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Science News Fumbles via WIRED

Science News Fumbles via WIRED | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

I spent much of the day working on an article about what students can learn from the Seralini GMO-fed rat study. Beyond science, this controversial paper says a lot about the interactions between scientists, journals and the media. Here's an informative article from "The Conversation" that looks at the newsmedia aspect of the controversy : https://theconversation.edu.au/modifying-the-message-how-tricks-masked-home-truths-about-anti-gm-science-9767.

 

You don't have to look far for more examples of poor, erroneous or just mistaken science being heavily promoted to the public through a sometimes over-eager press.... think about XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome for example, or the "arsenic life" story.

 

I particularly liked this post from WIRED in which Brian Switek talks about how the media blundered in covering a press release on a new theory about how pterosaurs lift off. He concludes by pointing out the deficiencies in the current system through which press release ---> news story, and how science is damaged by inadequacies in much of science journalism. Because much of what the public understands about science is filtered through the media, these organizations and individuals hold a lot of power, and you know what Stan Lee said about that.... (http://marvel.com/images/gallery/issue/38087/images_from_spider-man_with_great_power_comes_great_responsibility_2010_4/image/866272).

 

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Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
Hooks and hot topics for university teachers and students
Curated by Mary Williams
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Why start from scratch when you can recycle and adapt?

Why start from scratch when you can recycle and adapt? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Leaf development is such a fascinating topic, because it reveals the molecular processes the are involved in pattern formation. Interestingly, several genes and small molecules (e.g., auxin) are used repeatedly during the initiation and elaboration of leaves. A pair of papers out in Plant Cell highlights this thrifty genetic strategy.
In the first, we see how the development of the ligule in a maize leaf involves the redeployment of several genes that are involved in leaf initiation, a process that occurs much earlier in the developmental pathway.


Transcriptomic Analyses Indicate That Maize Ligule Development Recapitulates Gene Expression Patterns That Occur during Lateral Organ Initiation (www.plantcell.org/…/early/2014/12/16/tpc.114.132688.abstract).
In the second, we see the KNOX1 / GA module that is so important in leaf developmental patterning also contributes to the environtmental responsiveness of leaf shape (heterophylly), as found in aquatic plants such as Rorippa aquatica.
Regulation of the KNOX-GA Gene Module Induces Heterophyllic Alteration in North American Lake Cress (http://www.plantcell.org/…/20…/12/16/tpc.114.130229.abstract).
These studies also reinforce our understanding of process of evolution; why start from scratch when you can just tweak something that aleady works in another context?


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The Untold History of Women in Science and Technology

The Untold History of Women in Science and Technology | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Listen to women from across the Administration tell the stories of their personal heroes across the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
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KWS UK – Barley Breeding - YouTube

Based at Thriplow near Cambridge, KWS UK has been providing growers with innovative new varieties to meet varied end-market needs for over 25 years. We devel...
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Video: Fifi The Oomycete (2014)

Happy holidays from the @KamounLab!


FiFi (Phytophthora) The Oomycete


(adapted from Frosty The Snowman)


Fifi the oomycete is a scary parasite,
With flagellated spores and hyphal threads
She kills crops and triggers blight.


Fifi the oomycete is a heterokont, they say,
She’s fungus-like but the scientists
Know how she had plastids one day.


There must have been some magic in those
Transposons they found.
For when they mapped ‘em on the genome
They began to jump around.


Fifi the oomycete has a big genome, they say,
Full of repeats but don’t call it junk
‘cause can be handy one day.


O, Fifi the oomycete
Was as virulent as she’s been;
and scientists say she secretes her way
Inside potatoes and bean.


Fifi the oomycete found
A resistant plant that day,
So she said, "Let's run and
There’ll be no fun
Until I mutate away."


There must have been some magic in those
Transposons they found.
For when they mapped ‘em on the genome
They began to jump around.


For Fifi the oomycete
Keeps evolving in her way,
But don’t wave her goodbye,
Don't you even try,
She’ll be back again some day.



Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
Mary Williams's insight:

She's adorable (or maybe not...). Nice song though!

