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Rescooped by Norman Warthmann from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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Science: Losing Arable Land, China Faces Stark Choice: Adapt or Go Hungry

Science: Losing Arable Land, China Faces Stark Choice: Adapt or Go Hungry | my universe | Scoop.it

Must read article from Science.

"Across the globe, scientists and policy-makers are studying how climate change will affect agriculture. But in China, the question is especially urgent. The country has roughly 20% of the world's population but only 7% of its arable land—a share that is shrinking in the face of rapid urbanization"


Via Mary Williams
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23andMe Awarded $1.4M NIH Grant to Build out Database, Research Engine

23andMe Awarded $1.4M NIH Grant to Build out Database, Research Engine | my universe | Scoop.it
Norman Warthmann's insight:

Why would "23andMe" a private company and affiliated with the richest people on earth, the google founders, need public money?

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Fibre production drives deforestation in Indonesia

Fibre production drives deforestation in Indonesia | my universe | Scoop.it
Study debunks belief that palm-oil plantations are main culprit.
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ABC News: Canola virus wipes out crops in South Australia (2014)

ABC News: Canola virus wipes out crops in South Australia (2014) | my universe | Scoop.it

Scientists say an outbreak of beet western yellows virus is one of the worst cases ever seen in Australia.

 

Early estimates suggest up to 10,000 hectares of canola have been affected, in South Australia's lower north, mid north and lower mallee regions. The virus is transported by green peach aphids, which have thrived in the state's recent warm and humid weather. Ag consultant Mick Faulkner says agronomists felt like they'd been "blind-sided" after not being able to work out what had been affecting crops. "It took everyone a fair bit of time to realise that we weren't killing the aphids," Mr Faulkner said. "Green paddocks are now brown. "Those that have been affected, I have grave fears that they won't yield anything at all."

 

Virus halted for now - The South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) says it's now testing samples to confirm how the virus is spreading and where else it might turn up. Pulse pathologist Jenny Davidson says with cooler weather, the virus-transmitting aphids aren't moving and at the moment the best thing growers can do is "nothing", "We expect that the spread of this virus would've stopped for now, so there's no point people going out and spraying aphids now," she says. "It's also important growers ascertain it actually is the virus causing problems in their canola crops, there may be other things going on as well. "The potential risk is what these aphids will do in spring time. "We're not sure whether or not pulse crops are at risk but we'll have that information back well and truly before the spring time flights." Ms Davidson says the virus isn't uncommon, but what is unusual is the extent of damage and infection being seen. She says it's taken everyone by surprise. "I've never seen this level of damage from any virus in crops," Ms Davidson says. "It's the magnitude of what we're dealing with that is totally un-expected."


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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One injection stops diabetes in its tracks - Salk Institute - News Release

One injection stops diabetes in its tracks - Salk Institute - News Release | my universe | Scoop.it
One injection stops diabetes in its tracks
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U.S. researchers call for greater oversight of powerful genetic technology

U.S. researchers call for greater oversight of powerful genetic technology | my universe | Scoop.it
New technique promises to speed the engineering of antimalaria mosquitoes and the manipulation of other wild populations
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“Gene Drives” and CRISPR Could Revolutionize Ecosystem Management | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network

“Gene Drives” and CRISPR Could Revolutionize Ecosystem Management | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network | my universe | Scoop.it
A note from the authors: With this guest blog post we want to share the key features of an innovative method for the high-precision genome editing ...
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Journals weigh up double-blind peer review

Journals weigh up double-blind peer review | my universe | Scoop.it
Anonymity of authors as well as reviewers could level field for women and minorities in science.
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Fonio: the grain that would defeat quinoa as king among foodies

Fonio: the grain that would defeat quinoa as king among foodies | my universe | Scoop.it
A Senegalese restaurateur and former Iron Chef contestant wants to bring the West African grain to American consumers
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Climate science denier group must pay damages for frivolous lawsuit against UVA, scientist

Climate science denier group must pay damages for frivolous lawsuit against UVA, scientist | my universe | Scoop.it
The Virginia Supreme Court has ordered the American Tradition Institute to pay $250 to the University of Virginia and former professor Michael Mann for filing a lawsuit that sought his emails and othe
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Activation of the Arabidopsis thaliana Immune System by Combinations of Common ACD6 Alleles

