14  Moore Hall 473

Hello plant scientists!

In lieu of Journal Club next week, we will be gathering to talk about and reflect upon this year’s Plant Science Symposium.

So please attend the symposium tomorrow for as little or as much time as you can. It will be from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the Union South Varsity Room. Then join us next Monday, October 6th at noon in Moore 473. Bring your thoughts on integrating each speakers’ talk into the broader theme of plants and society as well as suggestions for next year. We would love to hear them!

We hope to see you there,



9-29-14  Moore Hall 473

In anticipation of the 2014 Plant Sciences Symposium, entitled Plants and Society: Integrating Food and Science in Today’s Culture (find more information and register HERE) our first few journal clubs will be featuring papers authored by professors who will be presenting at the symposium.

We hope that this will get everyone excited about the Symposium as well as open a dialogue about plant breeding in the larger context of society.

The paper we will be discussing next Monday is written from the perspective of a sociologist, something we don’t see much around this journal club! Our last visiting speaker, Gilbert Gillespie, writes about what farmers in New York think about alternative energy sources and how it affects adoption. Please look it over and come to Journal Club next Monday, September 29th at noon in Moore 473 ready to discuss this research as well as the broader topic of sustainability.

Gillespie 2010 Renew Agr Food Syst


9-22-14  Moore Hall 473

In anticipation of the 2014 Plant Sciences Symposium, entitled Plants and Society: Integrating Food and Science in Today’s Culture (find more information and register HERE) our first few journal clubs will be featuring papers authored by professors who will be presenting at the symposium.

We hope that this will get everyone excited about the Symposium as well as open a dialogue about plant breeding in the larger context of society.

The paper we will be discussing next Monday  is attached. Dr. Robin Buell et al. elucidate the metabolic pathways surrounding the formation of plant phytochemicals that are important for medicinal use. Please look it over and come to Journal Club next Monday, September 22nd at noon in Moore 473 ready to discuss this research as well as the broader topic of Genomics and Bioinformatics in plant breeding.

Buell journal.pone.0052506


9-15-14  Moore Hall 473

Hello plant scientists! Welcome to the start of a new semester and the beginning of Journal Club!

In anticipation of the 2014 Plant Sciences Symposium, entitled Plants and Society: Integrating Food and Science in Today’s Culture (find more information and register HERE) our first few journal clubs will be featuring papers authored by professors who will be presenting at the symposium.

We hope that this will get everyone excited about the Symposium as well as open a dialogue about plant breeding in the larger context of society.

The paper we will be discussing next Monday at the first Journal Club is attached. Dr. Ivan Ingelbrecht et al. explore the genetic diversity of Striga-resistant maize. Please look it over and come to Journal Club next Monday, September 15th at noon in Moore 473 ready to discuss his research as well as biotechnology’s place in improving crops, both in the developing and developed world.

See you there,


Intgelbrecht – Striga-resistant maize



2013-2014 Journal Club

This Fall 2013, Journal club is back on its original schedule and will meet every MONDAY @ NOON in Room 473. Please bring your lunch, prepare for some excellent conversation, and share your thoughts and/or opinions.

If you come across some cool papers that you think should be discussed in journal club, we highly encourage you to please let us know.  Also, if you want to lead journal club send us your name and the date you want to lead. The schedule for 2014:

April 28th – 473 Moore Hall

This week in our last journal club of the semester, Carlos Arbizu will be leading discussion about nutrition and plant breeders’ roles in improving it.

Nutritional quality of food delivered to the consumer is often a product of many factors, including storage, processing, and preparation once it reaches its destination. How much can a plant breeder do, then, to increase nutrition when many of the sources of variation are out of their control?

In this paper by Hennig et al., they explore breeding efforts to increase the levels of glucosinolates in the brassicas, and how a collaboration between plant breeders and food scientists is possible to increase the quality of foods that reach the consumer. It will be interesting to hear your opinions on the feasibility and practicality of this approach!

Hennig et al 2014

April 14th – 473 Moore Hall

Lynn Maher will lead journal club discussion next week. Below is a short summary of what we will be discussing!

In partial continuation of the conversation started last week, we will look at “dry lab biology”. With the multitudes of large databases now publicly available, many scientists can make basic fundamental discoveries without getting their hands “wet” in a lab or field capacity. The article attached is a focus piece looking at this trend in science. What does this mean for funding, lab structure and education as plant breeders? This piece provides a broader look at where breeding is going and could provide framework to discuss what others in the think are important skills to have going into a profession post graduation.

