Biology News

Aggressive plant fungus threatens wheat production

Biology News - Thu, 2015-02-26 19:59

The spread of exotic and aggressive strains of a plant fungus is presenting a serious threat to wheat production in the UK, according to research published in Genome Biology. The research uses a new surveillance technique that could be applied internationally to respond to the spread of a wide variety of plant diseases.

Categories: Biology News, General

Fighting the Colorado potato beetle with RNA interference

Biology News - Thu, 2015-02-26 19:59


Feeding experiment with different potato leaves: Detached leaves of unmodified plants were compared to plants with an altered chloroplast genome. Colorado potato beetles are a dreaded pest of potatoes all over the world. Since they do not have natural enemies in most potato producing regions, farmers try to control them with pesticides. However, this strategy is often ineffective because the pest has developed resistances against nearly all insecticides. Now, scientists from the Max Planck Institutes of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam-Golm and Chemical Ecology in Jena have shown that potato plants can be protected from herbivory using RNA interference (RNAi). They genetically modified plants to enable their chloroplasts to accumulate double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) targeted against essential beetle genes. (Science, February 2015).

Categories: Biology News, General

How mantis shrimp evolved many shapes with same powerful punch

Biology News - Thu, 2015-02-26 19:59


Mantis shrimp attack their dinners with the help of spring-loaded claws. DURHAM, N.C. -- The miniweight boxing title of the animal world belongs to the mantis shrimp, a cigar-sized crustacean whose front claws can deliver an explosive 60-mile-per-hour blow akin to a bullet leaving the barrel of a gun.

Categories: Biology News, General
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