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The Lead

New Technique Will Accelerate Genetic Characterization of Photosynthesis

April 16, 2014 1:26 pm | News | Comments

Photosynthesis provides fixed carbon and energy for nearly all life on Earth, yet many aspects of this fascinating process remain mysterious. For example, little is known about how it is regulated in response to changes in light intensity. More fundamentally, we do not know the full list of the parts of the molecular machines that perform photosynthesis in any organism.

Discovery Could Yield More Efficient Plants for Biofuels

March 18, 2014 2:55 pm | News | Comments

Genetically modifying a key protein complex in plants could lead to improved crops for the...

Small-RNA Pathway Defends Genome Against the Enemy Within

March 17, 2014 1:50 pm | News | Comments

Reproductive cells, such as an egg and sperm, join to form stem cells that can mature into any...

Genetic Discovery to Keep Crops Disease-free

February 10, 2014 1:45 pm | News | Comments

Curtin University researchers have found a way to breed disease-resistant wheat with no downside...

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RNA Sequencing of 750-year-old Barley Virus Sheds New Light on the Crusades

February 6, 2014 3:51 pm | News | Comments

Scientists have for the first time sequenced an ancient RNA genomeof a barley virus once believed to be only 150 years old— pushing its origin back at least 2,000 years and revealing how intense farming at the time of the Crusades contributed to its spread.

Nuts Were All Our Big Brains Needed Millions of Years Ago

January 22, 2014 9:35 am | by Cynthia Fox | Articles | Comments

Nuts are in the news: a recent study has offered evidence for a big reason our bodies are so nuts for nuts. They are apparently almost all our big brains needed to survive— thus almost all we ate— from 1.4 to 2.4 million years ago.    

Researchers Differentiate Between Microbial Good and Evil

January 9, 2014 11:48 am | News | Comments

To safely use bacteria in agriculture to help fertilize crops, it is vital to understand the difference between harmful and healthy strains. But can the microbial good and evil be told apart? Yes, life scientists and an international team of researchers report.

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New Invasive Plant Parasitic Nematode in Europe

December 30, 2013 9:33 am | News | Comments

Following its recent synonymisation with Meloidogyne ulmi, a species known to parasitize elm trees in Europe, it has become clear that M. mali has been in the Netherlands for more than fifty years. Evidences given by the authors suggest that M. mali was probably introduced during the breeding program on Elms against the Dutch Elm Disease (DED).

Significant Step Forward in Biofuels Quest

December 23, 2013 11:53 am | News | Comments

Scientists at the University of York have made a significant step in the search to develop effective second generation biofuels. Researchers from the Department of Chemistry at York have discovered a family of enzymes that can degrade hard-to-digest biomass into its constituent sugars.

Some Plants May Not Adapt to Climate Change

December 23, 2013 10:56 am | News | Comments

Using the largest dated evolutionary tree of flowering plants ever assembled, a new study suggests how plants developed traits to withstand low temperatures, with implications that human-induced climate change may pose a bigger threat than initially thought to plants and global agriculture.

Marijuana Users Show Brain Changes Similar to Schizophrenia

December 17, 2013 10:49 am | News | Comments

Teens who were heavy marijuana users- smoking it daily for about three years- had abnormal changes in their brain structures related to working memory and performed poorly on memory tasks, according to a new study.           

Probing the Link Between Parkinson’s, Pesticides

December 4, 2013 11:37 am | News | Comments

In a seemingly simple experiment, a scientist exposes rats to a certain pesticide over several days, and the rodents start showing symptoms remarkably similar to those seen in Parkinson’s patients.               

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Cannabinoids Can Limit Neurological Stroke Damage

December 3, 2013 11:58 am | News | Comments

Chemical compounds found in cannabis, some of which also occur naturally in the body, may help to reduce brain damage following a stroke, new research has revealed.                         

Scientists Capture 'Redox Moments' in Living Cells

November 26, 2013 11:11 am | News | Comments

Scientists have charted a significant signaling network in a tiny organism that's big in the world of biofuels research.                                     

Allergies Linked to Increased Blood Cancer Risk

November 25, 2013 2:45 pm | News | Comments

A team of scientists looking into the interplay of the immune system and cancer have found a link between a history of airborne allergies– in particular to plants, grass and trees– with risk of blood cancers in women.         

