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Darwin Reviews

Darwin Reviews are the Journal of Experimental Botany’s most prestigious review series and topics are carefully chosen in the most progressive fields of research. Darwin Review authors are selected for their expertise and long-standing reputation. They are asked to provide new foresight to highlight how paradigms are changing in response to new findings.

The Darwin series is a growing collection of varied and exciting reviews in both traditional and non-traditional areas of plant biology. Launched to celebrate the inheritance of Charles Darwin, Richard Napier initiated and presided over the first series published between 2010 and 2013, followed by Christine Foyer who commissioned reviews from 2013 until 2015. In 2015, Don Ort became the new Darwin Reviews Editor.

New Darwin Editor, Don Ort

2015 Darwin Reviews Editor Don Ort

Don Ort is the Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois and Research Leader of the USDA/ARS Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit in Urbana, IL. His B.S. degree is in biology/chemistry from Wake Forest University and he earned his Ph.D. in plant biochemistry from Michigan State University. He served as President of International Society of Photosynthesis Research, President of the International Association of Plant Physiology, President of the American Society of Plant Biologists and as Editor-in-Chief of Plant Physiology and is an Associate Editor of Annual Review of Plant Biology. He is the 2006 ASPB Kettering Award recipient, elected Fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologist in 2007 and Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science Award in 2009.

He is the Director of the SoyFACE project; a unique open-air laboratory investigating the impacts of rising carbon dioxide and tropospheric ozone and their interactions with temperature and precipitation on crop systems of the Midwest (, involving research groups from a range of University of Illinois departments and institutions across the US, Europe and Asia. He is also Theme Leader of Genomic Ecology of Global Change in the Institute for Genomic Biology at Illinois and Associate Director of the Gates Foundation funded RIPE - Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency for Improved Crop Production project. His laboratory is engaged in three lines of research: i) Redesigning photosynthesis for improved efficiency; ii) Molecular and biochemical basis of environmental interactions with crop plants; iii) Ecological genomics: Interactive effects of CO2, temperature and drought on plant, plant canopy and plant ecosystem performance.

Invitation to suggest suitable topics

If you would like to suggest a topic and/or author for a Darwin Review please email the Journal of Experimental Botany providing a brief outline and reason for your choice.

Darwin Reviews 2016

Commissioned by Christine Foyer

W.E. Finch-Savage and G.W. Bassel
Seed vigour and crop establishment: extending performance beyond adaptation

Darwin Reviews 2015

Commissioned by Christine Foyer

Thomas Pfannschmidt, Robert Blanvillain, Livia Merendino, Florence Courtois, Fabien Chevalier, Monique Liebers, Björn Grübler, Elisabeth Hommel, and Silva Lerbs-Mache
Plastid RNA polymerases: orchestration of enzymes with different evolutionary origins controls chloroplast biogenesis during the plant life cycle

Robert P. Kumpf and Moritz K. Nowack
The root cap: a short story of life and death

Nigel G. Halford, Tanya Y. Curtis, Zhiwei Chen and Jianhua Huang
Effects of abiotic stress and crop management on cereal grain composition: implications for food quality and safety
J. Exp. Bot. (2015) 66 (5): 1145-1156

Alexander V. Ruban
Evolution under the sun: optimizing light harvesting in photosynthesis
J. Exp. Bot. (2015) 66 (1): 7-23

Tetsuya Hisanaga, Kensuke Kawade and Hirokazu Tsukaya
Compensation: a key to clarifying the organ-level regulation of lateral organ size in plants
J. Exp. Bot. (2015) 66 (4): 1055-1063

Darwin Reviews 2014

Commissioned by Christine Foyer

Dieter Blancquaert, Hans De Steur, Xavier Gellynck, and Dominique Van Der Straeten
Present and future of folate biofortification of crop plants
J. Exp. Bot. 2014 65: 895–906

Mathias Pribil, Mathias Labs, and Dario Leister
Structure and dynamics of thylakoids in land plants
J. Exp. Bot. 2014 65: 1955–1972

Ahmed Ismail, Shin Takeda, and Peter Nick
Life and death under salt stress: same players, different timing?
J. Exp. Bot. 2014 65: 2963–2979

