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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Silver birch and climate change: variable growth and carbon allocation responses to elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide and ozone.

We studied the effects of elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide ([CO2]) and ozone ([O3]) on growth, biomass allocation and leaf area of field-grown O3-tolerant (Clone 4) and O3-sensitive clones (Clone 80) of European silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) trees during 1999-2001. Seven-year-old trees of Clones 4 and 80 growing outside in open-top chambers were exposed for 3 years to the following treatments: outside control (OC); chamber control (CC); 2 x ambient [CO2] (EC); 2 x ambient [O3] (EO); and 2 x ambient [CO2] + 2 x ambient [O3] (EC+EO). When the results for the two clones were analyzed together, elevated [CO2] increased tree growth and biomass, but had no effect on biomass allocation. Total leaf area increased and leaf abscission was delayed in response to elevated [CO2]. Elevated [O3] decreased dry mass of roots and branches and mean leaf size and induced earlier leaf abscission in the autumn; otherwise, the effects of elevated [O3] were small across the clones. However, there were significant interactions between elevated [CO2] and elevated [O3]. When results for the clones were analyzed separately, stem diameter, volume growth and total biomass of Clone 80 were increased by elevated [CO2] and the stimulatory effects of elevated [CO2] on stem volume growth and total leaf area increased during the 3-year study. Clone 80 was unaffected by elevated [O3]. In Clone 4, elevated [O3] decreased root and branch biomass by 38 and 29%, respectively, whereas this clone showed few responses to elevated [CO2]. Elevated [CO2] significantly increased total leaf area in Clone 80 only, which may partly explain the smaller growth responses to elevated [CO2] of Clone 4 compared with Clone 80. Although we observed responses to elevated [O3], the responses to the EC+EO and EC treatments were similar, indicating that the trees only responded to elevated [O3] under ambient [CO2] conditions, perhaps reflecting a greater quantity of carbohydrates available for detoxification and repair in elevated [CO2].[1]


  1. Silver birch and climate change: variable growth and carbon allocation responses to elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide and ozone. Riikonen, J., Lindsberg, M.M., Holopainen, T., Oksanen, E., Lappi, J., Peltonen, P., Vapaavuori, E. Tree Physiol. (2004) [Pubmed]
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