New paper on the phylogeny of the Brassicaceae

The mustard family Brassicaceae (also known as Crucifers, from the cross-like form of their flowers) comprises ca. 4000 species, including economically important crops such as cabbage and canola, many species adapted to extreme ...

A small piece of DNA with a large effect on leaf shape

Millions of years ago, some plants in the mustard family made the switch from simple leaves to complex leaves through two tiny tweaks to a single gene. One tweak to a small enhancer sequence gave the gene a new domain of ...

Plants cut the mustard for basic discoveries in metabolism

You might think you have nothing in common with mustard except hotdogs. Yet based on research in a plant from the mustard family, Salk scientists have discovered a possible explanation for how organisms, including humans, ...

How plants make cocaine

Cocaine is one of the most commonly used (and abused) drugs, but we have almost no modern information on how plants produce this complex alkaloid. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, ...

Production of mustard oils: On the origin of an enzyme

(PhysOrg.com) -- In the evolutionary arms race, small changes can be sufficient to gain a crucial advantage over the enemy. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology found out recently that the ancestor ...