Winter squash is an important crop grown in the Willamette Valley, and the most important processing cultivar, Golden Delicious, has been grown in Oregon since the 1970s. Over the last two decades, however, growers have noticed yield declines throughout the valley. Agriculture specialists have identified an association between yield decline and disease symptoms such as stunting, vascular discoloration, late-season vine collapse, and root and crown rot, all symptoms of soilborne disease.
Researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) have uncovered a clue to the mystery of how epigenetic regulation impacts the entire plant genome, by looking at how plant cells suppress transcription - the first stage of how genes manufacture their products. Their findings, recently published in Nature Communications, pinpoint previously unknown sections of DNA that are silenced by epigenetic regulation, many of which originate within transposons.
Researchers have discovered that bacteria such as salmonella, E.coli and listeria have a backdoor to take advantage of humans' reliance on leafy greens for a healthy diet. They found that wild strains of salmonella are delivering foodborne illnesses by circumventing a plant's immune defense system, getting into the leaves of lettuce by opening up the plant's tiny breathing pores.
After several years of experimentation, scientists have engineered thale cress, or Arabidopsis thaliana, to behave like a succulent, improving water-use efficiency, salinity tolerance and reducing the effects of drought. The tissue succulence engineering method devised for this small flowering plant can be used in other plants to improve drought and salinity tolerance with the goal of moving this approach into food and bioenergy crops.
Sowing strips of wildflowers along conventional cereal fields and the increased density of flowers in organic farming encourage bumblebees as well as solitary wild bees and hoverflies. Bumblebee colonies benefit from flower strips along small fields, but in organic farming, they benefit from large fields. This research was carried out by agroecologists from the University of Göttingen in a comparison of different farming systems and landscape types. The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.
Microplastic pollution in marine environments is concentrated most highly in coastal habitats, especially fjords and estuaries, according to a new review article published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin.
New research from NUI Galway and the University of Limerick has for the first time quantified the volume of plastic from European countries (EU, UK, Switzerland and Norway) that contributes to ocean littering from exported recycling.
Based on the cytidine deamination and base excision repair (BER) mechanism, the researchers led by Prof. GAO Caixia from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences developed a series of APOBEC-Cas9 fusion-induced deletion systems (AFIDs) that combine Cas9 with human APOBEC3A (A3A), uracil DNA-glucosidase (UDG) and AP lyase, and successfully induced novel precise, predictable multi-nucleotide deletions in rice and wheat genomes.
By developing innovative methods to visualize energy changes in subcellular compartments in live plants, the team of Dr Boon Leong LIM, Associate Professor of the School of Biological Sciences of The University of Hong Kong, recently solved a controversial question in photosynthesis: what is the source of NADH (Reduced Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) for mitochondria to generate ATP (Adenosine triphosphate)? The results were just published in the journal Nature Communications.
In a study published recently in Ecology and Evolution, an international team of researchers focused on what can happen to ocean ecosystems when fishing pressure increases or decreases, and how this differs between tropical to temperate marine ecosystems. The team, led by Elizabeth Madin, researcher at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology in the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, found ecosystems do not respond universally to fishing.