Nuts Can Lower Cancer, Heart Death Risk

November 20, 2013 6:34 pm | by MARILYNN MARCHIONE - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Help yourself to some nuts this holiday season: Regular nut eaters were less likely to die of cancer or heart disease — in fact, were less likely to die of any cause — during a 30-year Harvard study.               

'Experimental' Islet Transplantation Gains Momentum

November 15, 2013 12:06 pm | News | Comments

For the worst cases of type 1 diabetes, islet transplantation already has freed hundreds of people from complete dependence on insulin and from life-threatening consequences of the disease. However, the procedure still is regarded as experimental by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Can Certain Herbs Stave Off Alzheimer’s Disease?

November 15, 2013 11:58 am | News | Comments

Enhanced extracts made from special antioxidants in spearmint and rosemary improve learning and memory, a study in an animal model has found.                                   

Engineered Tomatoes Target Lipids, Improve Cholesterol

November 14, 2013 12:34 pm | News | Comments

Tiny amounts of a specific type of lipid in the small intestine may play a greater role than previously thought in contributing to clogged arteries. Researchers were able to reduce the negative effects of these lipids in mice by feeding them a genetically engineered tomato, designed to mimic HDL ("good") cholesterol.

'Tearless' Onions Could Help Fight Heart Disease

November 6, 2013 1:11 pm | News | Comments

Onions now come in a tearless version that scientists are now reporting could pack extra health benefits like their close relative, garlic, which is renowned for protecting against heart disease.               

Baking Blueberries May Alter Health Benefits

October 30, 2013 12:22 pm | News | Comments

Blueberries are called a “superfood” for their high polyphenol content, but when baked or cooked, levels of some of these substances rise while others fall, which could alter their “super” health benefits.           

Cell Skeletons Get Cut Up by Samurai Sword Protein

October 25, 2013 12:05 pm | News | Comments

Using cells from the stem of a seedling as a model system, biologists are seeking to understand the molecular mechanisms that organize and pattern the hundreds or thousands of microtubular “bones” of the plant cytoskeleton.       

Genetic Engineering Could Rescue Animals, Plants from Extinction

September 26, 2013 12:56 pm | News | Comments

With estimates of losing 15 to 40 percent of the world’s species over the next four decades– due to climate change and habitat loss, researchers ponder whether science should employ genetic engineering to the rescue.  The technique would involve “rescuing a target population or species with adaptive alleles, or gene variants, using genetic engineering,” say the authors of new commentary on the subject.

Genomics Ties Herbal Birthwort to Cancer

August 8, 2013 11:06 am | News | Comments

Genomic sequencing experts and pharmacologists revealed a striking mutational signature of upper urinary tract cancers caused by aristolochic acid, a plant compound contained in herbal remedies used for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments such as arthritis, gout and inflammation.

Genetics Linked to Scent Differences

August 5, 2013 11:30 am | News | Comments

Research suggests that we all smell different smells thanks to our genes. Scientists tested nearly 200 people for their sensitivity to ten different flavors that occur in food and have identified some of the genetic differences that determine an individual’s ability to smell various odors.

FDA Regulates 'Gluten Free' Labels

August 2, 2013 1:49 pm | by MARY CLARE JALONICK - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

A label that reads "gluten free" will now mean the same thing for all food, regardless of which kind you buy. After more than a six-year delay, the Food and Drug Administration has set a new standard for labels that will make shopping easier for consumers on gluten-restricted diets.

Marijuana Linked to Adolescent Brain Abnormalities

July 25, 2013 10:19 am | Videos | Comments

Regular marijuana use in adolescence, but not adulthood, may permanently impair brain function and cognition, and may increase the risk of developing serious psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, according to a recent preclinical study. Researchers hope that the study will help to shed light on the potential long-term effects of marijuana use.

Tiny Algae Gives Hope for New Biofuels

July 24, 2013 11:58 am | News | Comments

Newly trialed native algae species provide real hope for the development of commercially viable fuels from algae, scientists have found. The researchers have identified fast-growing and hardy microscopic algae that could prove the key to cheaper and more efficient alternative fuel production. 

Antioxidant Blocks Cardio Benefits in Men

July 23, 2013 12:34 pm | News | Comments

In older men, a natural antioxidant compound found in red grapes and other plants– called resveratrol– blocks many of the cardiovascular benefits of exercise, according to results from a recent research project. The research unusually suggests that eating a diet rich in antioxidants may actually counteract many of the health benefits of exercise.

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