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Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
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Flowers bloom for a second time

Flowers bloom for a second time | AnnBot | Scoop.it

UK plants are flowering for a second time this year because of the unseasonably warm weather. With temperatures soaring, plants such as foxglove and cowslip, which usually flower in the spring, are in full bloom six to eight months early. Cold nights experienced across the UK in August are thought to have led to the early onset of autumn colours. This warmer spell now has plants acting like it is spring.

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Starting and Maintaining Your First Laboratory An Essential Checklist

Starting and Maintaining Your First Laboratory  An Essential Checklist | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Valuable points and pointers about starting a new lab in this three-part series. Make sure you learn these skills as a PhD student or post-doc!

 

Running your own lab is an exciting venture filled with success, discovery, and the opportunity to pursue novel research. With such excitement comes great responsibility, whether in the form of mentoring graduate students, helping postdocs find jobs, publishing a steady stream of research, and securing tenure at your university or research institute. In addition, the combined logistics of managing startup (and additional grant) funding, ordering supplies and setting up a functional lab, not to mention relocating and finding housing, can be very overwhelming and stressful, to the point of impeding productivity. But it doesn’t have to be.

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The Story of Agriculture and the Green Economy

The future of our world depends on addressing global challenges now. We need to create sustainable livelihoods, feed a growing population and safeguard the environment. Agriculture accounts for 37% of employment, but 97% of these live in developing countries. We must increase productivity and reduce wait, increasing quality and biodiversity.

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Smithsonian magazine: Maize geneticist Barbara McClintock is a female scientist you should know

Smithsonian magazine: Maize geneticist Barbara McClintock is a female scientist you should know | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Barbara McClincock determined that genes could move within and between chromosomes by observing the patterns of coloration of maize kernels over generations of plants. The finding didn’t fit in with conventional thinking on genetics, however, and was largely ignored; McClintock began studying the origins of maize in South America. But after improved molecular techniques that became available in the 1970s and early 1980s confirmed her theory and these "jumping genes” were found in microorganisms, insects and humans, McClintock was awarded a Lasker Prize in 1981 and Nobel Prize in 1983.

 

Link via American Society of Plant Biologists

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Search for 'lost apples' widens

Search for 'lost apples' widens | AnnBot | Scoop.it
A search of a variety of apple first grown in the Highlands has widened out into an effort to trace four other 'lost' types.
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Peruvian Cacao Collection Trip Yields Treasures

Peruvian Cacao Collection Trip Yields Treasures | AnnBot | Scoop.it

A stand of very old trees, in an unexpected location, has yielded a coveted type of cacao tree. Usually, cacao trees are found along rivers, but these gems were found at a higher altitude than normal, and in Peru instead of Ecuador or Venezuela.
Collection expeditions in 2008 and 2009 through the Amazon Basin of Peru uncovered the exceptional find, along with other distinctive new populations of cacao. (Link pointed out by Rodomiro Ortiz)

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Timeline for evolution of wheat from the origin of plants - Annual Wheat Newsletter.

Timeline for evolution of wheat from the origin of plants - Annual Wheat Newsletter. | AnnBot | Scoop.it

A timeline of wheat evolution:

Bread wheat originated 8 thousand years ago (TYA). The wheat ancestors separated from rye 7 million years ago. This timeline from Byrne and Gornicki in the new Annual Wheat Newsletter (AWN) shows the key steps in wheat's origin from the earliest land plant fossils of 420 million years ago.

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FAO: Global hunger declining but still unacceptably high

FAO: Global hunger declining but still unacceptably high | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Interactive hunger map and >Policy Brief: click on the timeline or select a country for national data. At close to one billion, the number of undernourished people in the world remains unacceptably high in 2010 despite an expected decline – the first in 15 years. The recent increase in food prices, if it persists, will create additional obstacles in the fight to further reduce hunger. The number is higher than before the food and economic crises of 2008-2009 and higher than the level that existed when world leaders agreed to reduce the number of hungry by half at the World Food Summit in 1996.

