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Current Plant Diversity News and Events, Plant Diversity News Articles.
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Richness of plant species reduces the number of viral infections in meadows
A new study indicates that agricultural activity confuses the mechanisms that regulate the occurrence of plant diseases in nature. A wider variety of virus species was found in meadows close to agricultural fields compared to those located in natural surroundings, with the richness of plant species having no effect on the number of virus species. However, maintaining biodiversity is worthwhile, as plant richness did reduce the number of viral infections in the meadows. (2021-02-08)

Microbiota transfer therapy for autism: Multi-omic approaches and lessons learned
Recent studies in mice and humans have revealed intriguing links between the composition of gut microbiota and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a disease believed to affect one in 54 children, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Dr. Krajmalnik-Brown's lecture will propose linkages between gut bacteria and ASD, highlighting encouraging results of a microbiome-targeted, ASD open-label clinical trial. (2021-02-08)

SSRgenotyper: A new tool to digitally genotype simple sequence repeats
Simple sequence repeats (SSRs) are common components of genomic DNA that are widely used in genetic studies at the level of populations and individuals. However, the process of genotyping SSRs -- determining which individuals have which alleles -- still relies on time-consuming and potentially hazardous lab-based methods. SSRgenotyper is a new software tool that automates the process of genotyping entirely from sequenced reads and generates multiple file types for further downstream analysis. (2021-02-05)

Special Issue: Human genome at 20
In February 2001, the first drafts of the human genome were published. (2021-02-04)

Pharmacologist offers plan to solve disparities in designing medicine
In a new perspective piece published in the Feb. 5 issue of Science, Johns Hopkins pharmacologist Namandje Bumpus, Ph.D., outlines the molecular origins for differences in how well certain drugs work among distinct populations. She also lays out a four-part plan to improve the equity of drug development. (2021-02-04)

In symbiosis: Plants control the genetics of microbes
Researchers from the University of Ottawa have discovered that plants may be able to control the genetics of their intimate root symbionts - the organism with which they live in symbiosis - thereby providing a better understanding of their growth. In addition to having a significant impact on all terrestrial ecosystems, their discovery may lead to improved eco-friendly agricultural applications. (2021-02-04)

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)

Some food contamination starts in the soil
Rice husk residue can prevent uptake of harmful elements in rice. (2021-02-03)

Flower diversity may mitigate insecticide effects on wild bees
A higher diversity of flowering plants increases the breeding success of wild bees and may help compensate for the negative effects of insecticides. This is what researchers from the Universities of Göttingen and Hohenheim, as well as the Julius Kühn Institute, have found in a large-scale experimental study. The results have been published in the scientific journal Ecology Letters. (2021-02-03)

Biodiversity is its own catalyst -- to a point
For decades, scientists have wrestled with rival theories to explain how interactions between species, like competition, influence biodiversity. Tracking microbial life across the planet, researchers from McGill University show that biodiversity does in fact foster further diversity in microbiomes that are initially less diverse. However, diversity rates plateau with increased competition for survival and space in more diverse microbiomes. (2021-02-03)

Fungus that eats fungus could help coffee farmers
Coffee rust is a parasitic fungus and a big problem for coffee growers around the world. A study in the birthplace of coffee - Ethiopia - shows that another fungus seems to have the capacity to supress the rust outbreaks in this landscape. (2021-02-03)

Curtin study finds native bees under threat from growing urbanization
Residential gardens are a poor substitute for native bushland and increasing urbanisation is a growing threat when it comes to bees, Curtin University research has found. Published in 'Urban Ecosystems', the research looked at bee visits to flowers, which form pollination networks across different native bushland and home garden habitats. (2021-02-02)

How plants stabilize their water pipes
New techniques allow live-observation of forming cell walls in the vascular tissue (2021-02-02)

