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TED Playlist: 9 talks that give a new view of nature

TED Playlist: 9 talks that give a new view of nature | my universe | Scoop.it

talks:

 

Gary Greenberg: Seeing the world from a unique point of view

Louie Schwartzberg: Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.

Frans Lanting: The story of life in photographs

Edward Burtynsky: the landscape of oil

Nick Veasey: Exposing the invisible

Karen Bass: Unseen footage, untamed nature

Reuben Margolin: Sculpting waves in wood and time

Camille Seaman: Haunting photos of polar ice

Louie Schwartzberg: The hidden beauty of pollination

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Improved genome inference in the MHC using a population reference graph : Nature Genetics : Nature Publishing Group

Improved genome inference in the MHC using a population reference graph : Nature Genetics : Nature Publishing Group | my universe | Scoop.it
Gil McVean, Alexander Dilthey and colleagues present a graphical model-based method for accurate genomic assembly that uses the diversity present in multiple reference sequences, as represented by a population reference graph. The method is applied to simulated and empirical data from the human MHC region to demonstrate the improved accuracy of genomic inference.
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Genomic breeding for food, environment and livelihoods - Rivers &al (2015) - Food Sec

Genomic breeding for food, environment and livelihoods - Rivers &al (2015) - Food Sec | my universe | Scoop.it

Land use management is a central challenge for the 21st century with unprecedented and competing demands to produce food, feed/fodder, fibre, fuel, and essential ecosystem services which sustain life. Global change requires rapid adaptation in current and emerging crops as well as in the foundation species of natural ecosystems.

 

Revolutions in genomics and high throughput experimentation are transforming breeding so that adaptive traits in new environments can be predicted and selected more directly from germplasm collections of crops and wild species. This genomic breeding is now feasible in almost any species and has promise to help meet the need to feed and nourish over 9 billion people by 2050.

 

Genomic techniques can accelerate our response to food security challenges of yield, quality and resilience and also address environmental security challenges. To achieve its potential there will need to be widespread and ongoing investments in the human capital to promote genomic breeding... 

 

Advanced plant science and genomics have revolutionised breeding and crop improvement, and will continue to do so. Innovation in collecting genotypes, phenotypes, and intermediate characteristics, is allowing new crop varieties to be selected faster and more accurately than ever before.

 

With genomic techniques researchers can help address food security challenges of yield, quality, resilience, and other environmental and social needs. Investing in the human capital to perform genomic breeding is needed to improve food security, environments and livelihoods.

 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12571-015-0431-3

 


Via Alexander J. Stein
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It Takes a Party

It Takes a Party | my universe | Scoop.it

How did the parties get this far apart? Political scientists suggest that it has a lot to do with income inequality.....

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Krugman on why, for the upcoming US elections, the candidate does not matter

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The World’s Most Lucrative Crops | Big Picture Agriculture

The World’s Most Lucrative Crops | Big Picture Agriculture | my universe | Scoop.it
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No turnover in lens lipids for the entire human lifespan

No turnover in lens lipids for the entire human lifespan | my universe | Scoop.it
The carbon in lens membrane lipids correlates to the year of birth of an individual, a phenomenon that is unprecedented in the current body of literature.
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Australia is in one of the worst housing bubbles we have ever seen

Australia is in one of the worst housing bubbles we have ever seen | my universe | Scoop.it
COMMENT: Housing prices and mortgage debt have significantly outpaced economic fundamentals for almost two decades.
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Heinz And Kraft: Before They Were Food Giants, They Were Men

Heinz And Kraft: Before They Were Food Giants, They Were Men | my universe | Scoop.it
Henry Heinz was big into pickles before ketchup came along. James Kraft gave the world American cheese. (Ironically, he was Canadian.) Now, two companies that revamped how we eat will become one.
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Paris 2015 climate summit: countries' targets beyond 2020

Paris 2015 climate summit: countries' targets beyond 2020 | my universe | Scoop.it
In the lead up to climate meetings in Paris at the end of the year, countries will release draft targets - the framework of a possible global climate deal. Follow our interactive map as we track these targets.
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BioTechniques - The Epigenetics of Exercise

BioTechniques - The Epigenetics of Exercise | my universe | Scoop.it
Exercise is good for our health, improving everything from metabolism to lung capacity. But what brings about these changes on a molecular level? Find out...
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Peak food? Can food tech supercharge crop yields and address global food security?