Biology’s Dry Future

April 7th – 473 Moore Hall

Scott Stelpflug will be leading journal club on Monday, April 7th. Below is a summary of the topic:

We all know that biological systems underlying observed phenotypes are impossibly complex, and as plant breeders, we use quantitative genetics and statistics to model and approximate these phenomena to make selections and improve varieties. However, quantitative genetics traces its roots back through more than a century of theory, largely formed in the absence of directly observable genotypic data, and has remained essentially unchanged for decades. By contrast, molecular genetics arose from direct observations, and it is advancing at an unprecedented rate thanks to modern technology and ginormous data sets.

These two disciplines are disparate both in their origins and their current states, yet they address the same fundamental question: how does genotype affect phenotype?

The topic we will be discussing is: how can we as next generation plant breeders intregrate these seemingly disparate schools of thought to make genetic gain more efficient? We will examine this by discussing two papers: Nelson et al. 2013 explores possible ways we can explore a paradigm shift in quantitative genetics that reflects more of the underlying molecular biology in organisms. Additionally, we will highlight examples from Grishkevich et al. 2013, who discusses how certain molecular features of the genome contribute more to GxE variance in gene expression than others.

March 31st – 473 Moore Hall

Backcrossing has been around for many years as a way to introduce a gene of interest to your favorite line. However, it requires many generations and screenings to be successful, and can only be used in a limited number of situations. Today, a quicker and easier way to introduce a single gene is through a transformation, or inserting your gene of interest through genetic modification. Theoretically, the result is the same: your favorite line is maintained, but now has a new gene. But are these two methods really equivalent? The attached paper by Gao et al. explores this question by comparing two strains of rice that contain a disease resistance gene, one obtained through backcrossing and the other by transforming. You may find their results interesting!

March 24th – 473 Moore Hall

Claire Luby has something new and exciting planned! Next week we will discuss intellectual property rights for plants. We will have a guest, IP manager Victoria Sutton from WARF (Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation that manages IP for UW), there to answer questions about IP in general and also IP related to research you might be working on.

To get the conversation started, we have attached 3 documents for you to take a look at before hand: a plant patent for a cranberry released at UW, a PVP on a UW potato, and a utility patent on a hybrid carrot from Seminis. Take a look specifically at the claims sections of the different documents. We will go over the differences between these three types of IP on Monday so bring your questions and ideas! Also, don’t be too concerned with understanding the papers as much as you normally would for a scientific publication. Just get a general idea of what they are, and remember that Victoria Sutton will be around to answer your questions.

March 10th

Continuing our trend of discussing the larger issues of plant breeding and the scientific community, next week we will be discussing how we view statistical significance as well as replication and validation of experiments. The two attached short papers critique the p-values’ ubiquity as a measure of significance, and the other compares the scientific rigor of basic biology versus clinical studies, and questions why other scientific work is not as rigorous or prone to replication. These topics are certainly applicable to journal club as we read more papers throughout the semester, but should hopefully get you thinking about your own research as well.

Shelby Ellison will lead this interesting discussion about the validity of publications. Attached are the articles; we hope to see you there!

Also, feel free to email us at with comments or suggestions about Journal Club. Do you have a suggestion for a paper? Would you like to recommend a topic? Let us know!


March 3rd

Global food production is important, especially when considering our ability to feed the world’s growing population. This paper by Grassini et al. asserts that our prior models of food production are too optimistic. They warn that extrapolating current data on crop production is dangerous, because past trends were largely determined by “one-time innovations” of the green revolution, and the further yield gains will be increasingly difficult to attain and linear at best. This clearly has implications for land use and plans for the future of agriculture. We look forward to discussing this paper and the assumptions they make, and hearing your opinions on weather or not their arguments are convincing.

Ashley Schneider will lead this interesting discussion about future crop production. Attached is the paper; we hope to see you there!

Nature Communications


February 24th

Next Week’s Journal Club will be held on Monday February 24 in Moore 462, just down the hall from 473.

The paper we will be discussing next week reports the most recently sequenced crop genome: that of the hot pepper. With decreasing costs of whole-genome sequencing, it is very exciting that breeding of horticultural crops are beginning to benefit from increased genetic information. The pepper is an interesting crop in that it is closely related to the tomato, but contains the famous capsaicinoids that give the Capsicum species their name. This paper explores the evolution of this unique metabolite, as well as changes in genome size, gene expression, and ripening regulators.

Irwin Goldman will lead this interesting discussion about reference genomes and peppers. Attached is the paper; we hope to see you there!

