Biology

The role of extra chromosomal circular DNA in rapid adaption to glyphosate resistance in pigweed

Plants, like other living organisms, have genetic stress-avoidance mechanisms that allow them to become resistant to specific chemicals when continuously exposed to them. Dr Christopher Saski from Clemson University and Dr William Molin from the U.S. Department of Agriculture are researching the extrachromosomal circular DNA (eccDNA) structure known as the replicon of pigweed, which contains the EPSPS gene, the gene […]

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Biology

A model of photosynthesis regulation by ion fluxes in conditions of variable light

Prof Cornelia Spetea and her team at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, study ion transport proteins and genes involved in the regulation of photosynthesis in conditions of abrupt changes in light intensity. Research on this topic is important because light fluctuations constantly occur in the natural environment and affect photosynthesis and growth. Their proposed model could act as a knowledge […]

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Biology

New ways to assess stress in fish are urgently needed in aquaculture

With an increasing demand in fish products, aquaculture is fast becoming a main priority towards achieving sustainable fish production. In this context, an accurate and consistent way to evaluate fish stress levels is essential to ensure high standards of welfare. Dr Pedro Miguel Rodrigues and Msc Cláudia Raposo de Magalhães, based at the University of Algarve, CCMAR, Portugal, believe current […]

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Biology

De-icing salt contamination of trees in urban environments

Street trees and other greenery counteract pollution and provide important ecosystem services in urban environments. That this valuable vegetation is under stress has emerged as a research and urbanisation issue. Pierre Vollenweider is based at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research which is concerned with the use, development and protection of natural and urban spaces. Together […]

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Biology

Scientists join the dots between lady beetles in Iran

Lady beetles are toxic to predators and display a colourful warning – the perfect example of aposematism. After tasting a bitter lady beetle, predators learn the colours to avoid in future. As a result, lady beetles of certain colour patterns are less likely to be eaten. Copying successful lady beetles helps to avoid predation. Professor Oldřich Nedvěd from the University […]

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Biology

Genetically modified cotton: How has it changed India?

Nearly two decades ago, a genetically modified type of cotton, known as Bt cotton, was introduced to India to reduce farmers’ insecticide use. Today, researchers want to understand the effects that the introduction of this new cotton crop has had on Indian farmers. Using advanced statistical methods, Professor Ian Plewis from the University of Manchester investigates the effect of Bt cotton on […]

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Biology

Exploring the Hibernating Behaviour of Smooth Softshell Turtles

In contrast with other species of aquatic turtles, softshell turtles cannot survive long without oxygen and this affects how they hibernate in the winter. Instead of fully burying themselves into the substrate at the bottom of a body of water and staying there, they must periodically raise parts of their body above the sediment to breathe in oxygen that is […]

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Biology

Relieving heat stress in dairy cattle

Dairy cattle in warm climates are at risk of heat stress, which can adversely affect both their welfare and milk production. To investigate the effects of heat stress on cattle, Dr Amanda Stone of Mississippi State University, USA, uses Precision Dairy Monitoring Technologies. Some of these technologies allow for continuous monitoring of the body temperature of cattle. Recently, Dr Stone’s […]

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Biology

The bees are back in town: Pollinators in an urban ecosystem

The growing urbanisation of the landscape poses a major threat to insect pollinators. The reduction in number of these insects, especially bee species, could have a severe impact on agricultural production as many of the crops that we rely on could not produce seeds without pollination. Working with the Volusia Sandhill Pollinator Project, Professors Cindy Bennington and Peter May investigate […]

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Biology

Creating a paradigm shift in plant breeding and plant phenotyping

Innovative plant breeding strategies accessing the beneficial relationships between soil microbes and plants could help develop varieties that are more resilient to climate change and soil conditions. Dr Omirou and Dr Fasoula at the Agricultural Research Institute, Cyprus, describe how moving away from conventional multi-plant, densely-grown field plots, and using innovative selection designs fitted to individual plants grown at ultra-wide […]

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