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Current Breeding News and Events, Breeding News Articles.
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Novel haplotype-led approach to increase the precision of wheat breeding
Wheat researchers at the John Innes Centre are pioneering a new technique that promises to improve gene discovery for the globally important crop. (2020-11-25)

Sniffing your way to the gym
On a near daily basis, the internet spews out numerous tips and tricks for exercise motivation. Now we can add smell to the long and growing list. A research team led by a scientist at the University of California, Riverside, has found olfaction--or smell--may play an important role in motivating mammals to engage in voluntary exercise. Performed in lab mice, the study may open up new areas of research and have relevance for humans. (2020-11-25)

Making sense of a universe of corn genetics
A new study details the latest efforts to predict traits in corn based on genomics and data analytics. The data management technique could help to ''turbo charge'' the seemingly endless amount of genetic stocks contained in the world's seed banks, leading to faster and more efficient development of new crop varieties. (2020-11-23)

Study finds health trade-offs for wildlife as urbanization expands
City living appears to improve reproductive success for migratory tree swallows compared to breeding in more environmentally protected areas, a new five-year study suggests. But urban life comes with a big trade-off - health hazards linked to poorer water quality. (2020-11-18)

Saving your data together helps birds and bird research
It hasn't been more than a year and a half since the international researchers' network SPI-Birds started officially. Together they collect, secure and use long-term breeding population data of 1.5 million individually recognisable birds... and counting. Big questions in ecology and evolution can be answered using this data. Today, the publication of SPI-Birds' first scientific paper in the Journal of Animal Ecology coincides with receiving the Dutch Data Incentive Prize for Medical and Life Sciences. (2020-11-18)

Abundance of prey species is key to bird diversity in cities
A team of scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and the Technische Universit├Ąt Berlin (TUB) collaborated to analyse breeding bird data from the Senate of Berlin gathered by citizen scientists. They found that the abundance of invertebrates such as insects or spiders as prey is a key factor affecting bird diversity in the city. The more prey is available, the more diverse the urban bird communities are. (2020-11-17)

Noise and light alter bird nesting habits and success
By analyzing nesting data from across the contiguous US, the authors found widespread impacts of noise and light pollution on bird nesting habits and success. Birds that live in forests were most sensitive to noise pollution, as were those with low frequency songs. Sensitivity to light pollution was strongly linked to variation in low light vision. The results reveal traits and contexts indicative of sensitivities to these stimuli that can be used for conservation planning. (2020-11-11)

Chemical clues in leaves can reveal ash tree resistance to deadly disease
Naturally occurring compounds in ash leaves could be linked to susceptibility of individual trees to the fungal disease ash dieback (ADB). But selecting trees with lower levels of these compounds and breeding for resistance could leave the UK ash tree population open to attack from invading insect pests in the future, according to scientists at the University of Warwick. (2020-11-11)

Climate-adapted plant breeding
Securing plant production is a global task. Using a combination of new molecular and statistical methods, a research team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) was able to show that material from gene banks can be used to improve traits in the maize plant. Old varieties can thus help to breed new varieties adapted to current and future climates. (2020-11-11)

Variety in the migratory behavior of blackcaps
The birds have variable migration strategies. (2020-11-06)

Migration and molt affect how birds change their colors
Before their big journey, many birds molt their bright feathers, replacing them with a more subdued palette. Watching this molt led scientists to wonder how feather color changes relate to the migrations many birds undertake twice each year. (2020-11-06)

Seabirds' response to abrupt climate change transformed sub-Antarctic island ecosystems
A 14,000-year paleoecological reconstruction of the sub-Antarctic islands done by an international research team including HKU has found that seabird establishment occurred during a period of regional cooling 5,000 years ago. Their populations, in turn, shifted the Falkland Island ecosystem through the deposit of high concentrations of guano that helped nourish tussac, produce peat and increase the incidence of fire. The findings were recently published in the journal Science Advances. (2020-11-04)

Plant viruses hijack the defence system of plants, but there might be a way to strike back
Recently discovered interactions between plant and viral proteins open up new avenues for making plants resistant to viruses, thus safeguarding crop yields in changing climate conditions. (2020-11-03)

