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Seed to Kitchen

The Seed to Kitchen Initiative

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

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Events

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Podcals

Aronia Berry Benefits – Audio

Friday, December 9th, 2016

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Island landscape

Enormous rodents on Gough Island may hold key to solving genetic mystery

Two thousand miles east of the coast of Argentina, Gough Island rises out of the Atlantic Ocean in an awesome display of ancient volcanic activity. A green carpet of windswept mosses and grasses covers 35 square miles of jagged peaks and steeply sloping valleys. Waterfalls spill out of craggy cliffs and fall hundreds of feet to the sea, which runs uninterrupted for another 1,700 miles before crashing into the tip of South Africa. It is one of the most remote places on our planet. Four miles west of the University of Wisconsin– Madison campus, the Charmany Instructional Facility is a low-slung labyrinth of concrete hallways lined by bright fluorescent lights and permeated with a smell that is equal parts animal and antiseptic. Part of the UW School of Veterinary Medicine, Charmany is nearly half a world away from Gough Island (pronounced “Goff ”). Yet the two locations share a common trait— they both are home to the largest mice on Earth. In terms of body size and weight, Gough Island mice are twice the size of their mainland cousins, notes Bret Payseur, ...
Wednesday, October 5th, 2016
-20161005
basic-science
10
Enormous rodents on Gough Island may hold key to solving genetic mystery
Dietram Scheufele

The promise and peril of CRISPR: Q&A with Dietram Scheufele

Dietram Scheufele, a CALS professor of life sciences communication, serves on a national panel examining the implications of human genome editing. The committee, appointed late last year by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, is examining the clinical, ethical, legal and social implications of the emerging technology. Genome editing holds great medical promise but also poses risks of off-target genetic alterations and raises fears it could irrevocably alter the human germline. Led by UW–Madison law professor Alta Charo and MIT biologist Richard Hynes, the committee will specifically advise on questions about how risks should be quantified and whether some aspects of the technology should or should not go forward. The ability to “edit” genes to target genetic defects became a much more plausible process with the advent of a technology called CRISPR (an acronym for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), which can be used to precisely target and cut portions of a DNA sequence. Controversy arose last year when a Chinese scientific team used CRISPR genome editing on non-viable human embryos. The experiment produced a number of “off-target events” that altered ...
Monday, November 28th, 2016
-20161128
highlights
10
The promise and peril of CRISPR: Q&A with Dietram Scheufele

UW–Madison researchers study plant aging, gain insights into crop yields

New insights into the mechanism behind how plants age may help scientists better understand crop yields, nutrient allocation, and even the timing and duration of fall leaf color. In a new paper published Nov. 22 in the journal eLife, the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Xuehua Zhong and her colleagues describe how an epigenetic protein complex acts as a link between the environment and the genome to promoting the onset of aging in plants. [caption id="attachment_20948" align="alignright" width="300"] An epigenetic protein called HDAC jumpstarts the process of aging, which is responsible for the many-colored leaves of the fall season, according to new research from UW–Madison. Photo: Bryce Richter[/caption] That complex is a specific histone deacetylase (HDAC) called HDA9 and it helps translate environmental signals, like darkness, into epigenetic change. Epigenetics refers to the alterations that influence the expression of genes encoded within the DNA of living organisms, rather than changes to the DNA itself. For instance, fall colors change when shorter daylight hours influence the expression of the genes responsible for particular leaf pigments. “Epigenetics is one of the important players in the cross-talk between the environment ...
Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016
-20161122
basic-science
10
UW–Madison researchers study plant aging, gain insights into crop yields
Economic and Community Development

Fast Plants Program’s new varieties are tailored for classroom use

A UW–Madison program built around plants that mature quickly enough to engage the scientific curiosity of elementary through college students is releasing two new varieties that make the popular plants even better suited to classrooms. The Wisconsin Fast Plants are relatives of cabbage and broccoli that progress from seed to plant to flower in just 14 days, then on to seed by 40 days. Introduced by plant pathologist Paul Williams in 1987, the plants allow students to explore the effects of cross-breeding. In a single semester, students can emulate the experiments that Gregor Mendel used to set out the elementary principles of inheritance. [caption id="attachment_21032" align="alignright" width="325"] Paul Williams, founder of the Fast Plant program at UW–Madison, holds bumblebees that are used to pollenate the rapid-cycling Brassica plants. Photo: David Tenenbaum[/caption] One of the new varieties clearly shows the successful transfer of pollen, which fertilizes the egg to start breeding and reproduction. The second variety shows, within a week, whether genes have moved, allowing quick interpretation of the effects of breeding different plants. These speedsters help teachers satisfy new science standards related to inheritance, and ...
Friday, December 9th, 2016
-20161209
economic-community-development
10
Fast Plants Program’s new varieties are tailored for classroom use
CALS in the Media

UW-Madison Researchers Look Into Antibiotic Resistance

Wisconsin Public Radio
-20161202
cals-in-the-media
10
UW-Madison Researchers Look Into Antibiotic Resistance

Jo Handelsman named director of Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) will usher in a new year with a new director: Jo Handelsman, a Yale University professor and the associate director for science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “I’m thrilled to welcome Dr. Handelsman back to Madison. In addition to being a world class researcher, she is nationally renowned for her impact as a teacher, role model, mentor, and an advocate for women and minorities in science careers,” says Marsha Mailick, UW–Madison’s vice chancellor for research and graduate education. “Jo is an inspiring individual who brings creativity, a spirit of experimentation, exemplary leadership skills and a commitment to rigor, that make her a great fit for UW–Madison.” [caption id="attachment_20993" align="alignright" width="300"] Jo Handelsman[/caption] Handelsman begins her position on Feb. 1 and will report to Mailick. In addition to being named WID director, Handelsman will be honored with a distinguished named chair. At Yale, Handelsman is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, the Frederick Phineas Rose Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, and founder of the Yale Center for Scientific Teaching. ...
Tuesday, November 29th, 2016
-20161129
uncategorized
10
Jo Handelsman named director of Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
Bioenergy and Bioproducts

Food scientist aiding fuel ethanol with new engineered bacteria

For James Steele, moving from the small fermenters where microbes make cheese, wine and beer to the multimillion-gallon tanks where corn is converted to ethanol was a natural progression. [caption id="attachment_20989" align="alignright" width="300"] UW-Madison food science Professor James Steele with homemade fermenters he’s using to explore genetic engineering of lactic acid bacteria, a common contaminant of many fermentation processes, including cheese, wine, beer and biofuel production. Photo: Sevie Kenyon[/caption] Steele, the University of Wisconsin–Madison Winder-Bascom professor of food science, specializes in food, beverage and biofuel fermentation. Understanding how bacteria and yeast convert biomass into products has been his stock-in-trade for more than 30 years. The fermentation of beer and wine can be plagued by contamination with lactic acid bacteria, which make lactic acid rather than alcohol. The same problem affects the ethanol industry. Steele’s new company, Lactic Solutions, is advancing a judo-like remedy: using genetic engineering to transform enemy into friend. Instead of killing lactic acid bacteria with antibiotics, he’s spliced in genes for ethanol production so these organisms produce ethanol, not lactic acid. “We are taking the problem and trying to turn it into ...
Monday, November 28th, 2016
-20161128
bioenergy-bioproducts
10
Food scientist aiding fuel ethanol with new engineered bacteria
CALS in the Media

Thanksgiving 2050: To feed the world we have to stop destroying our soil

Christian Science Monitor
-20161125
cals-in-the-media
10
Thanksgiving 2050: To feed the world we have to stop destroying our soil