Salk Institute
Plant Biology
Plant Biology
Plant Biology Plant BiologyPlant Biology

For the last quarter century, Salk plant biologists have focused their efforts on the ragged little mustard weed known as Arabidopsis thaliana. With the completion of the Arabidopsis Genome Project, they are now working on identifying the products and functions for all of its genes – knowledge that can be applied to agriculture and may one day help improve the quality and quantity of the world's food supply.

As the information is collected, it is compiled in a database that plant biologists refer to as a "clickable plant." The clickable plant database is a repository for all plant genes along with their functions, their interactions and information about how they are influenced by day length, temperature, water availability, and other environmental variables.

Ultimately, the goal is to understand plant growth so well that scientists can, in effect, reprogram plants to adjust to any kind of growing conditions. This work has tremendous potential for both agricultural and the pharmaceutical industry.

Joanne Chory
Professor and Director
Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
Howard H. and Maryam R. Newman Chair in Plant Biology

Joseph R. Ecker
Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory
Director, Genomic Analysis Laboratory
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator
Salk International Council Chair in Genetics

Julie A. Law
Assistant Professor
Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory
Hearst Foundation Development Chair

Joseph P. Noel
Professor and Director, Jack H. Skirball Center for Chemical Biology and Proteomics
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
Arthur and Julie Woodrow Chair


May 09, 2013
Salk researchers chart epigenomics of stem cells that mimic early human development

April 29, 2013
Smoke signals: How burning plants tell seeds to rise from the ashes

March 06, 2013
Hidden layer of genome unveils how plants may adapt to environments throughout the world

August 30, 2012
Discovery may help protect crops from stressors

August 07, 2012
Planting the seeds of defense

April 15, 2012
Salk scientists discover how plants grow to escape shade

September 15, 2011
Are genes our destiny?

August 15, 2011
Salk Institute named global leader in plant biology research

July 28, 2011
Scientists take a giant step for people - with plants!

June 16, 2011
Salk scientist Joseph Ecker, appointed as Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator

May 24, 2011
Salk Professor, Joanne Chory, Elected to Royal Society

May 24, 2011
It's not easy being green

February 02, 2011
Cell reprogramming leaves a "footprint" behind

January 31, 2011
Different evolutionary paths lead plants and animals to the same crossroads: tyrosine phosphorylation

February 27, 2009
Light or fight? Scientists discover how plants make tough survival choices

February 10, 2009
Why fruits ripen and flowers die:
Salk scientists discover how key plant hormone is triggered

September 16, 2008
Biologists Identify Genes Controlling Rhythmic Plant Growth

May 15, 2008
Not your grandfather's transcriptome-plant biologists discover unexpected proteins affecting small RNAs

April 17, 2008
Charting the Epigenome

April 03, 2008
A place in the sun

February 07, 2008
Root or shoot? EAR calls the shots

December 27, 2007
New plant study reveals a "deeply hidden" layer of the transcriptome

July 19, 2007
Charting ever-changing genomes

March 29, 2007
All roads lead to GUN1

March 15, 2007
Plant size morphs dramatically as scientists tinker with outer layer

January 25, 2007
National Academy of Sciences honors Joe Ecker with Carty Award

October 12, 2006
Algae provide new clues to cancer

August 31, 2006
In a technical tour de force, Salk scientists take a global view of the epigenome

August 10, 2006
Computational analysis shows that plant hormones often go it alone

June 08, 2006
Salk scientists get to the root of plant cell fate

May 03, 2006
Salk scientists untangle steroid hormone signaling in plants

April 25, 2006
Salk scientist Joe Ecker elected to National Academy of Sciences

November 04, 2005
Salk Institute plant biologist named AAAS Fellow

January 27, 2005
Plant Hormone Discovery Offers Potentially Increased Crop Yield

October 31, 2003
Gene Chip Study Could Lead to New Hybrid Plants

July 31, 2003
Salk Study Advances Understanding of Plant Genes and Their Function

June 18, 2003
Salk Scientists Identify Pathway That Determines When Plants Flower

November 16, 2001
Global Plant Study by Salk Scientists Identifies Light-Adjusting Gene

December 13, 2000
First Plant Genome Sequenced: Salk Scientists Part Of International Effort

December 20, 1999
Plant "DWARF" Gene Found By Salk Scientists

Discovery may help protect crops from stressors

August 30, 2012

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have discovered a key genetic switch by which plants control their response to ethylene gas, a natural plant hormone best known for its ability to ripen fruit, but which, under stress conditions, can cause wilted leaves, premature aging and spoilage from over-ripening. The findings, published August 30, 2012 in Science magazine, may hold the key to manipulating plants' ethylene on/off switch, allowing them to balance between drought resistance and growth and, therefore, decrease crop losses from drought conditions.
Read more>>



Discovery of plant proteins may boost agricultural yields and biofuel production

May 13, 2012

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Iowa State University discovered a family of plant proteins that play a role in the production of seed oils, substances important for animal and human nutrition, biorenewable chemicals and biofuels.

Scoring a rare scientific hat trick, the researchers identified three related proteins in thale cress plants (Arabidopsis thaliana) that regulate the metabolism of fatty acids, chemical components of all cell membranes and vegetable oils. They dubbed these fatty-acid binding proteins FAP1, FAP2 and FAP3. Read more>>



Cell reprogramming leaves a "footprint" behind

Reprogramming adult cells to recapture their youthful "can-do-it-all" attitude appears to leave an indelible mark, found researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. When the team, led by Joseph Ecker, PhD., a professor in the Genomic Analysis Laboratory, scoured the epigenomes of so-called induced pluripotent stem cells base by base, they found a consistent pattern of reprogramming errors. Read more>>

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