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A new stem nematode associated with peanut pod rot in China: morphological and molecular characterization of Ditylenchus arachis n. sp. (Nematoda: Anguinidae)

A new stem nematode associated with peanut pod rot in China: morphological and molecular characterization of Ditylenchus arachis n. sp. (Nematoda: Anguinidae) | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
Surveys conducted in peanut production areas of China revealed peanut pod rot in several fields in Shandong and Hebei Provinces, China. A large quantity of an unknown stem nematode was isolated from the hulls and seeds of peanuts, herein described as Ditylenchus arachis n. sp. The new species is characterized by a combination of the following features: lateral lip sectors distinctly projected, stylet delicate, 8.4-10 μm in length, six lines in the lateral field, tail elongate-conoid, bursa covering about 68-86% of tail length. Pathogenicity tests showed that D. arachis n. sp. could infect peanut (Arachis hypogaea), but not sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) or potato (Solanum tuberosum). Morphologically, D. arachis n. sp. appears closest to D. africanus, D. myceliophagus and D. destructor, but can be differentiated based upon a combination of morphological characteristics, host preference and molecular sequence data. The results of the phylogenetic analysis based on the D2D3 expansion region of LSU rDNA (28S), SSU rDNA (18S) and the ITS1-5.8-ITS2 region confirmed its status as new species. A sister relation with D. destructor was appointed, rather than with its ecologically very similar congener D. africanus.
Via Christophe Jacquet
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Mars rover goes after carbon clues

Mars rover goes after carbon clues | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“Nasa's Curiosity rover is modifying its exploration strategy to try to find evidence of the carbon chemistry that might inform the question of ancient life on Mars.”
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Le lieu le plus froid de la Terre découvert en Antarctique

Le lieu le plus froid de la Terre découvert en Antarctique | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“Une nuit à - 92 °C, voilà ce que pourrait expérimenter l'intrépide voyageur qui se risquerait entre les dômes Argus et Fuji, dans l'est de l'Antarctique.”
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Dinosaur impact 'sent life to Mars'

Dinosaur impact 'sent life to Mars' | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs may have catapulted life from Earth to Mars and Jupiter's moon Europa, researchers say.”
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Conjecture des nombres premiers jumeaux : l'étau se resserre

Conjecture des nombres premiers jumeaux : l'étau se resserre | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“En mai 2013, l'existence d'une infinité de nombres premiers séparés par un intervalle fixe avait été établie. Ce résultat a déclenché un projet collaboratif, qui a permis d'abaisser cette borne à 600.”
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Un scandaleux marché noir de la science en Chine

Un scandaleux marché noir de la science en Chine | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“Selon une enquête de la revue Science, il est possible d'acheter la possibilité de voir son nom accolé à des études scientifiques réélles ou bidonnées contre quelques milliers de yuans.”
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La Chine lance son premier véhicule d'exploration de la Lune

La Chine lance son premier véhicule d'exploration de la Lune | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“La Chine a franchi lundi une étape importante dans son ambitieuse conquête spatiale en lançant une fusée embarquant vers la Lune un véhicule d'exploration téléguidé, le « Lapin de jade ».”
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Men and women 'wired differently'

Men and women 'wired differently' | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“Men and women's brains are wired in completely different ways which may explain why the sexes excel at certain tasks, brain scans reveal.”
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Neurobiologists investigate neuronal basis intelligence in birds

Neurobiologists investigate neuronal basis intelligence in birds | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“ Scientists have long suspected that corvids – the family of birds including ravens, crows and magpies – are highly intelligent.” The Tübingen researchers are the first to investigate the brain physiology of crows' intelligent behavior. They trained crows to carry out memory tests on a computer. The crows were shown an image and had to remember it. Shortly afterwards, they had to select one of two test images on a touchscreen with their beaks based on a switching behavioral rules. One of the test images was identical to the first image, the other different. Sometimes the rule of the game was to select the same image, and sometimes it was to select the different one. The crows were able to carry out both tasks and to switch between them as appropriate. That demonstrates a high level of concentration and mental flexibility which few animal species can manage – and which is an effort even for humans. The crows were quickly able to carry out these tasks even when given new sets of images. The researchers observed neuronal activity in the nidopallium caudolaterale, a brain region associated with the highest levels of cognition in birds. One group of nerve cells responded exclusively when the crows had to choose the same image – while another group of cells always responded when they were operating on the "different image" rule. By observing this cell activity, the researchers were often able to predict which rule the crow was following even before it made its choice. The study published in Nature Communications provides valuable insights into the parallel evolution of intelligent behavior. "Many functions are realized differently in birds because a long evolutionary history separates us from these direct descendants of the dinosaurs," says Lena Veit. "This means that bird brains can show us an alternative solution out of how intelligent behavior is produced with a different anatomy." Crows and primates have different brains, but the cells regulating decision-making are very similar. They represent a general principle which has re-emerged throughout the history of evolution. "Just as we can draw valid conclusions on aerodynamics from a comparison of the very differently constructed wings of birds and bats, here we are able to draw conclusions about how the brain works by investigating the functional similarities and differences of the relevant brain areas in avian and mammalian brains," says Professor Andreas Nieder.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Current Biology - Will our civilisation survive this century?

