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  • April 4, 2017
  • 06:00 PM
  • 193 views

New rice fights off drought

by adam phillips in It Ain't Magic

Researchers have created drought resistant transgenic rice using a gene from a small Eurasian flowering plant.... Read more »

  • March 27, 2017
  • 11:05 AM
  • 34 views

Being multilingual in clinic

by Madalena Cruz-Ferreira in Being Multilingual

When we feel that we’re not feeling quite like ourselves, we may choose to consult a specialist in (un)well-being to find out what might be going on. Our decision will draw on what feeling well has felt like to us, which is our baseline for comparison. In order to decide that we’re unwell, in other words, we compare ourselves to ourselves.Children can’t make decisions of this kind on their own, so we adults will have to step in on their behalf. But who are ‘we’? We parents may resort t........ Read more »

Cruz-Ferreira, M. (2012) Sociolinguistic and cultural considerations when working with multilingual children. In S. McLeod . info:/

  • March 26, 2017
  • 11:25 AM
  • 136 views

Textbook languages

by Madalena Cruz-Ferreira in Being Multilingual

P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } Wanting to learn a language doesn’t always result in learning the language that we want. This is so even when the language that we want to learn and the one that we end up learning go by the same name – let’s call it X. One reason for this is that most language teaching proceeds through what we’ve come to identify as the language’s holy writ, namely, the X textbook. A textbook is a book. Like all books, it uses printed modes of language, with two consequ........ Read more »

  • November 1, 2016
  • 11:00 AM
  • 326 views

Giant pumpkins and other massive fruits

by Alice Breda in la-Plumeria

In the form of a creepy Jack-o’-lantern frightening kids who seek for treats, or of a creamy soup in a cold fall night, pumpkins are the most distinctive fruits we find on the market stands in this season. But this fruit, in its larger variants, is also at the center of a special type of competition that takes place every year. A group of fierce farmers equipped with large scales and the heaviest products of their fields meet up to determine who among them was able to grow the largest pump........ Read more »

  • September 9, 2016
  • 09:55 AM
  • 440 views

The deep history of barley breeding

by Luigi in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

A recent paper reported on the discovery of a bit of the barley genome where an allele from the wild relative, when homozygous, confers a 30% yield advantage over a popular German variety under saline conditions.1 That of course is very interesting in its own right, but I want here to delve a bit into the methods, rather than the results.... Read more »

  • September 7, 2016
  • 03:16 AM
  • 408 views

The recent history of summer squashes

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

So you’re telling me that sixteenth century Italian gardeners selected long, thin squashes from among those brought back to Europe from the Americas (actually two different places in the Americas) in conscious imitation of the bottle gourds they had used for centuries? And somehow kept them separate from other cucurbits so that they bred true? […]... Read more »

  • September 6, 2016
  • 03:30 AM
  • 349 views

Home is where conservation begins

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

Thanks to Jade Philips (see her on fieldwork below) and Åsmund Asdal, two of the authors, for contributing this post on their recent paper on the conservation of crop wild relatives in Norway. Norway may be an unlikely spot in which to look for agrobiodiversity, but seek and ye shall find. A recent paper discusses […]... Read more »

Phillips, J., Asdal, A., Magos Brehm, J., Rasmussen, M., & Maxted, N. (2016) In situ and ex situ diversity analysis of priority crop wild relatives in Norway. Diversity and Distributions. DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12470  

  • August 3, 2016
  • 02:45 PM
  • 812 views

Why Do People Choose Certain Dogs?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Many factors go into people’s choice of dogs. Animal welfare isn’t always top of the list, but could this change?English Bulldogs only live six years, according to a recent paper that highlights the lack of genetic diversity in this breed (Pederson et al 2016). Karin Brulliard of the Washington Post spoke to one of the authors of the study, Niels Pederson. “There are genetic diseases that [breeders] could test for, but they choose not to. Which means they’re more interested in the coat c........ Read more »

Asher, L., Diesel, G., Summers, J., McGreevy, P., & Collins, L. (2009) Inherited defects in pedigree dogs. Part 1: Disorders related to breed standards. The Veterinary Journal, 182(3), 402-411. DOI: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2009.08.033  

Diverio, S., Boccini, B., Menchetti, L., & Bennett, P. (2016) The Italian perception of the ideal companion dog. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 27-35. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2016.02.004  

King, T., Marston, L., & Bennett, P. (2009) Describing the ideal Australian companion dog. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 120(1-2), 84-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2009.04.011  