Activation of the Arabidopsis thaliana Immune System by Combinations of Common ACD6 Alleles | my universe | Scoop.it
Author Summary Plants and their pathogens are engaged in an endless evolutionary battle. The invention of new strategies by pathogens pushes plants to continuously update their defenses. This in turn leads the pathogens to circumvent these new defenses, and so on. Given the abundance of potential enemies, it is therefore not surprising that genes involved in defense against pathogens are among the most variable in plants. A drawback of this extreme variation in pathogen-recognition mechanisms is that at times the plant mistakes itself for an enemy, leading to autonomous activation of defense responses in the absence of pathogens. Conventional models for this phenomenon, called hybrid necrosis, require the interaction between two different genes. Here we show instead that hybrid necrosis can be triggered by interactions between variants of a single gene, ACD6 (ACCELERATED CELL DEATH 6). Several of these variants are common in natural Arabidopsis thaliana populations and can interact to give different levels of activation of the immune system. Our results provide important information into the evolution and operation of the plant defense system. Moreover, the abundant presence of ACD6 functional variation suggests a major role for this gene in modulating plant defenses in nature.
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Parasitic wasp turns roaches into zombie slaves using neurotoxic cocktail | IFLScience

Parasitic wasp turns roaches into zombie slaves using neurotoxic cocktail | IFLScience | my universe | Scoop.it
For decades, scientists have tried to understand the complex and gruesome relationship between the parasitic emerald wasp Ampulex compressa and its much larger victim, the common household cockroach Periplaneta americana.
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Natural and human-mediated selection in a landrace of Thai rice (Oryza sativa) - Pusadee - 2014

Natural and human-mediated selection in a landrace of Thai rice (Oryza sativa) - Pusadee - 2014 | my universe | Scoop.it
Abstract

Landrace rice in Thailand consists of managed populations grown under traditional and long-standing agricultural practices. These populations evolve both in response to environmental conditions within the local agro-ecosystem and in response to human activities. Single landraces are grown across varying environments and recently have experienced temporal changes in local environments due to climate change. Here we assess the interplay between natural selection in a changing climate and human-mediated selection on the population genetic structure of Muey Nawng, a local landrace of Thai rice. Genetic diversity and population structure of landrace rice were assessed by a STRUCTURE analysis of 20 microsatellite loci. The first exon–intron junction of the waxy gene was sequenced to determine genotypes for glutinous or non-glutinous grain starch. Muey Nawng rice is genetically variable and is structured based on starch grain types and the level of resistance to gall midge pest. A strong positive correlation was found between genetic diversity and the percentage of gall midge infestation. Variation in the waxy locus is correlated with starch quality; selection for non-glutinous rice appears to involve additional genes. The dynamics of genetic diversity within Muey Nawng rice depends on three factors: (a) a genetic bottleneck caused by strong selection associated with gall midge infestation, (b) selection by local farmers for starch quality and (c) variation introduced by farmer practices for cultivation and seed exchange. These results, when taken in total, document the ability of landrace rice to quickly evolve in response to both natural and human-mediated selection.

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Our alarming food future, explained in 7 charts

Our alarming food future, explained in 7 charts | my universe | Scoop.it
The takeaway from a blockbuster climate report: As the temperature goes up, crop yields will go down.
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The End of Food - The New Yorker

The End of Food - The New Yorker | my universe | Scoop.it
In December of 2012, three young men were living in a claustrophobic apartment in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, working on a technology startup. They had received a hundred and seventy thousand dollars from the incubator Y Combinator, but their project—a plan to make inexpensive cell-phone towers—had failed. Down to their last seventy thousand dollars, they resolved to keep trying out new software ideas until they ran out of money. But how to make the funds last? Rent was a sunk cost. Since they were working frantically, they already had no social life. As they examined their budget, one big problem remained: food.
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Simultaneous editing of three homoeoalleles in hexaploid bread wheat confers heritable resistance to powdery mildew - Nature Biotech.

Simultaneous editing of three homoeoalleles in hexaploid bread wheat confers heritable resistance to powdery mildew - Nature Biotech. | my universe | Scoop.it

Wang et al, 2014

Sequence-specific nucleases have been applied to engineer targeted modifications in polyploid genomes1, but simultaneous modification of multiple homoeoalleles has not been reported. Here we use transcription activator–like effector nuclease (TALEN)2,3 and clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9 (refs. 4,5) technologies in hexaploid bread wheat to introduce targeted mutations in the three homoeoalleles that encode MILDEW- RESISTANCE LOCUS (MLO) proteins6. Genetic redundancy has prevented evaluation of whether mutation of all three MLO alleles in bread wheat might confer resistance to powdery mildew, a trait not found in natural populations7. We show that TALEN-induced mutation of all three TaMLO homoeologs in the same plant confers heritable broad-spectrum resistanceto powdery mildew. We further use CRISPR-Cas9 technologyto generate transgenic wheat plants that carry mutations inthe TaMLO-A1 allele. We also demonstrate the feasibility of engineering targeted DNA insertion in bread wheat through nonhomologous end joining of the double-strand breaks caused by TALENs. Our findings provide a methodological framework to improve polyploid crops.