Academies' report reviews debate on genome editing for crop improvement
Since the ruling of the Court of Justice of the EU of 2018, which placed genome-edited crops under the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) legislation, the scientific community has passionately debated the future of these new breeding techniques. The report ''Genome Editing for Crop Improvement'' presents the state of the art of scientific evidence in the field and explores paths to harmonise EU legislation with recent scientific developments, while particularly considering relevant ethical and societal considerations. (2020-10-29)

Study finds seabird ecosystem shift in Falkland islands
The 14,000-year-old record raises a very troubling question about where seabirds in the South Atlantic and Southern Ocean will go as the climate continues to warm. (2020-10-28)

Wrinkled 'super pea' could be added to foods to reduce diabetes risk
A type of wrinkled 'super pea' may help control blood sugar levels and could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, suggests a new study. (2020-10-26)

Seabird response to abrupt climate change 5,000 years ago transformed Falklands ecosystems
A 14,000-year paleoecological reconstruction of the sub-Antarctic islands led by University of Maine researchers has found that seabird establishment occurred during a period of regional cooling 5,000 years ago. Their populations, in turn, shifted the Falkland Islands ecosystems through the deposit of high concentrations of guano that helped nourish tussac, produce peat and increase the incidence of fire. (2020-10-23)

Grafting with epigenetically-modified rootstock yields surprise
Novel grafted plants -- consisting of rootstock epigenetically modified to ''believe'' it has been under stress -- joined to an unmodified scion, or above-ground shoot, give rise to progeny that are more vigorous, productive and resilient than the parental plants. (2020-10-22)

Genome sequencing shows climate barrier to spread of Africanized bees
Since the 1950s, ''Africanized'' honeybees have spread north and south across the Americas until apparently coming to a halt in California and northern Argentina. Now genome sequencing of hundreds of bees from the northern and southern limits shows a gradual decline in African ancestry across hundreds of miles, rather than an abrupt shift. (2020-10-21)

The Great Barrier Reef has lost half its corals
Populations of corals on the Great Barrier Reef have halved in the past three decades - in both shallow and deeper water, and across virtually all species - especially branching and table-shaped corals. These were the worst affected by record-breaking temperatures that triggered mass bleaching in 2016 and 2017. And the Great Barrier Reef was hit with mass bleaching again only a few months ago. (2020-10-13)

CRISPRing trees for a climate-friendly economy
Researchers led by prof. Wout Boerjan (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology) have discovered a way to stably finetune the amount of lignin in poplar by applying CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Lignin is one of the main structural substances in plants and it makes processing wood into, for example, paper difficult. (2020-10-06)

Birds risk starvation trying to "keep pace" with climate change
Surviving on a warming planet can be a matter of timing--but simply shifting lifecycle stages to match the tempo of climate change has hidden dangers for some animals, according to new research from the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour and Cornell University. (2020-10-06)

Analysis of wild tomatoes elucidates genetic basis underlying fruit traits
Wild tomato species represent a rich gene pool for numerous desirable traits lost during domestication. An international research team, including scientists from Weizmann Institute of Science and IPK, exploited an introgression population of wild desert-adapted species and a domesticated tomato cultivar to investigate the transfer of wild species-associated fruit traits on the genetic, regulatory and metabolic level. The results have been published in the magazine ''Nature Genetics''. (2020-09-28)

Shorebirds more likely to divorce after successful breeding
Research led by the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath found that a range of factors affected the fidelity and parenting behaviour of plovers, rather than being defined by the species. (2020-09-28)

Wels catfish genome assembled
By deciphering the genetic code of the barbelled giant, scientists expect to better understand the secrets of the wels catfish's exceptionally rapid growth, enormous appetite and longevity. (2020-09-22)

Wild birds as offerings to the Egyptian gods
Millions of mummified ibis and birds of prey, sacrificed to the Egyptian gods Horus, Ra or Thoth, have been discovered in the necropolises of the Nile Valley. Such a quantity of mummified birds raises the question of their origin: were they bred, like cats, or were they hunted? According to a team of scientists that carried out extensive geochemical analyses on mummies, they were wild birds. (2020-09-22)