Lampe, R., & Witte, T. (2014) Speed of Dog Adoption: Impact of Online Photo Traits. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 18(4), 343-354. DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2014.982796  

Mornement, K., Coleman, G., Toukhsati, S., & Bennett, P. (2012) What Do Current and Potential Australian Dog Owners Believe about Shelter Practices and Shelter Dogs?. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 25(4), 457-473. DOI: 10.2752/175303712X13479798785850  

Pedersen, N., Pooch, A., & Liu, H. (2016) A genetic assessment of the English bulldog. Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, 3(1). DOI: 10.1186/s40575-016-0036-y  

Waller, B., Peirce, K., Caeiro, C., Scheider, L., Burrows, A., McCune, S., & Kaminski, J. (2013) Paedomorphic Facial Expressions Give Dogs a Selective Advantage. PLoS ONE, 8(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082686  

  • July 21, 2016
  • 10:08 AM
  • 776 views

The decline of biodiversity: Past the point of no return?

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Mohi looks up at her mother. Confused. Afraid. Mother had always said that she had to keep her filtration veil on when they left their housedome. But now, here stood her mother, unveiled. The woman gifted an encouraging nod to her young daughter. Mohi removed her veil. Air! Light! The freshness of the breeze and […]... Read more »

Steffen W, Richardson K, Rockström J, Cornell SE, Fetzer I, Bennett EM, Biggs R, Carpenter SR, de Vries W, de Wit CA.... (2015) Sustainability. Planetary boundaries: guiding human development on a changing planet. Science, 347(6223). PMID: 25592418  

Newbold T, Hudson LN, Arnell AP, Contu S, De Palma A, Ferrier S, Hill SL, Hoskins AJ, Lysenko I, Phillips HR.... (2016) Has land use pushed terrestrial biodiversity beyond the planetary boundary? A global assessment. Science, 353(6296), 288-91. PMID: 27418509  

Oliver TH. (2016) How much biodiversity loss is too much?. Science, 353(6296), 220-1. PMID: 27418489  

  • April 28, 2016
  • 09:33 AM
  • 831 views

Breathing Bordeaux is entirely different from drinking it!

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

It was the summer of 1882, and grape farmers in the Médoc region of southwest France (north of Bordeaux, on the Atlantic coast) had a problem.Schoolchildren (or university students, or just anyone travelling the roads along which the grapevines grew, depending on what source you're reading) were pilfering their grapes. To try and ward them off, some farmers decided to dissolve some slaked lime and copper sulfate in water and spray it on their grapevines closest to the roads. The idea was... Read more »

  • February 25, 2016
  • 11:21 AM
  • 381 views

Why we may lose bananas, again

by Alice Breda in la-Plumeria

Bananas are yellow, smiling and fluorescent, they are used as a unit to measure low doses of radioactivity and over a hundred million tons of them are eaten in the world every year. However, a rapidly spreading disease is threatening the existence of this beloved fruit that might completely from the market. And it’s not the first time.

The history of bananas began in South East Asia, where highest diversity of wild species and cultivated varieties is still present. Some of them are red,........ Read more »

Ordonez, N., Seidl, M., Waalwijk, C., Drenth, A., Kilian, A., Thomma, B., Ploetz, R., & Kema, G. (2015) Worse Comes to Worst: Bananas and Panama Disease—When Plant and Pathogen Clones Meet. PLOS Pathogens, 11(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005197  

  • December 18, 2015
  • 08:28 AM
  • 785 views

Kiss Me Under the Parasitic Angiosperm

by Stephanie Swift in mmmbitesizescience

Mistletoe is held in high regard at this time of year. No Christmas decorations are complete without a garland of cheerful mistletoe hanging on the door, or suspended prettily from the rafters as an incentive for festive romance. In nature, … Continue reading →... Read more »

Petersen G, Cuenca A, Møller IM, & Seberg O. (2015) Massive gene loss in mistletoe (Viscum, Viscaceae) mitochondria. Scientific Reports, 17588. PMID: 26625950  

  • November 12, 2015
  • 12:47 PM
  • 1,126 views

Savin juniper likes mountains and dislikes diabetes

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

In mountainous regions throughout much of Europe and Asia there grows an evergreen shrub by the name of Juniperus sabina (savin juniper). Being a juniper, it produces berry-like cones and is occasionally infected by members of everyone's favourite genus of sinister orange tentacled fungi, Gymnosporangium.This shrub takes no prisoners (Source)Crushing the leaves of J. sabina produces a strong unpleasant odour, a harbinger of the ability of the plant to poison many of the creatures who consume it......... Read more »

