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Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Major investment to persuade bacteria to help cereals self-fertilise
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Major investment to persuade bacteria to help cereals self-fertilise | News from the John Innes Centre

Major investment to persuade bacteria to help cereals self-fertilise | News from the John Innes Centre | Plant Science | Scoop.it

The John Innes Centre will lead a $9.8m research project to investigate whether it is possible to initiate a symbiosis between cereal crops and bacteria. The symbiosis could help cereals access nitrogen from the air to improve yields.

The five-year research project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, could have most immediate benefit for subsistence farmers.


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Plant Science
Useful information on Plant Science in the UK and further a field
Curated by Ruth Bastow
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Mark Lynas » Lecture to Oxford Farming Conference, 3 January 2013

Ruth Bastow's insight:

Farmer should be free to grow GM

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Green Energy! : Turning Plants into Rechargeable Batteries?

Green Energy! : Turning Plants into Rechargeable Batteries? | Plant Science | Scoop.it
HOUSTON – (Dec. 11, 2012) – Here's a reason to be glad about madder: The climbing plant has the potential to make a greener rechargeable battery.
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Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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Telegraph: British scientists appeal to world for Ash dieback help (2012)

Telegraph: British scientists appeal to world for Ash dieback help (2012) | Plant Science | Scoop.it
British scientists have made a global appeal for help finding weaknesses in the fungus causing ash dieback after publishing the first molecular sequencing data on the disease.

Using information on the fungus's RNA – the sister molecule of DNA which helps regulate the behaviour of genes – researchers hope to discover how the fungus causes disease, and how it can be stopped. Scientists from the Sainsbury Laboratory and the John Innes Centre examined a sample of pith from a twig of an infected Ash tree in Ashwellthorpe wood in Norfolk, the first natural environment where the fungus was found in the UK. From the sample they extracted RNA and sequenced it to help them identify which genes are most influential in allowing the fungus to spread between trees so quickly. In normal circumstances, scientists would analyse the sample thoroughly and have their findings peer-reviewed before publishing them in a journal. But because of the urgency of the situation, the researchers took the unusual step of publishing their data online and asking experts from around the world to help them produce accurate results more quickly through "crowdsourcing".

Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL, Mary Williams
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Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Global Food Security
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Key wheat genetic codes unlocked

Key wheat genetic codes unlocked | Plant Science | Scoop.it
Scientists unlock key parts of the complex genetic code of wheat, one of the world's most important crops, which could help improve food security.

Via Rob Dawson
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Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from ROOTBOARD
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Deeper roots for better crops

Deeper roots for better crops | Plant Science | Scoop.it

An interesting effort to breed annual grasses with their perennial relatives that have, deeper, more dense roots so they can better explore soil resources.


Via Ruben Rellan, ROOTSPROUT
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Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from BBSRC News Coverage
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Key wheat genetic codes unlocked

Key wheat genetic codes unlocked | Plant Science | Scoop.it
Scientists unlock key parts of the complex genetic code of wheat, one of the world's most important crops, which could help improve food security.

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Leavitt's Lichens

Steve Leavitt studies one of the world's most common but overlooked symbiotic systems, lichens. Using DNA analysis he explores the hidden world of lichen evolution

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Success falling from the air: how BeadaMoss has saved Sphagnum moorland « « Weeding the GemsWeeding the Gems

Success falling from the air: how BeadaMoss has saved Sphagnum moorland « « Weeding the GemsWeeding the Gems | Plant Science | Scoop.it

One of many great projects coming out of UK plant science, highlighted at the UK Plant Sciences Federation 2nd AGM.

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Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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Francois Houllier, President and Chief Ex. of INRA, calls for more rigour in GM research

Francois Houllier, President and Chief Ex. of INRA, calls for more rigour in GM research | Plant Science | Scoop.it

In a Nature commentary about the Saralini paper, Francois Houllier asks "How do we address the questions about the impact of GM crops, and how do we prevent this kind of negative reaction?" He then suggests more public finding for risk-benefit analyses, as well as "proper academic standards" - specifically, allowing data to be inspected and outside experts to comment on the results (these standards are notably lacking in the Seralini paper). He also points to a GM grapevine rootstock study that was publicly funded with no intention to develop a commercial variety, but nevertheless vandalized.

He concludes, "As scientists, we must champion the multiple concerns of society, even when they make a contradictory call for more innovation as well as more precaution."

 

Here's the link:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v491/n7424/full/491327a.html


Via Mary Williams
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Jennifer Mach's comment, November 16, 2012 1:34 PM
Too bad it's behind a pay wall-- sounds like something that should be widely read.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from John Innes Centre on the web
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Nature’s chemical toolkit

Nature’s chemical toolkit | Plant Science | Scoop.it

Three talks on our research on the discovery of chemicals that are important for the survival of plants and microbes, which may also be useful for and human health and wellbeing.


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Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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iRootHair - Genomics database of ... root hair information!

iRootHair - Genomics database of ... root hair information! | Plant Science | Scoop.it

Root Hair Genomics Database.. genes, processes, mutants, references etc, with the option of searching just monocots. Nice! 