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Encyclopedia of Life catalogues more than one-third of Earth's species

Encyclopedia of Life catalogues more than one-third of Earth's species | AnnBot | Scoop.it
The Encyclopedia of Life (EoL), a free and collaborative website, said on Monday it now has pages for each of 750,000 species, meaning more than one-third of all the planet's 1.9m species are now covered.

Jennifer Preece, dean of the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland said, "There are many online sites dedicated to specific groups of species such as insects, birds or mammals. Not since Noah, however, has there been an effort like this to bring all the world's species together."

The site uses content from 180 partners to bring together images, videos and scientific information, including 35m pages of scanned literature created by the Biodiversity Heritage Library. The new site allows members to create their own collection of species.

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Counting chickens

Counting chickens | AnnBot | Scoop.it
THE world’s average stock of chickens is almost 19 billion, or three per person, according to statistics from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. Cattle are the next most populous breed of farm animal at 1.4 billion, with sheep and pigs not far behind at around 1 billion. China’s vast appetite helps make it the world leader in the number of chickens, pigs and sheep,
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The Power of Blogs in Forming New Fields of International Study

The Power of Blogs in Forming New Fields of International Study | AnnBot | Scoop.it

...one thing that I have found really interesting about the turn to speculative realism is that is has clearly been fuelled by online communities which have turned above all to blogs as an important means of swapping material, revealing first thoughts, and making revisions. I doubt that the growth of speculative realism would have been so insistent without these communities scattered all over the world, or so rapid. Why?

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One hundred important questions facing plant science research - Grierson - 2011 - New Phytologist

One hundred important questions facing plant science research - Grierson - 2011 - New Phytologist | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Plant science is central to addressing many of the most important questions facing humanity. Secure food production and quality remain key issues for the world in the 21st Century, and the importance of plants extends well beyond agriculture and horticulture as we face declining fossil fuel reserves, climate change, and a need for more sustainable methods to produce fuel, fibre, wood, and industrial feedstocks. There is also untapped potential in optimizing the nutritional properties of foods, and in identifying novel plant products such as medicines. Tackling these frontiers will require new scientific
methods and collaborations as existing approaches
are delivering incomplete answers.

 

Many of the most important questions that we have
identified can only be addressed by the integrated efforts of scientists with diverse expertise.

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RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms

Introducing divergent thinking to education. A talk by Sir Ken Robinson, education and creativity thinker ... more than 5 million YouTube views, and an interesting presentation approach too.

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Pavlidou Despoina's curator insight, June 12, 2014 7:01 AM

Watch a new approach to an old topic.

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Affable Nerds and Second Bananas: What Science Communicators Can Learn From Top Gear

Affable Nerds and Second Bananas: What Science Communicators Can Learn From Top Gear | AnnBot | Scoop.it

"Why has academia largely ignored one of the world's most popular technology programmes - and what does the show tell us about the effective communication of complex ideas?"

A review of a scholarly paper on what we as scientists can learn from Top Gear about presentation of technical material ...

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Money for shiny new rope?

Thoughtful comments on what research is needed to support farming in Africa. Exactly how useful is a genome to the typical farmer?

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Plant bends to bury its own seeds

Plant bends to bury its own seeds | AnnBot | Scoop.it

A new plant that "bends down" to deposit its seeds has been discovered in the Atlantic forest in the state of Bahia, northeastern Brazil. The new species has been named Spigelia genuflexa after its unusual adaptation. After fruits are formed, the fruiting branches bend down, depositing the capsules of seeds on the ground and sometimes burying them in the soft cover of moss

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Plant biodiversity theory debunked

Plant biodiversity theory debunked | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Why are some environments teeming with different plant species whereas others support only a few? Light, not productivity, may control species richness.

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Man-in-a-box lives off plants

Man-in-a-box lives off plants | AnnBot | Scoop.it

In the 1770s, Joseph Priestly put a mouse in a jar with some plants. It lived for several days, much longer than one without plants. He recognised that plants were allowing us to breathe, and called them 'lungs'. He recognised they were taking something in and giving something out that we needed.