Current Biology - Will our civilisation survive this century? | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
Ruins remind us that complex and sophisticated civilisations have collapsed in the past. Could over-exploitation of natural resources, climate change, and/or hi-tech conflict lead to a dramatic decline of ours? And, if so, can we avert this fate? Michael Gross reports. Main TextIn 100 AD, the Roman emperor Trajan founded a new colony in Northern Africa, which he called colonia Marciana Traiana Thamugadi or Thamugadi for short. Planned to cover a surface of 12 hectares with its strictly rectangular grid of streets, the new town was located on a gentle slope with fertile soils and ample sources of freshwater. Its theatre measured 63 metres in diameter and could seat 3,500 people. It was settled by veterans of the Roman army as part of the expansion of the Roman Empire. What could have been just another milestone of Roman expansion now looks more like a turning point or a last fanfare for their world domination. Thamugadi was to be the last outpost built in Africa for Roman settlers, and the territorial spread of their empire reached its peak by Trajan’s death in 117 AD. Thamugadi grew and thrived for three centuries, but in the early 5th century, as the power of the Western Roman Empire waned and the Vandals conquered the area, its sunny days were over. A few conquests and reconquests later, the place was reduced to a military outpost of the Byzantine Empire. Its soldiers looted the derelict buildings for materials to build a fort next to the abandoned town. By the 18th century, when the Scottish explorer James Bruce saw the ruins and made drawings, only the tallest surviving structures, including Trajan’s Arch, were still partially above ground. Systematic archaeological excavations starting in 1880 uncovered the largest and best conserved example of a Roman city built on a grid plan. The site located in the Northeast of Algeria is now known as Timgad. It became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1982. With its ruins stretching over 50 hectares and only very few traces of modern life nearby, Timgad is a perfect place to reflect on the mortality of human civilisations. How can a thriving city just disappear from the surface of the Earth? Could our civilisation go the way of the Roman Empire and, if so, is the end nigh? Can an enlightened society recognise and avert its own decline?...
Via Christophe Jacquet
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Bahamas Vacation Spots Are Also Home To Swimming Pigs

Bahamas Vacation Spots Are Also Home To Swimming Pigs | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“ There are many beautiful Bahamas vacation spots and one of these stunning islands has a population that surprises most - swimming pigs.”
Via Chris Hughes
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Le terroir microbien du vin

Le terroir microbien du vin | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“Les vignes sont peuplées de micro-organismes spécifiques géographiquement qui participent aux qualités du vin.”
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China to send 'Jade Rabbit' to Moon

China to send 'Jade Rabbit' to Moon | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“Chinese officials say they intend to land the country's first unmanned probe, named Jade Rabbit, on the Moon next month.”
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Effectors of animal and plant pathogens use a common domain to bind host phosphoinositides : Nature Communications : Nature Publishing Group

Effectors of animal and plant pathogens use a common domain to bind host phosphoinositides : Nature Communications : Nature Publishing Group | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
Bacterial Type III Secretion Systems deliver effectors into host cells to manipulate cellular processes to the advantage of the pathogen. Many host targets of these effectors are found on membranes. Therefore, to identify their targets, effectors often use specialized membrane-localization domains to localize to appropriate host membranes. However, the molecular mechanisms used by many domains are unknown. Here we identify a conserved bacterial phosphoinositide-binding domain (BPD) that is found in functionally diverse Type III effectors of both plant and animal pathogens. We show that members of the BPD family functionally bind phosphoinositides and mediate localization to host membranes. Moreover, NMR studies reveal that the BPD of the newly identified Vibrio parahaemolyticus Type III effector VopR is unfolded in solution, but folds into a specific structure upon binding its ligand phosphatidylinositol-(4,5)-bisphosphate. Thus, our findings suggest a possible mechanism for promoting refolding of Type III effectors after delivery into host cells.
Via Suayib Üstün, Christophe Jacquet
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Des bananes en lutte contre les parasites

