The quest to save the banana from extinction

Panama disease, an infection that ravages banana plants, has been sweeping across Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Africa. The impact has been devastating. In the Philippines alone, losses have totalled US$400m. And the ...

Instant evolution in whiteflies: Just add bacteria

In just six years, bacteria in the genus Rickettsia spread through a population of the sweet potato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci), an invasive pest of global importance. Infected insects lay more eggs, develop faster and are ...

Sexual reproduction only second choice for powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is one of the most dreaded plant diseases: The parasitic fungus afflicts crops such as wheat and barley and is responsible for large harvest shortfalls every year. Beat Keller and Thomas Wicker, both plant ...

Sun, water, CO2 and algae: A recipe for biofuel?

Plant-based biofuels were initially hailed as the answer to all problems posed by traditional fossil fuels. Supply is unlimited and they are also neutral to emissions harmful to the environment also. But using plants has ...

Study finds natural selection favors cheaters

Mutualisms, which are interactions between members of different species that benefit both parties, are found everywhere—from exchanges between pollinators and the plants they pollinate, to symbiotic interactions between ...

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