 

The accompanying paper is just out in Plant Physiology:

http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/early/2012/11/05/pp.112.206441.abstract


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Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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Plant Activities online swapshop

If you missed it, BGEN (Botanic Gardens Education Network) hosted a twitter-based "plant activities swapshop", and SAPS (Science and plants for schools) has kindly archived it. Lots of links to activities for all ages, many of which were new to me! 


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Study linking GM crops and cancer questioned

Study linking GM crops and cancer questioned | Plant Science | Scoop.it
Rats fed modified maize are more likely to get large breast tumours and die early, says a new study – but there are many problems with the work...
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Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Global Food Security
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Global wheat project aims to increase yields by 50% - 12/5/2012 - Farmers Weekly

Global wheat project aims to increase yields by 50% - 12/5/2012 - Farmers Weekly | Plant Science | Scoop.it
A new global wheat initiative has been launched to raise yields and develop new varieties better able to cope with disease, drought and other stresses.

Via Rob Dawson
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Plant Scientists Needed to Stem Deadly Tree Fungus

Plant Scientists Needed to Stem Deadly Tree Fungus | Plant Science | Scoop.it
Action against the deadly fungus threatening the UK's ash trees was delayed by a lack of qualified plant pathologists..
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Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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Arctic Apples Developer Neal Carter's TEDx talk "Biotech and the hungry planet"

Arctic Apples Developer Neal Carter's TEDx talk "Biotech and the hungry planet" | Plant Science | Scoop.it

Useful 12 min overview of the benefits of ag biotech. Here's how he describes the talk,

 

"I am convinced of the benefits biotechnology provides our global population, including saving lives. I have a unique perspective from working around the world as a bioresource engineer for nearly three decades, in addition to my experience as an orchardist and as the founder of Okanagan Specialty Fruits. My presentation covers the history and future of biotech crops, why they’re still controversial and the importance of public education in furthering the discussion"


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Marybeth Shea's curator insight, December 17, 2012 8:28 AM

Genetic biodiversity:  a kind of insurance for us all, if preserved and studied.

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LBD29 and lateral root initiation in arabidopsis - AoB Blog

LBD29 and lateral root initiation in arabidopsis - AoB Blog | Plant Science | Scoop.it

LBD29, an important molecule downstream of auxin response factors ARF7 & ARF19, has a role in lateral root formation in Arabidopsis thaliana.


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Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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NASA - Why Study Plants in Space?

NASA - Why Study Plants in Space? | Plant Science | Scoop.it
Why is NASA conducting plant research aboard the International Space Station?

This is timely, as I was ranting yesterday about the otherwise worthwhile series "BBC Science Club", which managed to spend an entire hour talking about the human colonization of space and extra-terrestrial life, without once mentioning the words "plant" or "photosynthesis". The previous episode looked at extinction, also without reference to plants, as elegantly summarized by Eoin Lettice (http://www.communicatescience.eu/2012/11/bbc-science-club-and-plant-blindness.html).

 

If it wasn't an otherwise pretty good effort at presenting science in a fun and entertaining way it wouldn't matter, but it is, and it does. So, spread the word, if humans decide to set up permanent colonies in space, the will be bringing along their life-supporting plants.

 

Here's the link to the show's site:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00zxmqd


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Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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Video Lecture: Small RNA, The Dark Matter of Genetics - by Professor Sir David Baulcombe

Sir David Baulcombe is one of the world's top scientists whose work identified small RNAs, and he's a nice person as well. He will be a Keynote Speaker at the upcoming UK Plant Sciences Federation meeting in Dundee, Scotland, April 2013, which is sure to be a stimulating meeting http://www.plantsci2013.org.uk/programme/


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Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from AnnBot
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Top degree subjects for graduate starting salaries. Plant sciences third. via SPS - Which? University

Top degree subjects for graduate starting salaries. Plant sciences third. via SPS - Which? University | Plant Science | Scoop.it

Want to study a degree course with a top graduate salary? Find out which subjects were best for starting salaries last year and the types of jobs that grads go into.

3. Botany (plant sciences): £28,591

Only a handful of students take this subject, but their expertise is in high demand from employers in a number of areas including crop engineering and biofuel research. A substantial number of plant science grads pursue careers in industrial and academic research, and so go on to further study six months after graduation.


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
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Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research's comment, January 20, 2013 2:52 PM
My guess is that two well-paid 'botanical' careers outside research distort these figures: working for property developers, writing reports to show no impact of another two hundred houses and a supermarket car park where that valueless wood is next to the stream; and advising on, and selling, crop protection chemicals. Pat Heslop-Harrison.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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Attenborough's botanical ark? Which 10 plants would your students rescue?

Attenborough's botanical ark? Which 10 plants would your students rescue? | Plant Science | Scoop.it

The BBC recently broadcast "Attenborough's Ark" in which David Attenborough selects 10 endanged animals he'd put on his ark to resdue for future generations. He makes his selections based on the species' interestingness or uniqueness, and his selections include the black lion tamarin and Sumartan rhino, as well as less familar animals like the solenodon and the olm.