Des bananes en lutte contre les parasites | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“Certaines variétés de bananes produisent un nématicide efficace et luttent ainsi naturellement contre un ver ravageur. Les parasites sont un problème majeur pour les cultures de bananes.”
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First private Mars mission revealed

First private Mars mission revealed | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“The first private mission to Mars will feature a TV satellite and a robot lander carrying experiments designed by school students.”
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Shark, Human Proteins are Surprisingly Similar - Scientific Computing

Shark, Human Proteins are Surprisingly Similar - Scientific Computing | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“ Scientific Computing Shark, Human Proteins are Surprisingly Similar Scientific Computing Researchers have discovered that many of the endangered great white shark's proteins involved in an array of different functions — including metabolism — match...”
Via Gaye Rosier
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Indian probe begins journey to Mars

Indian probe begins journey to Mars | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“India's mission to Mars has embarked on its 300-day journey to the Red Planet, performing a crucial manoeuvre to leave Earth's orbit.”
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China launches Moon rover mission

China launches Moon rover mission | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“China launches its first lunar rover mission - named Jade Rabbit - the next key step in the Asian superpower's ambitious space programme.”
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Male pill keeps sperm 'in storage'

Male pill keeps sperm 'in storage' | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“The prospect of a "male pill" that would let men enjoy a full sex life with no chance of getting a woman pregnant has moved a step closer.”
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High-density genome-wide association mapping implicates an F-box encoding gene in Medicago truncatula resistance to Aphanomyces euteiches - 2013 - New Phytologist -

High-density genome-wide association mapping implicates an F-box encoding gene in Medicago truncatula resistance to Aphanomyces euteiches -  2013 - New Phytologist - | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
The use of quantitative disease resistance (QDR) is a promising strategy for promoting durable resistance to plant pathogens, but genes involved in QDR are largely unknown. To identify genetic components and accelerate improvement of QDR in legumes to the root pathogen Aphanomyces euteiches, we took advantage of both the recently generated massive genomic data for Medicago truncatula and natural variation of this model legume.A high-density (≈5.1 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)) genome-wide association study (GWAS) was performed with both in vitro and glasshouse phenotyping data collected for 179 lines. GWAS identified several candidate genes and pinpointed two independent major loci on the top of chromosome 3 that were detected in both phenotyping methods. Candidate SNPs in the most significant locus ( = 23%) were in the promoter and coding regions of an F-box protein coding gene. Subsequent qRT-PCR and bioinformatic analyses performed on 20 lines demonstrated that resistance is associated with mutations directly affecting the interaction domain of the F-box protein rather than gene expression.These results refine the position of previously identified QTL to specific candidate genes, suggest potential molecular mechanisms, and identify new loci explaining QDR against A. euteiches.
Via Christophe Jacquet
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A Two-Hybrid-Receptor Assay Demonstrates Heteromer Formation as Switch-On for Plant Immune Receptors

A Two-Hybrid-Receptor Assay Demonstrates Heteromer Formation as Switch-On for Plant Immune Receptors | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
Receptor kinases sense extracellular signals and trigger intracellular signaling and physiological responses. However, how does signal binding to the extracellular domain activate the cytoplasmic kinase domain? Activation of the plant immunoreceptor Flagellin sensing2 (FLS2) by its bacterial ligand flagellin or the peptide-epitope flg22 coincides with rapid complex formation with a second receptor kinase termed brassinosteroid receptor1 associated kinase1 (BAK1). Here, we show that the receptor pair of FLS2 and BAK1 is also functional when the roles of the complex partners are reversed by swapping their cytosolic domains. This reciprocal constellation prevents interference by redundant partners that can partially substitute for BAK1 and demonstrates that formation of the heteromeric complex is the molecular switch for transmembrane signaling. A similar approach with swaps between the Elongation factor-Tu receptor and BAK1 also resulted in a functional receptor/coreceptor pair, suggesting that a “two-hybrid-receptor assay” is of more general use for studying heteromeric receptor complexes.
Via Christophe Jacquet
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Riz : découverte d'un gène dopant les rendements - La France Agricole