Pepper Genome


February 17th

We will take a look at a review of crop domestication. It has a good review of domestication theory as well as snippets of lots of current literature. In many species we are now starting to understand many of the specific genes associated with domestication. We are also continually learning that due to our past selection methods we have left behind many valuable traits we are now looking for today.

Evolution of Crop Species


February 10th

Josh Parsons will lead the discussion this week. Our topic will be disease resistance, facilitated by the article titled ‘Fine mapping and identification of candidate genes controlling the resistance to southern root-knot nematode in PI 96354.’ Major disease resistance genes are often NBS-LRR genes, but what is under many disease resistance QTL is a mystery. This group did fine mapping and identification of candidate genes controlling the resistance to southern root knot nematodes in soybeans and has a great hypothesis of what is under one of the QTL.

Fine mapping and identification of candidate genes

Matt Murray will lead this interesting discussion about crop domestication. Attached is the paper; we hope to see you there!



Sept 16

Have you ever wondered what is the future of phenotyping in plant research especially in plant breeding?  In the attached paper, Fiorani and Schurr (2013)  provided an overview of the future scenarios of plant phenotyping. We heard that some scientists believe that there will come a time when phenotyping will no longer be necessary and all we need is genotypic data. What do you think? We would love to hear your ideas. Bring your lunch and join us for an excellent discussion. See you there.

Click here for the paper Fiorani and Schurr (2013) – Future Scenarios of Plant Phenotyping; the abstract is provided below:

With increasing demand to support and accelerate progress in breeding for novel traits, the plant research community faces the need to accurately measure increasingly large numbers of plants and plant parameters. The goal is to provide quantitative analyses of plant structure and function relevant for traits that help plants better adapt to low input agriculture and resource-limited environments. We provide an overview of the inherently multidisciplinary research in plant  phenotyping, focusing on traits that will assist in selecting genotypes with increased resource use efficiency. We highlight opportunities and challenges for integrating noninvasive or minimally invasive technologies into screening protocols to characterize plant responses to environmental challenges for both controlled and field experimentation. Although technology evolves rapidly, parallel efforts are still required because large-scale phenotyping demands accurate reporting of at least a minimum set of information concerning experimental protocols, data management schemas, and integration with modeling. The journey toward systematic plant phenotyping has only just begun.

Sept 23

On Monday, 23Sept13, we will discuss a review article paper entitled “Site-Directed Nucleases (SDNs):  a Paradigm Shift in Predictable, Knowledge-Based Plant Breeding” written by Podevin (2013).  The authors talked about the modes of action, types, and use of SDNs in developing commercial crops. Like many other new technologies, safety is a concern. At the last part of the paper, the authors discussed regulatory considerations and potential safety issues associated with SDNs. As plant breeders/plant scientists, think about the potential uses of SDNs in your current/future research. Bring your lunch and ideas and let us have a great discussion in room 473. We hope to see you there.

PSGSC will provide cookies and coffee; you can view the article here.

Sept 30

We will discuss a review article paper entitled “Family-based association mapping (FBAM) in crops” by Guo et al. (2013). Please click here for the article; Sarah Turner will lead the discussion. The paper discusses FBAM technique which adapts human family-based association tests for plant species and can be used to identify and study the alleles involved in complex traits. PSGSC will provide cookies and coffee; we hope to see you there.

Oct 7

Scott Stelpflug will be leading discussion in journal club for Monday, October 7th, discussing a recent paper published by Uga et al. 2013 in Nature Genetics titled, “Control of root system architecture by DEEPER ROOTING 1 increases rice yield under drought conditions.” It is a very elegant example of progressing from identifying a large-effect QTL to cloning and functionally characterizing the effect of an agronomically relevant gene. While this paper will serve as the main topic of discussion, we will also be discussing the relevance and merit of cloning genes from QTLs, and possible ways to improve this process. A second excellent review by Salvi and Tuberosa is attached to provide background and enhance discussion of this topic. The papers are  DRO1_gene_2013_7Oct13 and Cloning QTLs_Salvi_Tuberosa 2005_7Oct13.

Oct 14

Josh Parsons will lead journal club’s discussion on Monday, 14Oct13 @ noon in Room 473.

Biparental QTL mapping is still a useful tool for plant breeders even in the age of association mapping and genomic selection, and balancing limited resources is always an issue in any program. Michael Stange et al. (2013) discuss the necessary marker density for QTL detection and characterization in the attached paper.  We invite you to join us and let us discuss the attached paper, any experiences we have, and applications.

