Current Fruit News and Events

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New research on mitochondrial function can play significant part in serious disease
Disorders of the cells' energy supply can cause a number of serious diseases, but also seem to be connected to ageing. More research is needed on mitochondrial function to find future treatments. A new study involving researchers at Karolinska Institutet shows how an important molecule inside the mitochondria affects their function in mice and fruit flies. The study, which is published in Science Advances, adds valuable knowledge on formerly relatively unexplored protein modifications. (2021-02-19)

Invasive flies prefer untouched territory when laying eggs
A recent study finds that the invasive spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) prefers to lay its eggs in places that no other spotted wing flies have visited. The finding raises questions about how the flies can tell whether a piece of fruit is virgin territory - and what that might mean for pest control. (2021-02-15)

'Sex, lasers and male competition:' fruit flies win genetic race with rivals
Male fruit flies with the most impressive sexual ornamentation also have super sperm that can outcompete that of rivals in the post-mating fertilization game. (2021-02-12)

Wake-up call for neural stem cells
A brain enzyme activates dormant neural stem cells, revealing how defects in its gene could lead to neurodevelopmental disorders. (2021-02-11)

Infant and toddler food product names may not accurately reflect ingredient amounts
The descriptions on the fronts of infant and toddler food packages may not accurately reflect the actual ingredient amounts, according to new research. (2021-02-10)

Food waste researcher: We must learn that brown fruit isn't bad fruit
We tend to avoid choosing apples with brown spots, assuming that they taste bad. But if we are to end food waste, we'll need to upend that assumption. UCPH researcher emphasizes that there's nothing wrong with oddly shaped or bruised apples. (2021-02-08)

Thoughts on plant genomes
The growing world population and the challenges posed by climate change make the control of these natural resources one of the most crucial issues for all humanity in the future. In this regard, genome sequence information is of fundamental importance for understanding natural diversity and evolution of living organisms as well as for the design of breeding strategies aimed to produce new varieties with suitable traits. (2021-02-03)

Territorial, expert navigators: The black howler monkeys of Mexico
New research published this week in the journal Animal Behaviour reveals the advanced navigation and memory skills of black howler monkeys. (2021-01-29)

Scientists spotted RPS-12 protein as a potential target for anti-cancer therapy
Using the developing eye of the fruit fly as a test platform, researchers found that RPS-12 protein overproduction appears to trigger triple-negative breast cancer and possibly some other malignancies. The protein indirectly switches on an important inracellular signaling pathway active while the embryo develops and shut down in healthy cells of adults. Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), the University of Geneva, and the Institute of Protein Research (Russia) scientists addressed the problem in Scientific Reports. (2021-01-29)

Genes that dance to the circadian rhythm
Scientists at EPFL have made breakthrough discoveries on the circadian clock and how it affects gene expression. Some of the findings suggest a biological underpinning for different behaviors in people, such as morning people, nappers, evening people, night owls etc. (2021-01-29)

Concordia researchers find melatonin is effective against polycystic kidney disease
Melatonin, a hormone commonly associated with sleep-wake regulation, has been found to reduce cysts in fruit flies, according to Concordia researchers. It's a finding that may affect the way we treat some kidney diseases and reduce the need for kidney transplants. (2021-01-26)

Proteins unspool DNA so cells can take on unique properties
New research reveals how proteins, called 'pioneer transcription factors,' help turn on key genes that give cell types their unique properties and functions. (2021-01-22)

Common pesticides stop bees and flies from getting a good night's sleep
Just like us, many insects need a decent night's sleep to function properly, but this might not be possible if they have been exposed to neonicotinoid insecticides, the most common form of insecticide used worldwide, suggests research by academics at the University of Bristol. (2021-01-21)

School-made lunch 'better' for children
Packing a lunchbox with fruit, sandwiches, and snacks is common practice for most Australian families. But what if there was another way? Flinders University researchers investigating the pros and cons of school-provided lunches say uniform delivery of lunchtime food at school could be a solution to better childhood nutrition and learning in Australia. (2021-01-21)