Albert Porcar-Castell, Esa Tyystjärvi, Jon Atherton, Christiaan van der Tol, Jaume Flexas, Erhard E. Pfündel, Jose Moreno, Christian Frankenberg, and Joseph A. Berry
Linking chlorophyll a fluorescence to photosynthesis for remote sensing applications: mechanisms and challenges
J. Exp. Bot. 2014 65: 4065–4095

Fabien Sénéchal, Christopher Wattier, Christine Rustérucci, and Jérôme Pelloux
Homogalacturonan-modifying enzymes: structure, expression, and roles in plants
J. Exp. Bot. 2014 65: 5125–5160

Juan J. Pierella Karlusich, Anabella F. Lodeyro, and Néstor Carrillo
The long goodbye: the rise and fall of flavodoxin during plant evolution
J. Exp. Bot. 2014 65: 5161–5178

Monika W. Murcha, Beata Kmiec, Szymon Kubiszewski-Jakubiak, Pedro F. Teixeira, Elzbieta Glaser, and James Whelan
Protein import into plant mitochondria: signals, machinery, processing, and regulation
J. Exp. Bot. 2014 65: 6301–6335

Darwin Reviews 2013

Commissioned by Richard Napier

Sarah M. Rich and Michelle Watt
Soil conditions and cereal root system architecture: review and considerations for linking Darwin and Weaver
J. Exp. Bot. (2013) 64 (5): 1193-1208
doi: 10.1093/jxb/ert043

Yew Lee, Woo Sung Lee and Soo-Hwan Kim
Hormonal regulation of stem cell maintenance in roots
J. Exp. Bot. (2013) 64 (5) First published online: November 25, 2012
doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers331

Elizabeth Waters
The evolution, function, structure, and expression of the plant sHSPs
J. Exp. Bot. (2012) 64(2) First published online: December 18, 2012
doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers355

Mathias Schuetz, Rebecca Smith, and Brian Ellis
Xylem tissue specification, patterning and differentiation mechanisms
J. Exp. Bot. (2012) 64 (1) First published online: November 16, 2012
doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers287

Noé Gest, Hélène Gautier, and Rebecca Stevens
Ascorbate as seen through plant evolution: the rise of a successful molecule?
J. Exp. Bot. (2012) 64 (1) First published online: October 12, 2012
doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers297

Lenka Franková and Stephen C. Fry
Biochemistry and physiological roles of enzymes that ‘cut and paste’ plant cell-wall polysaccharides
J. Exp. Bot. 2013 64: 3519–3550

Esther Novo-Uzal, Francisco Fernández-Pérez, Joaquín Herrero, Jorge Gutiérrez, Laura V. Gómez-Ros, María Ángeles Bernal, José Díaz, Juan Cuello, Federico Pomar, and María Ángeles Pedreño
From Zinnia to Arabidopsis: approaching the involvement of peroxidases in lignification
J. Exp. Bot. 2013 64: 3499–3518

Veerle De Schepper, Tom De Swaef, Ingvar Bauweraerts, and Kathy Steppe
Phloem transport: a review of mechanisms and controls
J. Exp. Bot. 2013 64: 4839–4850

Ryan Whitford, Delphine Fleury, Jochen C. Reif, Melissa Garcia, Takashi Okada, Viktor Korzun, and Peter Langridge
Hybrid breeding in wheat: technologies to improve hybrid wheat seed production
J. Exp. Bot. 2013 64: 5411–5428

Darwin Reviews 2012

Commissioned by Richard Napier

Nicole Schatlowski and Claudia Köhler
Tearing down barriers: understanding the molecular mechanisms of interploidy hybridizations
J. Exp. Bot. (2012) 63 (17): 6059-6067
doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers288

Elias Bassil et al.
Cellular ion homeostasis: emerging roles of intracellular NHX Na /H antiporters in plant growth and development
J. Exp. Bot. (2012) First published online: September 17, 2012
doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers250

Moshe Feldman et al.
Genomic asymmetry in allopolyploid plants: wheat as a model
J. Exp. Bot. (2012) First published online: August 1, 2012
doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers192

Maes and Steppe
Estimating evapotranspiration and drought stress with ground-based thermal remote sensing in agriculture: a reviewW. H.
J. Exp. Bot. (2012) 63 (13): 4671-4712
doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers165

Svetlana Gerdes et al.
Plant B vitamin pathways and their compartmentation: a guide for the perplexed
J. Exp. Bot. (2012) First published online: August 21, 2012
doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers208