You can access the article here Genotyping Overkill_14Oct13;  PSGSC will provide cookies and coffee.

Oct 21

Austin Meier will lead journal club’s discussion on Monday, 21Oct13 @ noon in Room 473.

The long generation time of some crops can be a serious constraint in plant breeding. Thus, any technology that can shorten generation time is a valuable breeding tool. In the attached article, Yamagashi et al. (2013) discuss their findings on reducing the generation time of apple seedlings by simultaneously expressing the FLOWERING LOCUS T and silencing the apple TERMINAL FLOWER 1 gene. We invite everyone to join our discussion and share their thoughts on the subject.  PSGSC will provide cookies and coffee.  You can access the article here Yamagashi et al 2013.

Oct 28

Drought tolerance in wheat is a complex trait that is controlled by many genes. In the attached paper, Edae et al. (2013) talked about characterizing five wheat drought tolerance genes using association mapping and nucleotide sequence variation. We look forward to seeing you on Monday, 28Oct13 @ Room 473 and discuss the mentioned paper.  Edae et al 2013 – Asso Mapping and NSV in wheat_28Oct13

Nov 4

Tondelli et al-2013-Structural and Temporal Variation in Barley and AM_4Nov13

Nov 11

In the attached paper, Korte and Farlow (2013) discuss how Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) have become an incredibly powerful tool for connecting the phenome to the genome. More importantly the author’s dicuss biological and statistical considerations that must be implemented for GWAS to be successful and meaningful. Another GWAS review by McCarthy et al. (2008) is provided for additional reading.

GWAS Review 2008-11Nov13

GWAS Review 2013-11Nov13

Nov 18

Stella Salvo will lead journal club discussion on Monday, November 18th at noon in Rm 473.

There are only 37 more years until we reach a world population of over 9 billion people in 2050, how do we produce enough for a growing population in the midst of climate change?  What are the the most innovative tools and techniques we can tap into to increase the breeding cycle?  Murray et al propose a new approach: the cycling of gametes in vitro (COGIV).



Nov 25

In plant breeding, the microorganisms living in the field are easily overlooked, and thier interactions with the plant are generally not considered a target of selection. However, in this week’s journal club article, Peiffer and colleagues have found a small component of heritable variability in the diversity of microbes colonizing maize inbred’s rhizosphere. This paper should provide interesting discussion on the feasibility of selection for novel traits such as this, and the importance (or lack thereof) of microbial interaction with non-legume crops. See you on Monday!


The abstract is below:


The rhizosphere is a critical interface supporting the exchange of resources between plants and their associated soil environment. Rhizosphere microbial diversity is influenced by the physical and chemical properties of the rhizosphere, some of which are determined by the genetics of the host plant. However, within a plant species, the impact of genetic variation on the composition of the microbiota is poorly understood. Here, we characterized the rhizosphere bacterial diversity of 27 modern maize inbreds possessing exceptional genetic diversity grown under field conditions. Randomized and replicated plots of the inbreds were planted in five field environments in three states, each with unique soils and management conditions. Using pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes, we observed substantial variation in bacterial richness, diversity, and relative abundances of taxa between bulk soil and the maize rhizosphere, as well as between fields. The rhizospheres from maize inbreds exhibited both a small but significant proportion of heritable variation in total bacterial diversity across fields, and substantially more heritable variation between replicates of the inbreds within each field. The results of this study should facilitate expanded studies to identify robust heritable plant–microbe interactions at the level of individual polymorphisms by genome wide association, so that plant-microbiome interactions can ultimately be incorporated into plant breeding.


Dec 2

This group looked at using a modifier of flowering locus T to get tobacco plants to flower more quickly and thereby speed up the breeding cycle, and demonstrated it with a single seed descent procedure.   Flowering Locus T and Inbreeding

 December 9th

Selection theory, GWAS, Genomic selection… These methods have in common the fact that they rely on additive models, whereas biological models generally see additive effects as the exception rather than the rule. In this very interesting paper, Nelson, Pettersson & Carlborg comment on the pitfalls of current quantitative genetics methods and address the question of possible alternatives to GWAS for deciphering the relation between genome and phenotype. Please join us next Monday if you’d like to discuss these challenges and (humbly!) talk about possible solutions.  Nelson et al 2013 – new paradigm in quantitative genetics

By the way, Journal club is also a great place to meet new people and discuss your research with other plant scientists.

Happy Journal Clubbing everyone!

For questions and/or more information, contact