Deep sleep takes out the trash
By examining fruit flies' brain activity and behavior, the researchers found that deep sleep has an ancient, restorative power to clear waste from the brain. This waste potentially includes toxic proteins that may lead to neurodegenerative disease. (2021-01-20)

How dietary choice influences lifespan in fruit flies
Having a choice of foods may accelerate aging and shorten the lifespan of fruit flies, according to a study published today in the open-access eLife journal. (2021-01-19)

Better diet and glucose uptake in the brain lead to longer life in fruit flies
Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have discovered that fruit flies with genetic modifications to enhance glucose uptake have significantly longer lifespans. Looking at the brain cells of aging flies, they found that better glucose uptake compensates for age-related deterioration in motor functions, and led to longer life. The effect was more pronounced when coupled with dietary restrictions. This suggests healthier eating plus improved glucose uptake in the brain might lead to enhanced lifespans. (2021-01-16)

Large mammals make soil more fertile in tropical forests
A study conducted by scientists at São Paulo State University demonstrates that animals like peccaries and tapirs boost soil levels of nitrogen, an essential element to plant growth. (2021-01-15)

The regulatory network of sugar and organic acid in watermelon fruit is revealed
The innovation project watermelon and melon cultivation and physiology team of Zhengzhou Fruit Research Institute has made new progress in the metabolism regulation of sugar and organic acid in watermelon fruit. (2021-01-14)

A fly's eye view of evolution
The fascinating compound eyes of insects consist of hundreds of individual eyes known as ''facets''. In the course of evolution, an enormous variety of sizes and shapes has emerged, often adaptations to different environmental conditions. Scientists, led by a research group at Göttingen University have now shown that these differences can be caused by very different changes in the genome of fruit flies. The study was published in Molecular Biology and Evolution. (2021-01-13)

Mathematics explains how giant whirlpools form in developing egg cells
Cell-spanning whirlpools in the immature egg cells of animals such as mice, zebrafish and fruit flies quickly mix the cells' innards, but scientists didn't know how these flows form. Using mathematical modeling, researchers have found an answer. The gyres result from the collective behavior of rodlike molecular tubes called microtubules that extend inward from the cells' membranes, the researchers report. (2021-01-13)

Which came first, sleep or the brain?
In work that could help unravel the origin of sleep, an international team of researchers led by Kyushu University has shown that tiny, water-dwelling hydras not only show signs of a sleep-like state despite lacking central nervous systems but also respond to molecules associated with sleep in more evolved animals. The new results suggest that many sleep-related mechanisms developed before the brain and may have been conserved during the evolution of central nervous systems. (2021-01-08)

Protein tells developing cells to stick together
Tohoku University scientists have, for the first time, provided experimental evidence that cell stickiness helps them stay sorted within correct compartments during development. How tightly cells clump together, known as cell adhesion, appears to be enabled by a protein better known for its role in the immune system. The findings were detailed in the journal Nature Communications. (2020-12-24)

Otago study identifies 'three pillars' of good mental health for young adults
Getting good quality sleep, exercising, and eating more raw fruits and vegetables predicts better mental health and well-being in young adults, a University of Otago study has found. (2020-12-15)

What makes peppers blush
Bright red, tasty and healthy, that's how we know and love bell peppers. In a first, the team headed by Professor Sacha Baginsky from the Chair for Plant Biochemistry at Ruhr University (RUB) has deciphered in detail at the protein level what makes them turn red as they ripen. At the heart of the project are the so-called plastids, typical plant cell organelles in which chlorophyll is broken down and carotenoids are produced as the fruit ripens. (2020-12-14)

A human gene placed in fruit flies reveals details about a human developmental disorder
Meier-Gorlin syndrome, or MGS, is a rare genetic developmental disorder that causes dwarfism, small ears, a small brain, missing patella and other skeletal abnormalities. One mutation causing MGS, first reported in 2017, is a Lysine 23 to Glutamic acid (K23E) substitution in the gene for Orc6. Researchers have now put that mutant human gene into fruit flies to probe the function of Orc6 K23E. (2020-12-14)