Moshe Feldman et al.
Genomic asymmetry in allopolyploid plants: wheat as a model
J. Exp. Bot. (2012) First published online: August 1, 2012
doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers192

W. H. Maes and Steppe
Estimating evapotranspiration and drought stress with ground-based thermal remote sensing in agriculture: a review
J. Exp. Bot. (2012) 63 (13): 4671-4712
doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers165

Ewa J. Mellerowicz andTatyana A. Gorshkova
Tensional stress generation in gelatinous fibres: a review and possible mechanism based on cell-wall structure and composition
J. Exp. Bot. (2012) 63(2): 551-565 first published online November 16, 2011

Benjamin Bollhöner, Jakob Prestele, and Hannele Tuominen
Xylem cell death: emerging understanding of regulation and function
J. Exp. Bot. (2012) 63(3): 1081-1094 first published online January 2, 2012

Ulrich Kutschera and Zhi-Yong Wang
Brassinosteroid action in flowering plants: a Darwinian perspective
J. Exp. Bot. (2012) 63(10): 3511-3522 first published online April 30, 2012

Nicky J. Atkinson and Peter E. Urwin
The interaction of plant biotic and abiotic stresses: from genes to the field
J. Exp. Bot. (2012) 63(10): 3523-3543 first published online March 30, 2012

Thomas L. Slewinski
Non-structural carbohydrate partitioning in grass stems: a target to increase yield stability, stress tolerance, and biofuel production
J. Exp. Bot. First published online June 25, 2012
doi:10.1093/jxb/ers124 (24 pages)

Darwin Reviews in 2011

Commissioned by Richard Napier

Andrea Nardini, Sebastiano Salleo, and Steven Jansen
More than just a vulnerable pipeline: xylem physiology in the light of ion-mediated regulation of plant water transport
J. Exp. Bot. (2011) 62(14): 4701-4718 First published online July 16, 2011

White R. G. and Barton D. A.
The cytoskeleton in plasmodesmata: a role in intercellular transport?
J. Exp. Bot. (2011) 62 (15): 5249-5266
doi: 10.1093/jxb/err227

Karin Weitbrecht, Kerstin Müller, and Gerhard Leubner-Metzger
First off the mark: early seed germination
J. Exp. Bot. (2011) 62(10): 3289-3309 first published online March 23, 2011

Bruno Müller
Generic signal-specific responses: cytokinin and context-dependent cellular responses
J. Exp. Bot. (2011) 62(10): 3273-3288 First published online January 6, 2011

Ivo Frébort, Marta Kowalska, Tomáš Hluska, Jitka Frébortová, and Petr Galuszka
Evolution of cytokinin biosynthesis and degradation
J. Exp. Bot. (2011) 62(8): 2431-2452 First published online February 14, 2011

Jutta Ludwig-Müller
Auxin conjugates: their role for plant development and in the evolution of land plants
J. Exp. Bot. (2011) 62(6): 1757-1773 First published online February 9, 2011

Christopher Buschhaus and Reinhard Jetter
Composition differences between epicuticular and intracuticular wax substructures: How do plants seal their epidermal surfaces?
J. Exp. Bot. (2011) 62(3): 841-853 First published online December 30, 2010

Steven Ball, Christophe Colleoni, Ugo Cenci,Jenifer Nirmal Raj, and Catherine Tirtiaux
The evolution of glycogen and starch metabolism in eukaryotes gives molecular clues to understand the establishment of plastid endosymbiosis
J. Exp. Bot. (2011) 62(6): 1775-1801 First published online January 10, 2011 doi:10.1093/jxb/erq411

Darwin Reviews in 2010

Commissioned by Richard Napier

Naoyuki Uchida and Masao Tasaka
Intersections between immune responses and morphological regulation in plants
JXB Advance Access published on May 9, 2010
J. Exp. Bot. 2010 61: 2539-2547

Ruth C. Martin, Po-Pu Liu, Natalya A. Goloviznina, and Hiroyuki Nonogaki
microRNA, seeds, and Darwin?: diverse function of miRNA in seed biology and plant responses to stress
JXB Advance Access published on March 24, 2010
J. Exp. Bot., May 2010; 61: 2229 – 2234

Jon Falk and Sergi Munné-Bosch
Tocochromanol functions in plants: antioxidation and beyond
J. Exp. Bot. 2010 61: 1549-1566

