Daily Archives: 28th of July 2010

Michael Pollan (and Yoda) at TED

Michael Pollan takes a plant's eye view of agriculture

Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire, shows the power of evolutionary explanations by taking a plant’s eye view of agriculture. It’s not just the content that I like, the presentation style is worth examining too.

The talk is definitely more in the style of a naked Yoda than Darth Vader. It’s lacking details, but I never get those from a scientific talk anyway. While it’s not a compelling scientific argument of itself, it did inspire me to follow up on what he was talking about by getting the book.

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Factors leading to hybrid lethality in Nicotiana

Nicotiana

Hybrid lethality is a type of postzygotic isolation and is observed in some species of Nicotiana in association with genes encoded on the Q chromosome. Tezuka et al. (pp. 267–276) make interspecific crosses of eight wild species with cultivated tobacco, N. tabacum, and find only one, N. fragrans, that produces 100 % viable hybrids. They confirm that one or more genes on the Q chromosome of N. tabacum are responsible for hybrid lethality, but the effect can be suppressed if the seedlings are grown at elevated temperatures.

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