Des chercheurs ont isolé un gène du riz agissant comme un puissant engrais susceptible d'accroître les rendements de plus de 35 % », a annoncé le 3 décembre l'Institut international de recherches sur le riz (IRRI), basé aux Philippines. Des essais préliminaires ont fait la démonstration des vertus fertilisantes de SPIKE sur le riz indica, une sous-espèce du riz asiatique (Oryza sativa L.), la plus communément cultivée (90 % de la production mondiale), avec une hausse des rendements constatée de 13 à 36 %. « Nous pensons que ces découvertes contribueront à assurer la sécurité alimentaire dans les pays d'Asie une fois que les nouvelles variétés seront commercialisées », a-t-il dit. Il est pour le moment impossible de fixer une échéance pour cela, a souligné une porte-parole de l'institut, Gladys Ebron. Le gène SPIKE a été isolé en Indonésie par un Japonais, Nobuya Kobayashi, lors de recherches sur l'autre espèce commune de riz asiatique, dite japonica. Les chercheurs de l'IRRI se sont ensuite attachés à introduire le gène dans des variétés d'« indica », sans modification génétique du grain. « Il s'agit de culture conventionnelle », a assuré Gladys Ebron. L'enjeu est de taille puisque trois milliards d'êtres humains dépendent du riz, la troisième céréale la plus cultivée au monde, pour leur subsistance. Or, aujourd'hui, les 155 millions d'hectares de rizières cultivées dans le monde, essentiellement en zone intertropicale, produisent environ 720 millions de tonnes de riz par an, avec des rendements qui ne progressent quasiment plus. Or le resserrement de l'offre et de la demande risque de peser sur les cours et de rendre le riz inaccessible à des centaines de millions de pauvres en Asie notamment. Pour maintenir la tonne à 300 dollars, l'IRRI estime qu'il faut développer la production de 8 à 10 millions de tonnes chaque année En savoir plus sur http://www.lafranceagricole.fr/actualite-agricole/riz-decouverte-d-un-gene-dopant-les-rendements-80986.html#upLZSXBKckvulLXi.99Des chercheurs ont isolé un gène du riz agissant comme un puissant engrais susceptible d'accroître les rendements de plus de 35 % », a annoncé le 3 décembre l'Institut international de recherches sur le riz (IRRI), basé aux Philippines. Des essais préliminaires ont fait la démonstration des vertus fertilisantes de SPIKE sur le riz indica, une sous-espèce du riz asiatique (Oryza sativa L.), la plus communément cultivée (90 % de la production mondiale), avec une hausse des rendements constatée de 13 à 36 %. « Nous pensons que ces découvertes contribueront à assurer la sécurité alimentaire dans les pays d'Asie une fois que les nouvelles variétés seront commercialisées », a-t-il dit. Il est pour le moment impossible de fixer une échéance pour cela, a souligné une porte-parole de l'institut, Gladys Ebron. Le gène SPIKE a été isolé en Indonésie par un Japonais, Nobuya Kobayashi, lors de recherches sur l'autre espèce commune de riz asiatique, dite japonica. Les chercheurs de l'IRRI se sont ensuite attachés à introduire le gène dans des variétés d'« indica », sans modification génétique du grain. « Il s'agit de culture conventionnelle », a assuré Gladys Ebron. L'enjeu est de taille puisque trois milliards d'êtres humains dépendent du riz, la troisième céréale la plus cultivée au monde, pour leur subsistance. Or, aujourd'hui, les 155 millions d'hectares de rizières cultivées dans le monde, essentiellement en zone intertropicale, produisent environ 720 millions de tonnes de riz par an, avec des rendements qui ne progressent quasiment plus. Or le resserrement de l'offre et de la demande risque de peser sur les cours et de rendre le riz inaccessible à des centaines de millions de pauvres en Asie notamment. Pour maintenir la tonne à 300 dollars, l'IRRI estime qu'il faut développer la production de 8 à 10 millions de tonnes chaque année
Via Christophe Jacquet
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Curiosity : 100 000e tir pour ChemCam

Curiosity : 100 000e tir pour ChemCam | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“Le spectromètre par ablation laser ChemCam du rover Curiosity a réalisé plus de 100 000 tirs depuis le début de la mission en août 2012. De quoi lever le voile sur le passé géologique de Mars.”
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Large study shows pollution impact on coral reefs -- and offers solution

Large study shows pollution impact on coral reefs -- and offers solution | Nature : beauty, beasts and curiosities... | Scoop.it
“(Oregon State University) One of the largest and longest experiments ever done to test the impact of nutrient loading on coral reefs today confirmed what scientists have long suspected -- that this type of pollution from sewage, agricultural...”
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