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.
Fungi play major roles in ecosystem processes, but the determinants of fungal diversity and biogeographic patterns remain poorly understood. Using DNA metabarcoding data from hundreds of globally distributed soil samples, we demonstrate that fungal richness is decoupled from plant diversity. The plant-to-fungus richness ratio declines exponentially toward the poles. Climatic factors, followed by edaphic and spatial variables, constitute the best predictors of fungal richness and community composition at the global scale. Fungi show similar latitudinal diversity gradients to other organisms, with several notable exceptions. These findings advance our understanding of global fungal diversity patterns and permit integration of fungi into a general macroecological framework.
Visualised in graphs I am presenting the long-term data on how we are changing our world. This is the Empirical View on How We Are Making Our World a Better Place. Topic by topic I cover the decline of violence and the increase of tolerance and political rights. Improving living standards, health and well-being; population changes and associated success in preserving our environment. Increasing knowledge about our word and spreading education.
Mary Williams's insight:
This is an excellent set of graphs / data collections curated by Max Roser (Oxford). See for example this one on food and hunger http://bit.ly/1k8i9cs
Facilitating discussions between students is one of those things that is infinitely easier when you’re teaching in a physical classroom rather than online. When the students are all in one room, discussions happen more naturally. Facilitating the same type of productive, useful discussion when teaching online is more of a challenge.
Recent advances in the targeted modification of complex eukaryotic genomes have unlocked a new era of genome engineering. From the pioneering work using zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), to the advent of the versatile and specific TALEN systems, and most recently the highly accessible CRISPR/Cas9 systems, we now possess an unprecedented ability to analyze developmental processes using sophisticated designer genetic tools. Excitingly, these robust and simple genomic engineering tools also promise to revolutionize developmental studies using less well established experimental organisms.
Modern developmental biology was born out of the fruitful marriage between traditional embryology and genetics. Genetic tools, together with advanced microscopy techniques, serve as the most fundamental means for developmental biologists to elucidate the logistics and the molecular control of growth, differentiation and morphogenesis. For this reason, model organisms with sophisticated and comprehensive genetic tools have been highly favored for developmental studies. Advances made in developmental biology using these genetically amenable models have been well recognized. The Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded in 1995 to Edward B. Lewis, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Eric F. Wieschaus for their discoveries on the ‘Genetic control of early structural development’ usingDrosophila melanogaster, and again in 2002 to John Sulston, Robert Horvitz and Sydney Brenner for their discoveries of ‘Genetic regulation of development and programmed cell death’ using the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. These fly and worm systems remain powerful and popular models for invertebrate development studies, while zebrafish (Danio rerio), the dual frog species Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis, rat (Rattus norvegicus), and particularly mouse (Mus musculus) represent the most commonly used vertebrate model systems. To date, random or semi-random mutagenesis (‘forward genetic’) approaches have been extraordinarily successful at advancing the use of these model organisms in developmental studies. With the advent of reference genomic data, however, sequence-specific genomic engineering tools (‘reverse genetics’) enable targeted manipulation of the genome and thus allow previously untestable hypotheses of gene function to be addressed.
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!
BackgroundIn plants, the uptake from soil and intercellular transport of inorganic phosphate (Pi) is mediated by the PHT1 family of membrane-spanning proton : Pi symporters. The Arabidopsis thaliana AtPHT1 gene family comprises nine putative high-affinity Pi transporters. While AtPHT1;1 to AtPHT1;4 are involved in Pi acquisition from the rhizosphere, the role of the remaining transporters is less clear.ResultsPi uptake and tissue accumulation studies in AtPHT1;8 and AtPHT1;9 knock-out mutants compared to wild-type plants showed that both transporters are involved in the translocation of Pi from the root to the shoot. Upon inactivation of AtPHT1;9, changes in the transcript profiles of several genes that respond to plant phosphorus (P) status indicated a possible role in the regulation of systemic signaling of P status within the plant. Potential genetic interactions were found among PHT1 transporters, as the transcript profile of AtPHT1;5 and AtPHT1;7 was altered in the absence of AtPHT1;8, and the transcript profile of AtPHT1;7 was altered in the Atpht1;9 mutant. These results indicate that AtPHT1;8 and AtPHT1;9 translocate Pi from the root to the shoot, but not from the soil solution into the root.ConclusionAtPHT1;8 and AtPHT1;9 are likely to act sequentially in the interior of the plant during the root-to-shoot translocation of Pi, and play a more complex role in the acclimation of A. thaliana to changes in Pi supply than was previously thought.
Since 1978, the U.S. Government has supported research programs led by some of the United States’ most prestigious academic institutions in order to help achieve sustained growth in agriculture and reduction in poverty. These programs have also provided long-term degree training in food security-related fields to more than 4,200 students from 130 countries.
Beautiful Chemistry is a project collaboration between the Institute of Advanced Technology at the University of Science and Technology of China and Tsinghua University Press. The goal of this project is to bring the beauty of chemistry to the general public through digital media and technology.
Mary Williams's insight:
Super collection of videos and images featuring the beauty of chemistry