Peak food? Can food tech supercharge crop yields and address global food security? | my universe | Scoop.it
Globally, humanity has reached “peak food,” according to a recent study by Ecology and Society. Peak rice was back in 1988, causing some worry about the long-term food security of this global staple crop. Peak chicken was in 2006. Peak milk and wheat were in 2004.

Via CIMMYT, Int.
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Do TV Cooking Shows Make Us Fat?

Do TV Cooking Shows Make Us Fat? | my universe | Scoop.it
Women who cooked the meals they saw prepared on television weighed more, on average, than those who simply watched, a study shows. The findings challenge the notion that home cooking is always best.

Via Cathryn Wellner
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Cathryn Wellner's curator insight, March 19, 2:06 PM

Interesting proposition, but the link is pretty tenuous.

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France decrees new rooftops must be covered in plants or solar panels

France decrees new rooftops must be covered in plants or solar panels | my universe | Scoop.it
All new buildings in commercial zones across the country must comply with new environmental legislation
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Death of British journalist after eating organic peanuts highlights absurdity of GMO safety scare | Genetic Literacy Project

Death of British journalist after eating organic peanuts highlights absurdity of GMO safety scare | Genetic Literacy Project | my universe | Scoop.it
Death of British journalist after eating organic peanuts highlights absurdity of GMO safety scare | Isaac Ongu | March 18, 2015 | Genetic Literacy Project
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Resistance to antibiotics found in isolated Amazonian tribe

Resistance to antibiotics found in isolated Amazonian tribe | my universe | Scoop.it
Villagers evolved antibiotic resistance without being exposed to Western medicine
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Study suggests STEM faculty hiring favors women over men | InsideHigherEd

Study suggests STEM faculty hiring favors women over men | InsideHigherEd | my universe | Scoop.it

Many studies suggest that women scientists aspiring to careers in academe face roadblocks, including bias -- implicit or overt -- in hiring. But a new study is throwing a curveball into the literature, suggesting that women candidates are favored 2 to 1 over men for tenure-track positions in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. Could it be that STEM gender diversity and bias awareness efforts are working, or even creating a preference for female candidates -- or is something more nuanced going on? Experts say it’s probably both....

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Cannabis smokers warned they risk poorer exam grades

Cannabis smokers warned they risk poorer exam grades | my universe | Scoop.it
Dutch study finds mathematics results suffer most from dope consumption – findings sure to fuel debate over steps towards legalisation
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A new website shows how global warming could change your town

A new website shows how global warming could change your town | my universe | Scoop.it
Melbourne to Adelaide, Sydney to Brisbane: climate change could move the climate of Australia's towns and cities, as revealed by a new website.
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Is Climate Change Causing the Seasons to Change? Citizen Science Helps Find Out

Is Climate Change Causing the Seasons to Change? Citizen Science Helps Find Out | my universe | Scoop.it
In 1998 Tim Sparks, a research biologist at Britain’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Cambridge started a pilot project designed to record the first blush of spring.
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Learning to See Data - NYTimes.com

FOR the past year or so genetic scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York have been collaborating with a specialist from another universe: Daniel Kohn, a Brooklyn-based painter and conceptual artist. 
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One thousand genes you could live without

One thousand genes you could live without | my universe | Scoop.it
First study of a nation’s genomes reveals intriguing insights into Icelandic people
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United Nations urged to ensure open plant genomes

United Nations urged to ensure open plant genomes | my universe | Scoop.it
A plant scientist from The Australian National University (ANU) has called for the United Nations to guarantee free and open access to plant DNA sequences to enable scientists to continue work to sustainably intensify world food production. Dr Norman Warthmann, a plant geneticist at the ANU Research School of Biology, has lodged a submission with the UN, which is currently considering issues to include in its 2015 Global Sustainable Development Report.
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Aspiring to something magnificent with science in Australia

Aspiring to something magnificent with science in Australia | my universe | Scoop.it
Science matters and is important for Australia's future but there is evidence mounting that we are falling behind the rest of the world.
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Scientists Seek Ban on Method of Editing the Human Genome

Scientists Seek Ban on Method of Editing the Human Genome | my universe | Scoop.it
A group of biologists, including the scientist who developed the technique, has called for a worldwide moratorium on using the method to change human DNA.
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Can GMOs Save Chocolate? – National Geographic (2015)

Can GMOs Save Chocolate? – National Geographic (2015) | my universe | Scoop.it

GMOs may be able to save chocolate. The bigger question is whether we want them to. Chocolate... is in trouble. The average American eats about 12 pounds of chocolate a year... But all that indulgence may be coming to an end. A chocolate shortage, to the tune of one million metric tons, is predicted to hit within the next five years, the result of climate change, disease, and the demands of rapidly growing populations of chocolate lovers in China and India.


