Washington State Magazine

Fall 2008


Fall 2008

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In This Issue...

Features

The Higher Costs of College :: When it comes to paying the tuition, creative savvy may be a Cougar characteristic. Some do the expected--sell blood at the plasma center in Pullman, offer themselves up for psychology studies on campus, and find jobs either at the university or at a local restaurant. Others, over history, have been even more creative. by Hannelore Sudermann

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Our Story: How I made both ends meet }

The End Is the Beginning - a photo essay :: A Chinese native who was born during the Cultural Revolution, Jian Yang '08 found his artistic self somewhere in between his home country and the United States. That understanding of the in-between is perhaps why, on a visit home after spending some time here in graduate school, he discovered a fascination for the disappearing tradition of rural Chinese opera. by Hannelore Sudermann :: photography by Jian Yang

To Err Is Human :: The older a woman is when she conceives, the more likely it is her eggs will have abnormal chromosomes. But beyond the fact of the biological clock, we often overlook a bigger story. Even with young mothers, chromosome abnormalities are the single most frequent cause of miscarriage and birth defects. Between 25 and 30 percent of all fertilized human eggs have the wrong number of chromosomes, a rate that seems peculiar to humans. by Cherie Winner

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Story: Why do good eggs go bad? }

Essay

The New Virtualism: Beijing, the 2008 Olympic Games, and a new style for world architecture. by David Wang

Panoramas

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Video: What plants see...Changes how they grow }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Video: A new biofuel crop for Washington farmers? }

Departments

Tracking

Cover photo: Sophomore Sarah Williams is borrowing money and working several jobs to help pay for college. She also sells her handmade jewelry in Pullman and on the internet to raise money to cover her school supplies. Photograph by Zach Mazur.

Fall 2008
Web Exclusives

Video: What Plants See...Changes How They Grow

| © Washington State University

Meet the WSU Researcher: Michael Neff

Part 1: What Plants See...Changes How They Grow

Washington State University botanist Michael Neff studies the way plants sense light and plants around them, and change their growth patterns accordingly. Plants use photoreceptors sensitive to far-red light to determine their proximity to other plants. These photoreceptors are different from infrared receptors used for photosynthesis.

"What I've been interested in forever is how plants use light as a source of information," says Neff. "Plants have photoreceptors that are completely independent of photosynthesis and chloroplasts, that read their environment and say, 'I am in full sunlight, I'm in the shade of another plant, I've got plants that are growing too close to me,'" and so on. The photoreceptors then trigger a host of hormonal reactions that influence how tall the plant will grow.

Determining how plants grow based on their light perception can possibly lead to better crops that produce more food.

Read more in "Seeing red (and far-red)" in Washington State Magazine.

Watch Part 2: A new biofuel crop for Washington farmers?

Categories: Agriculture, Biological sciences | Tags: Video, Light, Botany, Photosynthesis, Plant behavior