Andrew D. Friend
Terrestrial plant production and climate change
JXB Advance Access published on March 4, 2010, J. Exp. Bot. 2010 61: 1293-1309

Amada Pulido and Patrick Laufs
Co-ordination of developmental processes by small RNAs during leaf development
JXB Advance Access published on January 22, 2010, J. Exp. Bot. 2010 61: 1277-1291

Robin Allaby
Integrating the processes in the evolutionary system of domestication
JXB Advance Access published on January 12, 2010, J. Exp. Bot. 2010 61: 935-944

Keara A. Franklin and Peter H. Quail
Phytochrome functions in Arabidopsis development
JXB Advance Access published on October 8, 2009. J. Exp. Bot. 2010 61: 11-24

Hendrik Schäfer, Natalia Myronova, and Rich Boden
Microbial degradation of dimethylsulphide and related C1-sulphur compounds: organisms and pathways controlling fluxes of sulphur in the biosphere
JXB Advance Access published on December 10, 2009. J. Exp. Bot. 2010 61: 315-334

Darwin Reviews articles in 2009

Commissioned by Richard Napier

Aaron M. Ellison and Nicholas J. Gotelli
Energetics and the evolution of carnivorous plants-Darwin's 'most wonderful plants in the world'
J. Exp. Bot. 2009 60: 19-42;

E. Wassim Chehab, Elizabeth Eich, and Janet Braam
Thigmomorphogenesis: a complex plant response to mechano-stimulation
JXB Advance Access published on December 16, 2008 J. Exp. Bot. 2009 60: 43-56;

Bruno Moulia and Meriem Fournier
The power and control of gravitropic movements in plants: a biomechanical and systems biology view
J. Exp. Bot. 2009 60: 461-486;

Richard D. Firn and Clive G. Jones
A Darwinian view of metabolism: molecular properties determine fitness
J. Exp. Bot. 2009 60: 719-726;

Bruce McClure
Darwin's foundation for investigating self-incompatibility and the progress toward a physiological model for S-RNase-based SI
J. Exp. Bot. 2009 60: 1069-1081;

P. R. Shewry
J. Exp. Bot. 2009 60: 1537-1553

Jennifer J. Holland, Diana Roberts, and Emmanuel Liscum
Understanding phototropism: from Darwin to today
J. Exp. Bot. 2009 60: 1969-1978

Thorunn Helgason and Alastair H. Fitter
Natural selection and the evolutionary ecology of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (Phylum Glomeromycota)
J. Exp. Bot. 2009 60: 2465-2480

Sylviane Comparot-Moss and Kay Denyer
The evolution of the starch biosynthetic pathway in cereals and other grasses
J. Exp. Bot. 2009 60: 2481-2492

Anna-Liisa Laine
Role of coevolution in generating biological diversity: spatially divergent selection trajectories
J. Exp. Bot. 2009 60: 2957-2970

Robert B. Heinen, Qing Ye, and Francoise Chaumont
Role of aquaporins in leaf physiology
JXB Advance Access, Published on June 19th 2009 J. Exp. Bot. 2009 60:2971-2985

Shingo Takagi, Hideyasu Takamatsu, and Nami Sakurai-Ozato
Chloroplast anchoring: its implications for the regulation of intracellular chloroplast distribution
J. Exp. Bot. 2009 60: 3301-3310

Zhefeng Lin, Silin Zhong, and Don Grierson
Recent advances in ethylene research
J. Exp. Bot. 2009 60: 3311-3336

Purbasha Sarkar, Elena Bosneaga, and Manfred Auer.
Plant cell walls throughout evolution: towards a molecular understanding of their design principles.
J. Exp. Bot. 2009 60: 3615-3635

John A. Raven, John Beardall, Kevin J. Flynn, and Stephen C. Maberly
Phagotrophy in the origins of photosynthesis in eukaryotes and as a complementary mode of nutrition in phototrophs: relation to Darwin's insectivorous plants
J. Exp. Bot. 2009 60: 3975-3987

Some of the major publications by Charles Darwin

The voyage of the Beagle: Journal and Remarks (1839)
On the origin of species (1859)
The movements and habits of climbing plants (1865)
The variation of animals and plants under domestication (1868)
Insectivorous plants (1875)
The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex (1871)
The effects of cross and self-fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom (1876)
The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species (1877)
The power of movement in plants (1880)
The formation of vegetable mould through the action of worms (1881)