Arts and crafts with Arabidopsis

Categories: something fun
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Published on: November 14, 2014

These past couple of weeks, we at GARNet have noticed a number of amazing Arabidopsis artistic creations cropping up on our Arabidopsis twitter search tool (yes, we monitor Arabidopsis tweets – we’re cool like that). I thought I’d round them up for you – happy Friday!


Arabidopsis cake
Arabidopsis cake, made by Liam Walker and Mairi Walker.

I can personally confirm that this pot of flowering Arabidopsis plants is all edible (the tiny exception being the stems, which are made of wire). It was incredibly life-like, down to green sugar-dust algae clinging to the icing pot and oreo-crumb soil. The plants even had roots! It was created for a Gifford group lab meeting by Warwick undergraduate Liam Walker and his sister Mairi, who posted this photo on Twitter and kindly let me share it here.


Kelsey Wood dresses up as our favourite model plant for Halloween.
Kelsey Wood dresses up as our favourite model plant for Halloween.

Next, we have this amazing Arabidopsis costume from Kelsey Wood, a PhD student from California. She made the botanically accurate flower from felt, wire and pipe cleaners. The photo is c/o Kelsey, via Twitter.


The cake for Jim Beynon and Vicky Buchanan-Wollaston's retirement
The cake for Jim Beynon and Vicky Buchanan-Wollaston’s retirement

Jim Beynon, Chair of Plant Systems Biology at the University of Warwick and current GARNet grant-holder, and Vicky Buchanan-Wollaston retired recently and this brilliant cake featured at his retirement party. They are both now Emeritus Professors working on various projects, so you’ll still see them around. The cake was made by Daisy Blue Bakehouse in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Photo c/o Lisa Martin via Twitter.


This gem is also from Jim and Vicky’s retirement party. It’s a poem about their careers, with some inspired rhymes and jokes about Arabidopsis and its stresses and pathogens. It was written and performed by Jim and Vicky’s son Tom Beynon and Katie Glover. Source for video: Jenny Beynon, YouTube.


GARNet cake 600

We might not make the best Arabidopsis cake (okay, we definitely don’t), but I like to think we at GARNet started the A-thal cake trend at our GARNet 2014 conference!


Honourable mentions

These cakes are wheat-themed, but in the spirit of bridging the gap between Arabidopsis research and crop science, we’re giving them an honourable mention.

Both the images below are c/o Nikolai Adamski via Twitter (1, 2).


Uauy wheat cakeNikolai Adamski, Philippa Borrill and Emilie Knight made this cake for Nick Bird, who left Cristobal Uauy‘s group at the John Innes Centre this week. I particularly like the options in the task manager – obviously wheat ‘omics is too much for Excel! Or perhaps Cristobal should consider sending his post-docs on a Software Carpentry Bootcamp?!


Wheat cakeNikolai, Philippa and Emilie were clearly trying to beat Nick’s own culinary creation in the Uauy group’s own Great British Bake-off – this incredible cake includes motifs representing field work, lab work and statistics.

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