Steroids bulk up plants just as they do human athletes, but the playbook of molecular signals that tell the genes to boost growth and development in plant cells is far more complicated than in human and animal cells. A new study by plant biologists at the Carnegie Institution used an emerging molecular approach called proteomics to identify key links in the steroid signaling chain.

The Carnegie Institution’s Department of Plant Biology today announced the launch of a new web-based resource that promises to help researchers around the world meet increasing demands for food production, animal feed, biofuels, industrial materials, and new medicines. It is the Plant Metabolic Network (PMN) at

Curators at one of the world’s most widely used biological databases, The Arabidopsis Information Resource, or TAIR, have joined forces with the journal Plant Physiology, to solve the “flood of information” dilemma.

A startling discovery by scientists at the Carnegie Institution puts a new twist on photosynthesis, arguably the most important biological process on Earth. Two studies suggest that certain widespread marine microorganisms have evolved a way to break the rules of normal photosynthesis—they can harvest solar energy without a net release of oxygen or uptake of carbon dioxide.

Genes of a tiny, single-celled green alga called Chlamydomonas reinhardtii may contain scores more data about the common ancestry of plants and animals than the richest paleontological dig. This work is described in an article in the October 12, 2007, issue of Science.

A team, led by researchers at the Carnegie Institution, has found a key biochemical cycle that suppresses the immune response, thereby allowing cancer cells to multiply unabated. The research shows how the biomolecules responsible for healthy T-cells, the body’s first defenders against hostile invaders, are quashed, permitting the invading cancer to spread. The same cycle could also be involved in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis