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Gene identified that makes cereal plants resistant to drought

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A gene that is considered to be responsible for the drought resistance of cereal plants has been identified by a group of scientists at Heriot-Watt University.

According to the press release, this discovery could lead to “future-proof cereals”, i.e. cereals that can better withstand the ongoing climate changes that are expected to lead to increasingly frequent droughts in cultivation.

The study, published in the Journal of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, describes how researchers over nearly five years have identified the HvMYB1 gene.

This gene manages stress tolerance in various cereal plants, including barley itself. This is the first study that associates the HvMYB1 gene with a plant’s resistance to drought.

Peter Morris of the Institute of Earth and Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University explains the meaning of the research he has carried out: “As climate change is accelerating and we are experiencing more extreme seasons, it is essential to maintain continuity of supply. This is significant for key sectors such as Scotch whisky, one of the UK’s major export items. Our project focused specifically on barley; one of the three ingredients used in the production of Scotch whisky.

It was not an easy task considering that barley has more than 39,000 genes, twice as many as human genes.

Links/Sources:

https://www.hw.ac.uk/news/articles/2019/Barley.htm

Janice Carter

A talented writer, activist, liberal and environmentalist, Janice is working towards an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and signed up as a volunteer writer for ScienceMagazine.us very shortly after the website went online. She is able to report on all kinds of research relating to the Earth and environment, and is always extremely up-to-date on the latest initiatives and issues relating to global warming and climate change.

3060 Scheuvront Drive, Northglenn Colorado, 80221
303-450-0541
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Janice Carter
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Frontera, the fifth fastest supercomputer in the world, has been opened at the University of Texas

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The University of Texas has officially “inaugurated” Frontera, the fastest supercomputer available in any university in the world and generally the fifth most powerful computer in the world.

Located in the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) of the Texas faculty, this computer joins Stampede2, the second-fastest supercomputer available for any American university, also located in the same faculty.

These two computers make the University of Texas in Austin one of the leading institutions in the field of supercomputers. The same press release speaks of a “new era” in academic supercomputing with a resource that will help the nation’s best scientists to explore science on a large scale and make the next generation of discoveries.

The Frontera supercomputer has firmly placed fifth in the ranking of the fastest supercomputers in the world reaching 23.5 PetaFLOPS. The computer uses over 16,000 processors and a total of almost half a million cores.

However, the supercomputer has already been used by several researchers in recent months. For example, Olexandr Isayev, a chemist from the University of North Carolina, used it to perform more than 3 million atomic force field calculations in less than 24 hours.

But it is in the field of quantum mechanics that, according to the researchers themselves, this supercomputer will shine. “We are really looking forward to performing large-scale calculations that were not possible before,” says Isayev himself.

Links/Sources:

https://fronteraweb.tacc.utexas.edu/

Janice Carter

A talented writer, activist, liberal and environmentalist, Janice is working towards an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and signed up as a volunteer writer for ScienceMagazine.us very shortly after the website went online. She is able to report on all kinds of research relating to the Earth and environment, and is always extremely up-to-date on the latest initiatives and issues relating to global warming and climate change.

3060 Scheuvront Drive, Northglenn Colorado, 80221
303-450-0541
[email protected]
Janice Carter
Continue Reading

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A new dinosaur in Japan that lived 72 million years ago was just classified

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A new Hadrosaurus dinosaur that lived in the late Cretaceous was classified by a group of Japanese researchers.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, talks about the methods of analysis performed by researchers on a fossil found in the formation of Hakobuchi, an island of Hokkaido.

The new dinosaur has been named Kamuysaurus japonicus. The first term refers to “Kamuy,” a deity of the Ainu, an indigenous population of the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The second term refers to Japan.

The discovery, made by Yoshitsugu Kobayashi and colleagues, is related to an adrosaur of about eight meters long that lived about 72 million years ago. It can be considered an average-sized adult hadrosaur weighing 4 tonnes or 5.3 tonnes, depending on whether it was walking on two or four legs.

Unique features found by researchers include a small crest on the head and a row of neural spines pointing forward. According to the researchers, the Kamuysaurus japonicus is related to other adrosaurs whose fossils have been found in the Far East. Among the latter are the Chinese Laiyangosaurus and the Russian Kerberosaurus.

Important discovery

This is an important discovery because it could allow a better understanding of the evolution of the Hadrosaurids during the late Cretaceous period, from 100.5 to 66 million years ago, that is until the period of the very disappearance of the dinosaurs.

Moreover, the fact that it was found near the sea, makes this fossil an important finding in relation to the understanding of the development and evolution of the same adrosaurids in such environments. This discovery, in fact, suggests that the members of the adrosaurids and its subfamilies, Hadrosaurinae and Lambeosaurinae, preferred to live near the coasts.

Links/Sources:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-48607-1

Janice Carter

A talented writer, activist, liberal and environmentalist, Janice is working towards an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and signed up as a volunteer writer for ScienceMagazine.us very shortly after the website went online. She is able to report on all kinds of research relating to the Earth and environment, and is always extremely up-to-date on the latest initiatives and issues relating to global warming and climate change.

3060 Scheuvront Drive, Northglenn Colorado, 80221
303-450-0541
[email protected]
Janice Carter
Continue Reading

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Scientists discover how typhoid bacterium causes DNA breakage

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A team of researchers at the University of Sheffield studied how the pathogen Salmonella typhi, which causes typhoid, accelerates the aging of body cells by “hijacking” molecules for DNA repair.

Typhoid fever, also known as “typhus,” affects more than 21 million people worldwide each year, killing about 168,000 people. The disease is particularly widespread in Southeast Asia.

Researchers have infected human cells with Salmonella typhi in the laboratory and used fluorescent microscopes to understand how this pathogen damaged DNA. They then discovered that it induced a particular form of damage to the DNA itself by taking control of DNA repair machines and making cells more susceptible to infection, in practice accelerating their aging.

DNA repair “machines” are molecules inside the cells that constantly protect our DNA when it is threatened by environmental factors such as ultraviolet light or smoke. By attacking these molecules, the typhoid pathogen causes serious damage that damages cellular DNA.

Daniel Humphreys, one of the authors of the study, comments on the results: “Our results have shown that pathogenic bacteria can accelerate cell aging through a toxin and take advantage of it to establish infections. This makes sense because infections are often more difficult to fight and recover as we age, which is partly due to cellular aging, but the fact that bacterial pathogens affect this phenomenon was unexpected.”

Another author of the study, Sherif El-Khamisy, a researcher at the Healthy Lifespan Institute at the University of England, comments: “Until now, how Salmonella typhi’s typhoid toxin contributed to the infection was a mystery. If we want to fight typhoid, understanding how the toxin causes breakage in the DNA of human cells and promotes infection is key and we hope this discovery will be the first step in developing new strategies to control typhoid, which affects some of the most vulnerable communities in the world.”

Researcher Angela Ibler was also involved in the research.

Links/Sources:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12064-1

Janice Carter

A talented writer, activist, liberal and environmentalist, Janice is working towards an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and signed up as a volunteer writer for ScienceMagazine.us very shortly after the website went online. She is able to report on all kinds of research relating to the Earth and environment, and is always extremely up-to-date on the latest initiatives and issues relating to global warming and climate change.

3060 Scheuvront Drive, Northglenn Colorado, 80221
303-450-0541
[email protected]
Janice Carter
Continue Reading

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