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Search: authors:"Ulrich Kutschera"

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From the scala naturae to the symbiogenetic and dynamic tree of life

All living beings on Earth, from bacteria to humans, are connected through descent from common ancestors and represent the summation of their corresponding, ca. 3500 million year long evolutionary history. However, the evolution of phenotypic features is not predictable, and biologists no longer use terms such as "primitive" or "perfect organisms". Despite these insights, the...

Salinity Stiffens the Epidermal Cell Walls of Salt-Stressed Maize Leaves: Is the Epidermis Growth-Restricting?

As a result of salt (NaCl)-stress, sensitive varieties of maize (Zea mays L.) respond with a strong inhibition of organ growth. The reduction of leaf elongation investigated here has several causes, including a modification of the mechanical properties of the cell wall. Among the various tissues that form the leaf, the epidermis plays a special role in controlling organ growth...

Do mudskippers and lungfishes elucidate the early evolution of four-limbed vertebrates?

Background Recently, the origin of four-limbed vertebrates (tetrapods) was re-assessed, based on footprints and trackways that were made by early land animals almost 400 million years (my) ago. That is 18 my earlier than the oldest known tetrapod body fossils, such as Acanthostega and Ichthyostega from Greenland, and 10 my older than the earliest ‘tetrapodomorph fishes...

Brassinosteroid action in flowering plants: a Darwinian perspective

The year 2012 marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's first botanical book, on the fertilization of orchids (1862), wherein he described pollen grains and outlined his evolutionary principles with respect to plant research. Five decades later, the growth-promoting effect of extracts of Orchid pollen on coleoptile elongation was documented. These studies...