 

What a great way to get students to think about endangered plants. I'd have teams of students create their own ark lists of 10 threatened plants to preserve for posterity, with justification, followed by a vote for best ark, based on diversity, novelty, rarity, interestingness, etc.

 

The video is available in the BBC site (in the UK) for a couple more days , and it seems to be on youtube as well.

 

Was asked to post links - the iplayer is only available in the UK (I think) and shows the full show, the link is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01ntt8p/Natural_World_20122013_Attenboroughs_Ark_Natural_World_Special/

 

But, you also seem to be able to watch clips of the show here, and I'm pretty sure it's available worldwide (let me know if not...): http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p010x7ls

 

(How to train a quoll is brilliant - teaching tiny marsupials not to eat cane toads).


Via Mary Williams
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Abigail Rumsey's comment, November 16, 2012 5:47 AM
This makes me think of the EDGE programme at ZSL: http://www.edgeofexistence.org/ where species are identified for conservation by whether they are evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered. Actually, now I've looked at their website, they've pointed out that seven of Attenborough's ten are EDGE species! http://www.edgeofexistence.org/edgeblog/?p=6062
Bioslogoss's comment, December 7, 2012 3:10 AM
Excellent teaching idea! Thank you for sharing, I will definitively use it!
Mary Williams's comment, December 7, 2012 3:16 AM
Thanks!
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The big picture | Harvesting the Sun

The big picture | Harvesting the Sun | Plant Science | Scoop.it

Horticulturalists provide food to feed the world, beautify our
neighbourhoods, decorate our gardens and give ambience
and wellbeing by combining the energy of the sun with soil,
seeds, water, and ingenuity. Their enterprises range in
size from the subsistence micro gardens of villages to
huge commercial enterprises with large holdings
of greenhouse and field crops and extensive orchards. Horticulture is also parks, public gardens and reserves,
sports fields and golf courses, trees, vegetables
and flowers in urban and peri-urban communities, home gardens for food and beauty. Such facilities have aesthetic, sociological and psychological benefits for human kind.


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
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Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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Two terrific GARNet "Weeding the Gems" blog posts

Two terrific GARNet "Weeding the Gems" blog posts | Plant Science | Scoop.it

"Weeding the Gems" (http://blog.garnetcommunity.org.uk/) is a new community blog from GARNet that posts summaries of papers, events and items of general interest to the plant biology community.

 

Their latest two posts look at the fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea. The first is an overview of a paper from The Plant Cell that looks at high resolution transcriptional responses of Arabidopsis to Botrytis (http://dx.doi.org/10.1105/tpc.112.102046).

 

They follow up with a fun post of a time-lapse video showing what Botrytis does to a strawberry, and a video about how the wine industry sometimes benefits from Botrytis infection - yummy

(http://blog.garnetcommunity.org.uk/botrytis-cinerea-time-lapse/).

 

WtG is an attractive and informative blog, and you can get updates of new posts by following @weedinggems.


Via Mary Williams
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RubyLaureus USA's comment, July 11, 2013 4:05 AM
Wow ................ yammi , I Love it http://ow.ly/mOWmF
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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New secrets of the plant kingdom uncovered after over a century in storage. University of Cambridge

New secrets of the plant kingdom uncovered after over a century in storage. University of Cambridge | Plant Science | Scoop.it

You never know what will turn up when you move house - the University of Cambridge recently moved its extensive Herbarium to the new Sainsbury lab, and found some forgotten treasures (video).

 

They've also got a very nice interactive exhbition of plants collected by Charles Darwin on his Beagle voyage  (http://www.darwinsbeagleplants.org/Darwin/Home.aspx). You can send your students on a digital field trip!

 


Via Mary Williams
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Botany Sci Fi? Short stories as tools for teaching

Botany Sci Fi? Short stories as tools for teaching | Plant Science | Scoop.it

I particuarly enjoyed the short story at the end of this week's Nature,  called "Without", by Fran Wilde  (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7416/full/489466a.html). I found another story she'd written, "Everybody loves a hero" (http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/superhero/fran-wilde/everyone-loves-a-hero), and also discovered the site "Daily Science Fiction".

 

With just a little exploring, I found two stories that could be effective ways to start discussions in a biology course.

 

"A concert of flowers"  features a 'doctor of alien botany', and addresses questions of conservation and the value of species (http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/biotech/kate-o-connor/a-concert-of-flowers).

 

"Sweet as peaches" looks at a world that struggles to sustain the human population, so children grow up never knowing peaches (http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/biotech/shane-d-rhinewald/sweet-as-peaches).

 

The story in Nature, Without, is also in the 'collapsed ecosystem' genre, which I find particularly effective as teaching tools. Yes, it's sci fi, but how sure are we that it isn't where we're headed?

 

I should also share a link (but not necessarily an endorsement) to "Silent Running", the 1972 film set "in a future where all flora is extinct on Earth. An astronaut is given orders to destroy the last of Earth's plant life being kept in a greenhouse on board a spacecraft" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067756/).


Via Mary Williams
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