Synthetic llama antibodies rescue doomed proteins inside cells
Columbia researchers created a new technology using synthetic llama antibodies to protect endangered proteins inside cells. The technology could treat dozens of diseases. (2020-12-07)

Tweaking carotenoid genes helps tomatoes bring their a-game
Researchers led by the University of Tsukuba demonstrated that Target-AID gene editing technology can be used to simultaneously introduce single-base changes into multiple genes in tomatoes. Using this technique, the researchers altered three genes associated with carotenoid accumulation, resulting in elevated levels of carotenoids, particularly lycopene, in the resulting tomato lines. This technology will allow tomato breeders to introduce multiple advantageous gene changes into elite commercial cultivars, bypassing lengthy back-crossing steps between generations. (2020-12-01)

Rock-a-bye fly: Why vibrations lead to sleepiness
Researchers discover that gentle vibration can induce sleep in flies through a simple form of learning (2020-12-01)

Tomato's wild ancestor is a genomic reservoir for plant breeders
Today's tomatoes are larger and easier to farm than their wild ancestor, but they also are less resistant to disease and environmental stresses like drought and salty soil. Researchers from Boyce Thompson Institute created a high-quality genome for the ancestor, discovering structural variants that are involved in fruit flavor, size and ripening, stress tolerance and disease resistance. Plant breeders could use the resource to develop tomatoes that taste better, are more nutritious and more resilient. (2020-12-01)

Eating dried fruit may be linked with better diet quality and health markers
Penn State research found that people who ate dried fruit were generally healthier than those who did not, and on days when people ate dried fruit they consumed greater amounts of some key nutrients than on days when they skipped. However, they also found that people consumed more total calories on days when they ate dried fruit. (2020-11-24)

Sestrin makes fruit flies live longer
Researchers identify positive effector behind reduced food intake. (2020-11-24)

BICRA gene provides answers to patients, doctors and scientists
Researchers identified the BICRA gene as a new disease gene involved in a neurodevelopmental disorder and found evidence that BICRA functions in neural development in humans and flies. (2020-11-23)

The very hungry, angry caterpillars
In the absence of milkweed--their favorite food--monarch butterfly caterpillars (Danaus plexippus) go from peaceful feeders to aggressive fighters. Researchers reporting in the journal iScience on November 19 observed that caterpillars with less access to food were more likely to lunge at others to knock them aside, and caterpillars were most aggressive during the final stages before metamorphosis. (2020-11-19)

Small differences, big impact
In a new study, researchers at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research have identified a handful of variations in an amino acid sequence critical for retaining the ancestral function of a gene over the course of 600 million years of evolution. (2020-11-17)

Sugar work: U-M study finds sugar remodels molecular memory in fruit flies
A high-sugar diet reprograms the taste cells in fruit flies, dulling their sensitivity to sugar and leaving a ''molecular memory'' on their tongues, according to a University of Michigan study. (2020-11-11)

In flies, consuming high-sugar diet reduces sensitivity to sweetness
In fruit flies fed a high-sugar diet for one week, a complex that regulates taste-related sensory neurons reprogrammed the neurons to make the flies less sensitive to sweet taste. Half of these changes were not reversed even after the flies returned to a control diet, the study shows, suggesting flies' perception of sweet taste was permanently altered. Anoumid Vaziri and (2020-11-11)

One third of UK fruit and vegetables are imported from climate-vulnerable countries
One third of UK fruit and vegetables are imported from climate-vulnerable countries - and this is on the rise. Researchers call for a radical rethink of our trade strategies to ensure people in the UK have continued access to fruit and vegetables. (2020-11-09)

Natural enemy of Asian fruit fly - previously thought to be one species - is in fact two
CABI scientists have led new research which reveals strong evidence that a natural enemy of the prolific Asian fruit fly Drosphila suzukii - previously believed to be one species - is in fact two with only one of the parasitoid proving suitable as a biological control agent against the pest. (2020-11-05)

Nervous systems of insects inspire efficient future AI systems
Study explores functions of fruit fly's nervous system in food seeking / results valuable for the development and control of artificial intelligence. (2020-11-05)

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