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.

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Source: The Digital Biologist, May 15th, 2012
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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.
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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
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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.

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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
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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
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