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Gene critical to the development of low arsenic plants identified by scientists

Gene critical to the development of low arsenic plants identified by scientists | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Summary of a new paper out in PLOS Biology, "Genome-wide association mapping identifies a new arsenate reductase enzyme critical for limiting arsenic accumulation in plants"

http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1002009


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(New Plant Cell Review) Phytochromes: An Atomic Perspective on Photoactivation and Signaling

(New Plant Cell Review) Phytochromes: An Atomic Perspective on Photoactivation and Signaling | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"Whereas the downstream signaling cascades and biological consequences have been described, the initial events that underpin photochemistry of the coupled bilin chromophore and the ensuing conformational changes needed to propagate the light signal are only now being understood. Especially informative has been the rapidly expanding collection of 3D models developed by x-ray crystallographic, NMR, and single-particle electron microscopic methods from a remarkably diverse array of bacterial Phys. These structures have revealed how the modular architecture of these dimeric photoreceptors engages the buried chromophore through distinctive knot, hairpin, and helical spine features."

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Botanical Accuracy: White lichens, green mosses, and Swedish Christmas...

Botanical Accuracy: White lichens, green mosses, and Swedish Christmas... | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Moss or lichen? Follow the link for a video

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Wed 3 Dec debate - (live stream) Genetically Modified Food

Wed 3 Dec debate - (live stream) Genetically Modified Food | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

New York time  6:45 - 8:40 PM (that's 23:45 GMT)

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Carnivorous plant fossil trapped in amber

Carnivorous plant fossil trapped in amber | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Rare fossils of a carnivorous plant have been found preserved in a piece of Baltic amber.
Mary Williams's insight:

That's cool. Here's a link the the article in PNAS http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/11/25/1414777111

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For your plant nutrition class...

For your plant nutrition class... | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
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Plasmodesmata in integrated cell signalling: insights from development and environmental signals and stresses

Plasmodesmata in integrated cell signalling: insights from development and environmental signals and stresses | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
To survive as sedentary organisms built of immobile cells, plants require an effective intercellular communication system, both locally between neighbouring cells within each tissue and systemically across distantly located organs. Such a system enables cells to coordinate their intracellular activities and produce concerted responses to internal and external stimuli. Plasmodesmata, membrane-lined intercellular channels, are essential for direct cell-to-cell communication involving exchange of diffusible factors, including signalling and information molecules. Recent advances corroborate that plasmodesmata are not passive but rather highly dynamic channels, in that their density in the cell walls and gating activities are tightly linked to developmental and physiological processes. Moreover, it is becoming clear that specific hormonal signalling pathways play crucial roles in relaying primary cellular signals to plasmodesmata. In this review, we examine a number of studies in which plasmodesmal structure, occurrence, and/or permeability responses are found to be altered upon given cellular or environmental signals, and discuss common themes illustrating how plasmodesmal regulation is integrated into specific cellular signalling pathways.

Via Christophe Jacquet
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Jennifer Mach's curator insight, November 30, 8:42 AM

Not so sure about the use of "sedentary" here. Are plants just sittin' around?

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Biosynthesis, regulation, and domestication of bitterness in cucumber

Biosynthesis, regulation, and domestication of bitterness in cucumber | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

From Science - this is a good article to read with students. It's a straightforward use of genomics and biochemistry to map bitter flavor traits, and it reveals something about selection during domestication.

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English Communication for Scientists- Free eBook

English Communication for Scientists- Free eBook | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Chapters include:

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Julie Tardy's curator insight, November 28, 5:29 AM

Ebook en ligne sur la communication scientifique en anglais, à destination d'étudiants et/ou chercheurs qui veulent approfondir leurs compétences.

Jean-Michel Ané's curator insight, November 28, 5:38 PM

VERY nice tool for students!

Karen McKee's curator insight, November 29, 9:15 AM

Excellent resource....from how to structure a journal article to how to talk to a mixed audience of specialists and nonspecialists.

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How To Embed A YouTube Video & Other Media In Your PowerPoint Presentation

How To Embed A YouTube Video & Other Media In Your PowerPoint Presentation | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Typical presentations are dull affairs with text and corporate backgrounds providing little of interest. Microsoft knows this. They even released their own PowerPoint alternative called Sway.

Via Baiba Svenca
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Baiba Svenca's curator insight, December 14, 2:21 AM

Useful tips for learning how to embed videos and other media in your PPT presentations.