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US plant scientists seek united front

US plant scientists seek united front | AnnBot | Scoop.it

The perennial grass Miscanthus × giganteus has all the makings of a biofuel superstar. It grows rapidly, converts sunlight into biomass ten times more efficiently than the average plant and has little need for fertilizer. But M. × giganteus is a headache in the lab. Researchers hope that the first ever summit to map the future of US plant science will change that, by encouraging researchers to tackle the genomic wilderness of emerging biofuel crops in a more systematic way.

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Evolution of Fruit Shape in Tomato « Biofortified

Evolution of Fruit Shape in Tomato « Biofortified | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Someday you’ll be able to use CAD software to draw up what you want a plant to look like and the software (containing detailed growth models) will tell you what genetic constructs you need to bring it into the world…

But for now we barely understand how natural morphological variation is controlled. So I was excited to see this paper out of the van der Knaap and Francis labs. In it, they review some of the known levers by which tomato plants control fruit shape and investigate their historical appearance.

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Alien worms 'threat to forests'

Alien worms 'threat to forests' | AnnBot | Scoop.it
Alien earthworms can alter the carbon and nitrogen cycles in woodland, as well as undermine native plant species, a study suggests.
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Manipulating plants' circadian clock may make all-season crops possible

Manipulating plants' circadian clock may make all-season crops possible | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Researchers have identified a key genetic gear that keeps the circadian clock of plants ticking. "Farmers are limited by the seasons, but by understanding the circadian rhythm of plants, which controls basic functions such as photosynthesis and flowering, we might be able to engineer plants that can grow in different seasons and places than is currently possible"

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Rye-wheat introgression & alien translocations

Rye-wheat introgression & alien translocations | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Rolf Schlegel has put together an extensive list of all wheat varieties containing the 1RS.1BL translocation and recently updated his website at http://www.rye-gene-map.de/rye-introgression/. Recent surveys show that more than 45 % of breeding material may contain those translocations (Zhou et al. 2007) or 55% of CIMMYT bread wheat germplasm. This translocation has been deemed so important that it has been incorporated into >60 wheat varieties that occupy >50% of all developing country wheat area, almost 40 million hectares.

 

Illustration shows a wheat breeding line (2n = 6x + 2 = 44) with a pair of chromosome arms from rye (labeled green with genomic DNA from rye) translocated onto a wheat chromosome (1BL.1RS) and an additional chromosome pair from the wild species Thinopyrum bessarabicum (labeled red with genomic T bessarabicum DNA) from Trude Schwarzacher (eg Practical In Situ Hybridization, 2000, BIOS publishers).

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The importance of social media in research | CGIAR

The importance of social media in research | CGIAR | AnnBot | Scoop.it
Collaborate, Create, Communicate...

For years, we have been advocating the use of social media to inform as broad an audience as possible of our research and also to get our research outputs into the hands of people who can make them travel even further across their own communication networks and/or apply them to their own work. Nonetheless, not everyone understands the value of social media.

 

Although it’s heartening to see researchers the length and breadth of the CGIAR using social media to expand the reach of their research, communicate with colleagues in remote offices, and collaborate with scientists in other organizations, there is still much to be done. There are still staff who are a little wary of using social media, citing reasons like loss of privacy, lack of time and abuse of intellectual property rights. Some will tell you that social media is just another one of those things that add to the “noise” already on the Internet.

 

It usually takes time for all great inventions and innovations to become mainstream. Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone took a while to catch on, as did cell phones and email. I wonder how we could possibly cope now without email or mobile communication devices. As such, I believe it will just be a matter of time before everyone realizes that social media has an important role to play in research.

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Farmers benefit by providing environmental services — AgriCultures Network

Farmers benefit by providing environmental services — AgriCultures Network | AnnBot | Scoop.it
More and more land in Africa is being cultivated, reducing the area covered by forests, the existing biodiversity, and affecting the water supplies of nearby cities. Could farmers produce the same services as forests do – at least partly?
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