Category Archives: S&T and General News

Japan Stimulus to Boost Science

13By Dennis Normile
Science — Japan’s government today approved a plan to spend $116 billion to jump-start the economy and set the stage for long-term growth. Sources in the Japanese press are hinting that research on renewable energy and on stem cells could land a significant chunk of the new cash. Continue reading

Biologists Flirt With Models

The Digital Biologist – This is an updated version of an article that I published in 2009. Alas in the 3 years or so that have passed since I wrote it, little seems to have changed beyond the fact that the crisis in the pharmaceutical industry has deepened to the point that even the biggest companies in the sector are starting to question whether their current business model is sustainable.

Click here to read the complete article
Source: The Digital Biologist, May 15th, 2012
You also follow Labex Korea by Twitter and Facebook

The Scientific Search for the Essence of a Tasty Tomato

By Brandon Keim
Wired Science – With something like a banana, you can identify one volatile compound that you smell and say, ‘Aha! It’s a banana!’ With a tomato, it’s not that simple,” said plant molecular biologist Harry Klee of the University of Florida. “You can detect 400 volatile compounds in a tomato. People have speculated that maybe 20 are really important, and they need to be orchestrated properly. It’s a little more complicated than we like.”

Source and Photo: Wired Science, May 24th, 2012.
Click here to read the complete article at Wired Science.
You also follow Labex Korea by Facebook and  Twitter

War on weeds loses ground

By Helen Thompson
Nature – With its jumble of leaves and pointy, green, flower spikes, the plant known as pigweed or palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) isn’t much to look at. But to farmers in the southeastern United States, it is a formidable foe. Having evolved the ability to withstand glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s popular herbicide Roundup, it now flourishes unchecked alongside crops such as cotton and soya bean that are genetically modified to be glyphosate tolerant……. >>Read More<<

Source and Photo: May 22nd, 2012
You also follow Labex Korea by Facebook and  Twitter

Population Genomics of Early Events in the Ecological Differentiation of Bacteria

Science – Genetic exchange is common among bacteria, but its effect on population diversity during ecological differentiation remains controversial. A fundamental question is whether advantageous mutations lead to selection of clonal genomes or, as in sexual eukaryotes, sweep through populations on their own. Here, we show that in two recently diverged populations of ocean bacteria, ecological differentiation has occurred akin to a sexual mechanism: A few genome regions have swept through subpopulations in a habitat-specific manner, accompanied by gradual separation of gene pools as evidenced by increased habitat specificity of the most recent recombinations. Science – These findings reconcile previous, seemingly contradictory empirical observations of the genetic structure of bacterial populations and point to a more unified process of differentiation in bacteria and sexual eukaryotes than previously thought.

Click here to access the article at Science
You also follow Labex Korea by Facebook and Twitter

Fighting for Water: Ownership, Use on Crops, Factors for the Future from CSSA’s President

Crop Science Society of America – The Lonestar State’s water woes is pushing many agribusinesses to prepare for the worst. Ronald Gertson’s family grows rice in the claylike soil near Lissie, in Southeast Texas. He believes it’s the first time in five generations, there’s worry about the water supply. Gertson says, “I can grow about a third of my rice using groundwater. If I push it, I might get 45-percent of the acres I normally plant. But many of my neighbors and I are already looking at what we can do to cut costs in what is clearly going to be a hard year.” Texas usually produces 5-percent of the nation’s rice but the region is implementing emergency plans now, which may mean water will not be released from lakes and rivers for irrigation this summer, following one of the most severe droughts in state history last year…. Read More.

Source and Photo: Crop Science Society of America
You also follow Labex Korea by Facebook and  Twitter

Scientists uncover an interaction between sugarcane, an insect and a fungus

By Fábio de Castro

Agência FAPESP – A study conducted by Brazilian researchers shows that infestation by the sugarcane borer (Diatraea saccharalis), a caterpillar that is the main sugarcane pest, activates a gene that encodes a protein with a strong antifungal property. The study, the results of which were published in Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, is part of a FAPESP Bioenergy Research Program (BIOEN) research project on the interactions between plants, microorganisms and insects.The study involved scientists from the Universidade de São Paulo (USP) Luiz de Queiroz School of Agriculture (ESALQ), the USP School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Ribeirão Preto, the Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCar) and the National Bioethanol Science and Technology Lab in Campinas (SP)….. >>Read the Complete Article<<

Source and Photo: FAPESP, June 6th, 2012
You also follow Labex Korea By Twitter and Facebook

Genome sequence of foxtail millet (Setaria italica) provides insights into grass evolution and biofuel potential

Nature Biotechnology – Foxtail millet (Setaria italica), a member of the Poaceae grass family, is an important food and fodder crop in arid regions and has potential for use as a C4 biofuel. It is a model system for other biofuel grasses, including switchgrass and pearl millet. We produced a draft genome (~423 Mb) anchored onto nine chromosomes and annotated 38,801 genes. Key chromosome reshuffling events were detected through collinearity identification between foxtail millet, rice and sorghum including two reshuffling events fusing rice chromosomes 7 and 9, 3 and 10 to foxtail millet chromosomes 2 and 9, respectively, that occurred after the divergence of foxtail millet and rice, and a single reshuffling event fusing rice chromosome 5 and 12 to foxtail millet chromosome 3 that occurred after the divergence of millet and sorghum. Rearrangements in the C4 photosynthesis pathway were also identified…. Read More.

Source and Photo: Nature Biotechnology, May 13rd, 2012.
You also Follow Labex Korea by Facebook and  Twitter

A New Approach to Molecular Plant Breeding

USDA – A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist has shown researchers and plant breeders a better way to handle the massive amounts of data being generated by plant molecular studies, using an approach that should help speed up development of improved crop varieties….. Continue Reading

Source and Photo: USDA, April 16th, 2012.
You also follow Labex Korea by Facebook and  Twitter.

Scientists find a way to bring down cost of producing ‘artificial leaf’

By Erin Hale
The Guardian – The most efficient way to turn sunlight into energy has existed for around 400m years: photosynthesis. Scientists have been attempting to replicate this in artificial leaves for some time and have now taken a step forward by replacing expensive materials with cheaper ones.

This is significant, because while artificial leaves could be the fuel cells of the future, production costs remain a major issue. One of the biggest obstacles to artificial photosynthesis has been that scientists could only replicate it with a costly platinum catalyst. Now Danial Nocera at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) says his team has found a way to replace it with a cheap nickel-molybdenum-zinc compound. This puts him one step closer to his goal of finding an inexpensive, portable source of renewable energy for developing countries…. Read More

Source and Photo: The Guardian, May 11th, 2012
You also follow Labex Korea by Facebook and  Twitter