Journal club: publishable units?

Paper: UV-C-irradiated Arabidopsis and Tobacco emit volatiles that trigger genomic instability in neighboring plants from Yao et al. (2011).

After reading the paper, Frogee told me that the HRF, high recombination frequency, detection method used as a proxy of genomic instability was not well supported, and actually seems to be unaccepted.

This paper's story hinges on plant signalling that induces genomic instability, however it seems that they have not validated that the detection assay is a reliable one. That is, there is no evidence that "a single recombination event in the recombination cassette restores luciferase activity".


The authors' interpretations are hard to swallow, I don't believe they showed what they claim, that is "a single recombination event in the recombination cassette [will] restore luciferase activity". Nonetheless, the genetic experimentation with mutants compromised for either SA and/or JA synthesis and/or perception supported that these two compounds were volatile, excreted under certain stresses, and perceived by plants. Whether or not these findings were a publishable unit without the stretch to high frequency recombination, I'm not sure.

Presenter did a good job; relevant background information, fielded the questions phenomenally well.