Discovered: New resistance gene to devastating potato disease that caused Irish Famine
In a recent collaboration between the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the James Hutton institute, scientists identified a diploid wild potato with a high resistance to Phytophthora infestans. They discovered novel R genes in this potato using dRenSeq analysis, and further transcriptional analysis revealed the essential role of multiple signal transduction pathways and secondary metabolic pathways in plant immunity in the wild potato. (2020-09-21)

Farmer knowledge is key to finding more resilient crops in climate crisis
A new paper in Frontiers in Plant Science reviews the 'Seeds for Needs' approach that combines farmers' knowledge of resilient crops with 'elite' varieties identified by scientists. (2020-09-21)

New study identifies wheat varieties that resist the destructive stripe rust disease
Stripe rust is one of the most destructive wheat diseases in the world, especially in the United States. While the disease can be controlled by chemicals, those may be harmful to humans, animals, and the environment and the application can cost millions of dollars. Rather than use chemicals, many farmers would prefer to grow wheat varieties that resist stripe rust and the development of such varieties is a top priority for wheat breeding programs. (2020-09-17)

Massive-scale genomic study reveals wheat diversity for crop improvement
Researchers have genetically characterized almost 80,000 samples of wheat from public germplasm banks, ''a massive-scale genotyping and diversity analysis'' of the two types of wheat grown globally -- bread and pasta wheat -- and of 27 known wild species. The results show distinct biological groupings within bread wheats and suggest that a large proportion of the genetic diversity present in landraces has not been used to develop new high-yielding, resilient and nutritious varieties. (2020-09-11)

Wild cousins may help crops battle climate change
Wild relatives of our domestic crops already cope with harsh conditions and resist disease. Can we use them to help our preferred crops adapt? (2020-09-09)

Acorn woodpeckers wage days-long battles over vacant territories, radio tag data show
When acorn woodpeckers inhabiting high-quality territories die, nearby birds begin a battle royal to win the vacant spot. Researchers used radio tags to understand the immense effort woodpecker warriors expend traveling to and fighting in these dangerous battles. They also found spectator woodpeckers go to great lengths to collect social information, coming from kilometers around just to watch these chaotic power struggles. The work appears September 7 in the journal Current Biology. (2020-09-07)

Unmanned aerial vehicles help wheat breeders
Usually, breeders pick the best wheat lines by hand, but unmanned aerial vehicles that record certain measures of plant health can help breeders select wheat lines more efficiently. (2020-09-03)

Old males vital to elephant societies
Old male elephants play a key role in leading all-male groups, new research suggests. (2020-09-03)

Megafire does not deter Yosemite's spotted owls
A new study by researchers from The Institute for Bird Populations and Yosemite National Park found that California Spotted Owl numbers and nesting rates remained stable in areas of the park that were burned by the 2013 Rim Fire. The study suggests that Yosemite's owl population has benefited from the park's diverse forest habitats and restored fire regime, and that these factors have allowed them to thrive even after a major disturbance like a megafire. (2020-09-03)

Drones can be a source of disturbance to wintering waterbird flocks
Newly published research, carried out by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) in Scotland, shows that wintering waterbirds, such as ducks, geese, swans and wading birds can easily be scared into flight by drones. (2020-09-01)

Genetic link between cattle temperament and autism
Researchers have discovered that cattle share an overlap of genes with humans that are critical in brain function and response to fear stimuli. The results open the way for research conducted on behavioural traits in humans to shed further light on temperament in cattle. The study confirms that temperament has a significant genetic basis in cattle - around 35 per cent - and it is the first time a whole genome sequence has been used to analyse temperament in cattle. (2020-08-27)

New genetic markers of glucosinolates in rapeseed may help improve oil composition
A group of scientists performed a genetic analysis of the Russian rapeseed collection. The research was published in the Genes journal. Scientists described the genetic diversity of Russian rapeseed lines and discovered new candidate genes that are potentially involved in controlling the content of glucosinolates, toxic secondary metabolites in rapeseed oil. Their findings can be used by crop breeders to improve the rapeseed oil composition. (2020-08-27)

Songbirds reduce reproduction to help survive drought
New research from the University of Montana suggests tropical songbirds in both the Old and New Worlds reduce reproduction during severe droughts, and this - somewhat surprisingly -- may actually increase their survival rates. (2020-08-27)

Getting to the root of the problem
Researchers analyze bean root architecture for better crop breeding (2020-08-26)

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