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Birthday!, Jasmonate, Wheat

Posted by | July 25, 2007

Let’s Celebrate!

On Solid Ground is about to have its first birthday. To celebrate, we’re putting together a “reader’s choice” special issue based on your favorite On Solid Ground stories from our first year.

Please help us celebrate by nominating your favorite On Solid Ground stories for inclusion in our birthday issue. You can review past issues in our archive at Just copy the headline (or headlines; feel free to nominate as many stories as you like) and email your nominations to Brian Clark ( While you’re at it, send Brian the names and email addresses of people you think should be reading On Solid Ground, too—and then get them to vote, as well!

On Solid Ground is a weekly, electronic newsletter for the friends and stakeholders of the Washington State University College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS), WSU Extension and the WSU Agricultural Research Center.

A Jazzy Discovery

The exotic, romantic scent of jasmine is due primarily to jasmonate, a plant hormone responsible for reproductive development, pathogen immunity, defense against insects and other biologically critical functions.

The biochemistry involved in the conversion of the hormonal signal into cellular and genetic action have been poorly understood until now. A team of researchers at WSU’s Institute of Biological Chemistry led by Regent’s Professor John Browse have identified the proteins enabling plants to perceive and respond to jasmonate. Their paper was published last week in Nature online.

“Jasmonate is the last major hormone for which the central signaling components have not been described,” Browse said. “Understanding how the jasmonate system works will shed light on all the processes in which the hormone is involved, notably plant reproduction and defense,” he said.

For more information, including a link to the paper in Nature, please visit:

Regent’s Professor John Browse led a team of researchers that discovered proteins involved in jasmonate perception and response. Jasmonate is a key plant hormone involved in reproduction and defense.

WSU Wheat Varieties Dominate

Spring and winter wheat varieties developed by WSU scientists top the list of those grown in the state, according to statistics recently released by the Washington Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

WSU winter wheat breeder Stephen Jones noted that old wheat varieties, such as Tubbs, are losing acreage at about 25 percent per year and are being replaced by the new ones, “just as it is supposed to work,” he said.

“This 2007 acreage data is very promising,” said Dan Bernardo, dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. “WSU varieties are gaining market share in all major classes, and new varieties with improved genetics are replacing older varieties. I am particularly impressed with the rapid increase of acreage in Stephen Jones’ Bauermeister variety. With another promising variety in the pipeline in Xerpha, WSU winter wheat varieties should continue to gain market share into the future.”

Spring wheat breeder Kim Kidwell said, “I’m thrilled that our new lines are doing so well in commercial production.”

For more information, please visit WSU Agriculture:

Washington wheat has more than a $1 billion annual impact on the state’s economy, according to the Washington Wheat Commission.