On our Scoop It between July 2nd and July 25th

These are links from our Scoop It page between July 2nd and July 25th:

Frontiers | A Vision for 21st Century Agricultural Research | From Rich Jorgensen

from Richard A. Jorgensen, Guanajuato, México
Let’s admit an unfortunate truth: agricultural research in most of the world is based on old models that no longer serve us well in the twenty-first century as arable land diminishes, populations increase, and climate is changing. A dramatically new vision is needed in order to remake agricultural research, perhaps radically, to address the challenges of the world we find ourselves in today. Here is an attempt to begin to develop such a vision.

(1) We must learn to value foundational (basic) and applied research equally.
(2) We need much stronger Foundational Research than currently exists
(3) Applied Science must be reorganized around major concepts

(4) To repeat and extend the first point above (because it is so important), success requires that we foster development of new cultures and new communities that are coincident with needs, not tradition. The needs for new communities are many and varied.

To achieve this vision will require us to let go of habits and preconceived notions in order to work toward understanding the diverse cultures and communities that comprise research, extension, and industry and to find new ways of bringing them together productively and creatively in order to create synergies and achieve efficiencies. The specific ways for achieving this vision will be many and varied, and will require the creative efforts of scientists, engineers, funders, industry participants, and policymakers everywhere.

Where should we start? Three principal areas need to be dramatically reorganized: the ways that we fund research, the ways that organize our research institutions, and the ways that we define success and evaluate progress toward the goals above.

Funding priorities need to be dramatically refocused."



Promusa – Mobilizing banana science for sustainable livelihoods | The ‘best genomics Venn diagram ever’ deconstructed : ProMusa blog

"It didn’t take long after the journal Nature put online the article on the banana genome sequence for bloggers to start commenting on the Venn diagram featuring a a bright yellow banana. David Ng at Popperfont qualified it as, “quite possibly the most complicated (and therefore awesome) Venn Diagram ever”. Jonathan Eisen, the scientist who coined the term phylogenomics, said that it was “perhaps the best genomics Venn diagram ever”, while Joe, of the It’s okay to be smart blog wrote that it is “a pretty genius way of delivering a bunch of banana data all at once”. He added that it was the first time he ever saw a six-way Venn diagram. Joe is right to be impressed, but the truth is that this is not the first ever six-way Venn diagram.

As a graphic designer correctly noted, the diagram was inspired by Edward's six-set Venn diagram. I can confirm this because the bioinformatics scientist who did the number crunching and the Venn diagram for the Nature article is a Bioversity colleague.

It says a lot about the banana that its distinct shape would make people notice an otherwise arcane diagram. "



Promusa – Mobilizing banana science for sustainable livelihoods | Blogging your way out of anonymity : ProMusa blog

Blogging your way out of anonymity – ProMusa blog… There are some notable exceptions, but most scientists only exploit one way to share their research results: they publish a paper in a scientific journal. And these papers often tend to be … well, let’s admit it … quite dry, as Adam Ruben recently described it in his blog post about “How to write like a scientist”. Aside from the occasional presentation at a scientific conference (which, unless the scientist is an especially good speaker or presents ground-breaking results, are usually readily forgotten), most of us don’t take advantage of the wide range of other media that are available these days, such as videos, status updates, blog posts, blog comments, interactive graphs and maps, tweets, etc.

It’s a shame. These media can help scientists reach a larger and more diverse audience much faster than the long slog of submitting a paper to a journal.



Obesity produces diabetes epidemic in India – ABC News Don’t equate development with Western diet

PHH comment: Don't equate development with Western diet.

India is bracing for a massive surge in type 2 diabetes, with credible estimates putting the number of sufferers in the next 20 years at more than 100 million.

via Cathryn Weller



The Phytophactor: Hot summer garden pointers

Gardening tips from the Phytophactor, including what to water and what to leave alone. 



Arabidopsis conference tweets as storify #icar #ICAR2012

The International Conference on Arabidopsis Research was held in Vienna, Austria July 3-7th 2012. As usual it was jammed packed full of interesting talks. here are all the tweets brought together.



The evolution of the banana, star of the Western fruit bowl LA Times interview

Did you hear? The genome of the banana has been sequenced, an important development in scientists’ efforts to produce better bananas.



The banana (Musa acuminata) genome and the evolution of monocotyledonous plants

Bananas (Musa spp.), including dessert and cooking types, are giant perennial monocotyledonous herbs of the order Zingiberales, a sister group to the well-studied Poales, which include cereals. here the complete genome sequence is analysed in comparison with other monocots.



Fascinating case study – science and politics of non-browing "arctic" apples

This is going to be an interesting case to follow.

 

The science – Agrobacterium transformation used to introduce a silencing construct (derived from the endogenous apple gene) to switch off the four apple polyphenol oxidase (PPO) genes. PPO produces quinones, that upon cell damage non-enzymatically produce brown, lingin-like compounds (more science here http://www.aphis.usda.gov/brs/aphisdocs/10_16101p.pdf).

 

The articTM apples were developed by a small Canadian biotech company Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. (http://www.okspecialtyfruits.com/).

 

Here's a summary of some of the issues surrounding these biotech apples (http://appliedmythology.blogspot.ca/2012/07/consumers-should-get-to-try-first.html)

 

The US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is soliciting comments about the petition by OSF for the apples to be granted non-regulated status. They say, "We are particularly interested in receiving comments regarding biological, cultural, or ecological issues, and we encourage the submission of scientific data, studies, or research to support your comments." (https://federalregister.gov/a/2012-17144).

 

As of today, 54 comments have been submitted, and they are available for anyone to read (top right of the federal register page, under the green button).

 

It's a great learning opportunity for students, and chance for them to see and partaicipate in the intersection of science, policy, and public opinion. I would recommend asking students to draft and share their own comments!

 

 



Welsh botanists create plant database


Botanists in Wales have created a database of more than 1,000 plant species which they hope will help with conservation and health research.