Via dromius
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Fesquet didier's curator insight, July 22, 2:22 AM

this open the way for developping non toxic wheat species...good for celiac people...maybe one day...hopes for a slice of pizza :-)

 

Mary Williams's curator insight, Today, 3:33 AM

I'm trying to catch up with what I missed while traveling. I think this is one of the more exciting papers that came out in the past few weeks, and I'm a bit surprised that it didn't get more press coverage.

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“Gene Drives” and CRISPR Could Revolutionize Ecosystem Management | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network

“Gene Drives” and CRISPR Could Revolutionize Ecosystem Management | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network | my universe | Scoop.it
A note from the authors: With this guest blog post we want to share the key features of an innovative method for the high-precision genome editing ...
Norman Warthmann's insight:

and here is 2 more papers on the gene drive technology:

http://elifesciences.org/content/early/2014/07/17/eLife.03401

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2014/07/16/science.1254287.full

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The World is Drowning in Corn | Big Picture Agriculture

The World is Drowning in Corn | Big Picture Agriculture | my universe | Scoop.it
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Powerful Genetic Engineering Technique Could Modify Entire Wild Populations — NOVA Next | PBS

Powerful Genetic Engineering Technique Could Modify Entire Wild Populations — NOVA Next | PBS | my universe | Scoop.it
By combining two techniques—CRISPR and gene drives—scientists are proposing a system that could change nearly any sexually reproducing species anywhere.
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Leverage points for improving global food security and the environment

Achieving sustainable global food security is one of humanity’s contemporary challenges. Here we present an analysis identifying key “global leverage points” that offer the best opportunities to improve both global food security and environmental sustainability. We find that a relatively small set of places and actions could provide enough new calories to meet the basic needs for more than 3 billion people, address many environmental impacts with global consequences, and focus food waste reduction on the commodities with the greatest impact on food security. These leverage points in the global food system can help guide how nongovernmental organizations, foundations, governments, citizens’ groups, and businesses prioritize actions.

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Earth Just Finished Its Warmest Quarter-Year Ever

Earth Just Finished Its Warmest Quarter-Year Ever | my universe | Scoop.it
New data released Monday shows humanity has just unlocked another achievement in the race to cook the planet: The last three months were collectively the warmest ever experienced since record-keeping began in the late 1800s. The Japan Meteorological Agency said June 2014 was the warmest June globally since at least...
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What's the Next Quinoa? Farmers, Foodies Revive Heritage Grains

What's the Next Quinoa? Farmers, Foodies Revive Heritage Grains | my universe | Scoop.it
Ancient grains and "orphan crops" like fonio and amaranth have advantages for farmers and consumers.
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Evolution of Sexes from an Ancestral Mating-Type Specification Pathway

Evolution of Sexes from an Ancestral Mating-Type Specification Pathway | my universe | Scoop.it
Author Summary

Sexual differentiation in eukaryotes is manifested in two fundamentally different ways. Unicellular species may have mating types where gametes are morphologically identical but can only mate with those expressing a different mating type than their own, while multicellular species such as plants and animals have male and female sexes or separate reproductive structures that produce sperm and eggs. The relationship between mating types and sexes and whether or how an ancestral mating-type system could have evolved into a sexually dimorphic system are unknown. In this study we investigated sex determination in the multicellular green alga Volvox carteri, a species with genetic sex determination; we established the relationship of V. carteri sexes to the mating types of its unicellular relative,Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Theoretical work has suggested that sexual dimorphism could be acquired by linkage of gamete size-regulatory genes to an ancestral mating-type locus. Instead, we found that a single ancestral mating locus gene, MID, evolved from its role in determining mating type in C. reinhardtii to determine either spermatogenesis or oogenesis inV. carteri. Our findings establish genetic and evolutionary continuity between the mating-type specification and sex determination pathways of unicellular and multicellular volvocine algae, and will enable a greater understanding of how a transcriptional regulator, MID, acquired control over a complex developmental pathway.

 

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Fujitsu Lettuce? In Japan, idled electronics factories find new life in farming

Fujitsu Lettuce? In Japan, idled electronics factories find new life in farming | my universe | Scoop.it
Struggling to compete with rivals in South Korea or China in businesses like televisions and smartphones, a range of Japanese electronics giants are converting idled factories to agriculture.
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This Exercise App Tracks Trends on How We Move In Different Cities

This Exercise App Tracks Trends on How We Move In Different Cities | my universe | Scoop.it
The developers of Human have complied user data into stunning visualizations that show how and where we get around.
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3D printer constructs 10 buildings in one day from recycled materials

3D printer constructs 10 buildings in one day from recycled materials | my universe | Scoop.it
While not the first to use additive manufacturing to create buildings, a Chinese company is using 3D printing technology to build cheap housing out of recycled material at a rate of up to 10 structures in 24 hours.
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