Jimun Gimm's curator insight, December 16, 8:37 AM

당신의 통찰력을 추가 ...

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Dogs of the plant world | SciXchange - YouTube

Cute video compares genetic diversity of brassicas to that of dogs (does your cauliflower chew your shoes?)

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Super schedule of speakers, PlantBiology2015 (26-30 July 2015)

Super schedule of speakers, PlantBiology2015 (26-30 July 2015) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

See the full schedule here - minisymposium speakers TBA

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C2-domain Abscisic acid-Related (CAR) proteins mediate the interaction of ABA receptors with the plasma membrane

C2-domain Abscisic acid-Related (CAR) proteins mediate the interaction of ABA receptors with the plasma membrane | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"We show that transient calcium-dependent interactions of PYR/PYL ABA receptors with membranes are mediated through a 10-member family of C2-domain ABA-related (CAR) proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana. Specifically, we found that PYL4 interacted in an ABA-independent manner with CAR1 in both the plasma membrane and nucleus of plant cells. CAR1 belongs to a plant-specific gene family encoding CAR1 to CAR10 proteins, and bimolecular fluorescence complementation and coimmunoprecipitation assays showed that PYL4-CAR1 as well as other PYR/PYL-CAR pairs interacted in plant cells. The crystal structure of CAR4 was solved, which revealed that, in addition to a classical calcium-dependent lipid binding C2 domain, a specific CAR signature is likely responsible for the interaction with PYR/PYL receptors and their recruitment to phospholipid vesicles."


Read the In Brief here (opens PDF) http://www.plantcell.org/content/early/2014/12/02/tpc.114.134411.full.pdf+html

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This Will Revolutionize Education - YouTube

Many technologies have promised to revolutionize education, but so far none has. With that in mind, what could revolutionize education?

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Excellent video

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Who Made That Flavor? Maybe A Genetically Altered Microbe

Who Made That Flavor? Maybe A Genetically Altered Microbe | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Biotech companies are inserting new genes into microorganisms, turning them into tiny factories to produce valuable nutrients and flavors. But many of them don't want to talk about it.
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Kirk Broders | Center for International Education

Kirk Broders | Center for International Education | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Nice story about Kirk Broders' (Univ New Hampshire) travels to Mexico to examine the microbiome of beans at their center of origin and domestication

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Support World Soil Day and the International Year of Soils 2015 - YouTube

"Animated video produced by the Global Soil Partnership promoting the creation of a UN World Soil Day and the adoption of 2015 as the International Year of Soils"

Mary Williams's insight:

You can find lots of resources about soil here http://www.fao.org/soils-2015/en/, in multiple languages too. 2015 is the International Year of Soils, and Dec 5 is World Soil Day.

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The Role of 4R Nutrient Stewardship in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emission - YouTube

The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) explains how farmers make 4R decisions (i.e., decisions on applying the Right source at the Right rate, Right time, and Right place) to minimize greenhouse gas emissions resulting from their nitrogen fertilizer applications. 4R Nutrient Stewardship promotes the best management practices that help farmers maximize the economic, social, and environmental performance of their nutrient applications.

Mary Williams's insight:

Good animated video!

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A Visual Approach to Scientific Communication

A Visual Approach to Scientific Communication | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Reflections from the SEA-PHAGES Symposium
Mary Williams's insight:

Here's an inspiring presentation style to share with your students - it's very effective!

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How Is The Internet Changing Education? | Edudemic

How Is The Internet Changing Education? | Edudemic | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Mary Williams's insight:

Did you know that the UK Open University started broadcasting lectures on TV in 1971, and is currently the UK's largest university with 250,000 students?

Did you know that by 2019 it is expected byat 50% of all classes taught will be delivered online (that's 5 years from now...).

It's clear to me that how we teach is changing rapidly, with both good and bad effects. I'm contributing to a conference in London mid-December and we're going to try to sort out the good from the bad, and identify strategies to enhance the former whilst minimizing the latter!

http://www.sebiology.org/meetings/EPA2014/teaching.html

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J. Steven Sprenger ✔'s curator insight, November 28, 10:17 AM

Great to see the success of e-learning continues to grow, especially exciting having worked for KnowledgePlanet, helping to trailblaze and sell e-learning and knowledgge management systems to early corporate adopters.