The Nature Conservation Research Center based in Ghana – the world’s second-largest producer of chocolate after the Ivory Coast – predicts glumly that within the next 20 years, chocolate will be as rare and as expensive as caviar.

Chocolate comes from the seeds of the cacao tree, borne in football-sized pods that sprout directly out of the trunk. Dubbed... “food of the gods,” cacao is just what one might expect from an ancient, double-dealing deity: a delicious and addictive treat paired with a plant that is tricky, if not downright impossible, to grow. Cacao, believed to have originated in the steamy Amazon rainforest, is reluctant to adapt to conditions other than those of home: it now only grows in a belt 20 degrees north or south of the Equator...

Along with its geographical limitations, cacao is stunningly susceptible to disease – notably to witches’ broom, a fungus that wiped out the cacao trees of Ecuador in the 1920s, and devastated the chocolate plantations of Brazil... in a ten-year period... Worldwide today, cacao farmers lose an annual $750 million to disease.

Cacao trees are also painfully slow growers. It can take up to five years for a tree to produce fruit, and as long as ten before it becomes clear that the tree has desirable traits such as disease resistance or ultra-flavorful seeds... The conventional breeding process, given cacao’s tortoise-like growth rate, won’t be easy.

Conventional cacao breeding is also unpredictable. Take, for example, CCN-51... this is the cacao variety now generally acknowledged to be the world’s best bet to stave off chocolate disaster... is sturdy, disease-resistant, and prolific, producing four to ten times the yield of run-of-the-mill cacao trees. The bad news, however, is that its seeds taste lousy... Critics compare it to rusty nails, vinegar, wood shavings, and “acidic dirt.”

Despite the drawbacks, however, some large chocolate manufacturers have come around to CNN-51. About 95 percent of chocolate is made from “bulk beans,” generally inferior stuff which is heavily processed and beefed up with sugar and added flavors, such as vanilla. For such purposes, CNN-51 is just fine; and the belief is that most consumers won’t notice a difference.

For artisanal chocolate makers, however, who depend on delectable flavor beans for their high-end products, it’s a different story. “Artisan chocolate... is like a good bottle of wine,” carefully blended by master chocolatiers to contain just the right bouquet of flavor notes... These people aren’t likely to adopt a bean, no matter how prolific, that smacks of acidic dirt.

It may be time to turn to genetic engineering. The genome of the cacao plant has been sequenced as of 2011... From among chocolate’s approximately 30,000 genes (that is, about 10,000 more than us), scientists have identified gene sequences that govern disease resistance and direct the production of helpful metabolites and flavor components... 


Some researchers point out that creating an ideal GMO chocolate isn’t going to be easy. Chocolate is a mind-bogglingly complex food, containing some 600 different flavor components. (Even red wine boasts a mere 200.) Cobbling together the right mix of flavors – along with disease-resistance, a rapid growth rate, and high productivity – may prove to be an heroic task. Still, given increasing world demand and the cacao tree’s environmentally dicey future, it may be our best chance to save chocolate as we all know and love it. 

 

http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/18/can-gmos-save-chocolate/

 


Via Alexander J. Stein
Norman Warthmann's insight:

maybe a chocolate shortage is a good thing ?! however, probably the best bet is to grow the plants outside the native range of the pathogen.

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Zohair Ahmed's curator insight, March 22, 3:54 PM

Chocolate has been enjoyed by many Americans and Europeans, but as more and more chocolate lovers are born (China and India) the delicacy becomes more sparce. Chocolate is in trouble, the cacao trees which produces the cocoa needed for chocolate is a very hard plant to grow, and has many diseases attacking it. The trees are extremely hard to grow, and also bear fruit in 5 years, sometimes even 10! The cocoa conventional cacao tree breading is also unpredictable, and has been criticized as lousy or a nasty taste. This makes many people turn to GMO's as a solution. GMO'S would help make then resistant to the diseases and insects, but there is an overwhelming opposition to the solution of GMO'S. GMO's are a major topic of Unit 5.

ChocoFinder's curator insight, March 31, 8:31 AM

#chocolate #chocolateshortage #GMOs