  • November 5, 2015
  • 05:27 PM
  • 817 views

The wonderful yields of crop buddies

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Ever since we stopped roaming and started farming, we've been looking for ways to improve our harvests. One old school approach is to grow plants close to one another, otherwise known as polyculture. Whether it's two crops, three crops, or a crop and a beneficial but not otherwise harvestable plant, farmers have long realized the botanical buddy system results in larger plants producing more seeds (read: more food).Compared to monoculture (growing a single crop over a large area, e.g. your typic........ Read more »

  • September 4, 2015
  • 11:59 AM
  • 1,064 views

Bacteria from tobacco plant roots provide protection against sudden-wilt disease

by Betty Zou in Eat, Read, Science

A new study from the Max Planck Institute shows how root-associated bacteria can rescue plants from sudden-wilt disease. The authors conducted laboratory and field testing to show that treating seeds with a mixture of six native bacterial species significantly reduces plant mortality.... Read more »

Berendsen, R., Pieterse, C., & Bakker, P. (2012) The rhizosphere microbiome and plant health. Trends in Plant Science, 17(8), 478-486. DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2012.04.001  

Santhanam R, Luu VT, Weinhold A, Goldberg J, Oh Y, & Baldwin IT. (2015) Native root-associated bacteria rescue a plant from a sudden-wilt disease that emerged during continuous cropping. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26305938  

  • August 26, 2015
  • 11:41 AM
  • 908 views

Inadvertently edible tiny food-based animals

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Bacteria and fungi are basically everywhere, so it's not much of a surprise to find them in food. Heck, unless they're Salmonella or have managed to multiply to the point of being visible or stinking things up, we usually don't care. Moving up a bit on the size scale, there are a couple of tiny animals inhabiting foods we eat. These include itty bitty worms living in artisanal vinegars and mites residing upon classy European cheeses.The vinegar eelworm (Turbatrix aceti) is a resilient microbe-ea........ Read more »

  • August 24, 2015
  • 04:05 PM
  • 1,201 views

Argania spinosa has goat ornaments and makes a useful oil

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Argania spinosa (argan) is a tough little tree endemic to a limited area in southwestern Morocco and a bit of very western Algeria (Tindouf). Patchy forests of the tree cover about 800,000 hectares of the semi-arid Sous valley. These represent a unique biotope and have been designated a fancy UNESCO biosphere reserve. The presence of the forests slows desertification, as the drought-resistant trees act to stabilize the soil. Argan trees can live up to 250 years and are able to make do ........ Read more »

Monfalouti HE, Guillaume D, Denhez C, & Charrouf Z. (2010) Therapeutic potential of argan oil: A review. The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 62(12), 1669-75. PMID: 21054392  

Paris C, Herin F, Reboux G, Penven E, Barrera C, Guidat C, & Thaon I. (2015) Working with argan cake: A new etiology for hypersensitivity pneumonitis. BMC Pulmonary Medicine, 18. PMID: 25888313  

  • July 31, 2015
  • 10:00 AM
  • 1,275 views

How to make rice healthier for you and the environment

by Betty Zou in Eat, Read, Science

An innovative way of cooking rice that removes more arsenic than the conventional method and a new strain of high-starch, low-methane rice are discussed.... Read more »

  • July 8, 2015
  • 11:35 AM
  • 1,367 views

Colour changing fruits and veggies

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

The fleshy parts of plants we eat tend to change colour. This can be due to ripening (e.g. various berries turning red as they mature), intentional injury (e.g. apple slices turning brown after being cut), or changing external pH (e.g. red cabbage turning pink in vinegar). Let's look a bit at how and why this happens using a couple of examples.Strawberry fruit develops through green, white, and red stages. These correspond to changing levels of chlorophyll, anthocyanins, flavonoids, tannins, and........ Read more »

  • June 24, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 1,199 views

Going for a Song? The Price of Pet Birds

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

The price of birds for sale in pet stores in Taiwan sheds light on legal (and illegal) trade, with consequences for native wildlife. Taiwan is an interesting place to study birds. Songbirds are kept for singing competitions, and there is a tradition of taking caged birds out for a walk (‘bird walking’). As in other Asian countries, birds and other animals are set free in order to make merit (prayer release), potentially adding significantly to the numbers of alien birds living wild. The........ Read more »

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