Study challenges ecology's 'Field of Dreams' hypothesis
A new study challenges the ''Field of Dreams'' hypothesis in restoration ecology, which predicts that restoring plant biodiversity will lead to recovery of animal biodiversity. The study of restored tallgrass prairie found the effects of management strategies (specifically controlled burns and bison reintroduction) on animal communities were six times stronger on average than the effects of plant biodiversity. (2021-02-02)

Research catches up to world's fastest-growing plant
Wolffia, also known as duckweed, is the fastest-growing plant known, but the genetics underlying this strange little plant's success have long been a mystery to scientists. A multi-investigator effort led by scientists from the Salk Institute is reporting new findings about the plant's genome that explain how it's able to grow so fast. (2021-02-01)

Alpine plants at risk of extinction following disappearing glaciers
Nearly a quarter of Italian alpine plant species are threatened by glacier retreat, according to a new study from Stanford University. Glaciers around the world are predicted to disappear within the next decade and the consequences for the plants, animals and societies surrounding them are still uncertain. By combining historical records, current surveys and computational models, the researchers' findings may help guide conservation efforts. (2021-01-29)

Reindeer lichens are having more sex than expected
Scientists thought that reindeer lichens (moss-looking organisms that form a major part of reindeer diets) reproduced mainly asexually by cloning themselves. But it turns out, reindeer lichens are having a lot more sex than scientists expected. In a new study, researchers found that the reindeer lichens they examined have unexpected levels of genetic diversity, indicating that the lichens have been doing more gene-mixing with each other than the scientists would have guessed. (2021-01-29)

New research about emerging 'COVID-19 personality types'
New research just published identifies and explores the impacts of salient viral or COVID-19 behavioural identities that are emerging. (2021-01-29)

Wood formation can now be followed in real-time -- and possibly serve the climate of tomorrow
A genetic engineering method makes it possible to observe how woody cell walls are built in plants. The new research in wood formation, conducted by the University of Copenhagen and others, opens up the possibility of developing sturdier construction materials and perhaps more climate efficient trees. (2021-01-28)

How climate caprices can trigger plants
Climate change may challenge organismal responses through not only extreme cues. An uncommon combination of benign cues - warm and short days - can also trigger reactions such as misregulations of leaves. (2021-01-27)

Key switchgrass genes identified, which could mean better biofuels ahead
Biologists believe they are one step closer to a long-held goal of making a cheap, widely available plant a source for energy and fuel, meaning one of the next big weapons in the battle against climate change may be able to trace its roots to the side of a Texas highway. The complex genome analysis of switchgrass is explained in a new paper in Nature. (2021-01-27)

Fields of breeders' dreams: A team effort toward targeted crop improvements
In Nature, a team led by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, and the DOE Joint Genome Institute has produced a high-quality reference sequence of the complex switchgrass genome. Building off this work, researchers at DOE Bioenergy Research Centers are exploring targeted genome editing techniques to customize the crop. (2021-01-27)

Growth of northern Tibet proved the key to East Asian biodiversity
In a recent study, a joint research team led by scientists from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of Bristol (UK) and the Open University (UK) has revealed the first direct mechanism explaining how the growth of mountains in Northern Tibet drastically altered climate, vegetation and plant diversity in East Asia. (2021-01-27)

Pioneering research unravels hidden origins of Eastern Asia's 'land of milk and honey'
A study has revealed for the first time the ancient origins of one of the world's most important ecosystems by unlocking the mechanism which determined the evolution of its mountains and how they shaped the weather there as well as its flora and fauna. (2021-01-27)

Building a corn cob--cell by cell, gene by gene
CSHL scientists analyzed where and when thousands of genes are activated in baby corn. This allowed them to build an anatomical map of important developmental genes that can be manipulated to improve crop yield and resilience. (2021-01-26)

Litter provides habitat for diverse animal communities in rivers, study finds
In a study of local rivers, experts at the University of Nottingham in the UK have discovered more invertebrates - animals without a backbone, such as insects and snails - living on litter than on rocks. (2021-01-25)

Anti-freeze for cell membranes
Mosses and flowering plants took different genetic routes to evolve a similar defense mechanism. (2021-01-25)

The surprises of color evolution
Nature is full of colour. For flowers, displaying colour is primarily a means to attract pollinators. Insects use their colour vision not only to locate the right flowers to feed on but also to find mates. The evolutionary interaction between insects and plants has created complex dependencies that can have surprising outcomes. Casper van der Kooi, a biologist at the University of Groningen, uses an interdisciplinary approach to analyse the interaction between pollinators and flowers. (2021-01-25)

New variety of paintbrush lily developed by a novel plant tissue culture technique
Scientists at Hokkaido University and Chiba University have developed simultaneous triploid and hexaploid varieties of Haemanthus albiflos by the application of endosperm culture, thus extending the use of this technique. (2021-01-22)

Fungi strengthen plants to fend off aphids
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have demonstrated that unique fungi strengthen the ''immune systems'' of wheat and bean plants against aphids. Fungi enter and influence the amount of a plant's own defences, resulting in fewer aphids. The results could serve to reduce agricultural insecticide use and bring Denmark a step further along the path towards its green transition. (2021-01-22)

Genetic sequence for parasitic flowering plant Sapria
A team of Harvard-led researchers presented the most complete genome yet assembled of one of the major Rafflesiaceae lineages, Sapria himalayana. (2021-01-22)

UMD researcher expands plant genome editing with newly engineered variant of CRISPR-Cas9
Recently named a Web of Science 2020 Highly Cited Researcher, Yiping Qi of the University of Maryland already has a new high-profile publication in 2021 introducing SpRY, a newly engineered variant of the famed gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9. SpRY removes the barriers of what can and can't be targeted for gene editing, making it possible for the first time to target nearly any genomic sequence in plants for potential mutation. (2021-01-22)

Could lab-grown plant tissue ease the environmental toll of logging and agriculture?
MIT researchers have proposed a method for growing plant-based materials, like wood and fiber, in a lab. The technology is still in early development but might one day help reduce the environmental footprint of some types of agriculture. (2021-01-21)

Novel effector biology research provides insights into devastating citrus greening disease
Ma and her colleagues at the University of California and the University of Florida used molecular plant pathology approaches to dissect the mechanisms of the ongoing tug-of-war between the citrus host and the bacterial pathogen that causes citrus greening disease. (2021-01-21)

Seeds transfer their microbes to the next generation
Scientists have been pondering if the microbiome of plants is due to nature or nurture. Research at Stockholm University, published in Environmental Microbiology, showed that oak acorns contain a large diversity of microbes, and that oak seedlings inherit their microbiome from these acorns. The microorganisms found on the seed are often valuable for the plant, promoting its growth and protecting it against certain diseases. Each plant species harbours a distinct microbial community. (2021-01-21)

Methods in studying cycad leaf nutrition found to be inconsistent and incomplete
Collective research to date regarding nutrients found in the leaves of contemporary cycad species has been inconsistent as far as data collection and narrow in scope, according to a University of Guam-led literature review published on Nov. 19 in Horticulturae journal. (2021-01-21)

Getting shapes into numbers
A mathematical framework enables accurate characterization of shapes (2021-01-20)

Dinosaur-era sea lizard had teeth like a shark
New study identifies a bizarre new species suggesting that giant marine lizards thrived before the asteroid wiped them out 66 million years ago. (2021-01-19)

New heat method kills pathogens with minimal damage to plants
Turechek and colleagues set out to develop a new heat-based treatment that would kill pathogens without hurting the plant. When asked what most excited them about their research and their new method, Turechek responded, 'That it works! By introducing a lower-temperature conditioning step and using steam rather than hot water, we produced plants that were better able to withstand the higher temperature treatment designed to destroy the pathogen.' (2021-01-19)

New biodegradable polyurethane foams are developed from wheat straw
The polyurethane foams have several industrial uses. Now, a new paper, published on the front page of Polymers, was able to obtain them from biomass in order to avoid using petroleum by-products in their manufacturing (2021-01-19)

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