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teosinte 1

UW study shows how a kernel got naked and corn became king

Ten thousand years ago, a golden grain got naked, brought people together and grew to become one of the top agricultural commodities on the planet. Now, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have found that just a single letter change in the genetic script of corn's ancestor, teosinte, helped make it all possible. Publishing in the journal Genetics this month, UW-Madison genetics Professor John Doebley and a team of researchers describe how, during the domestication of corn, a single nucleotide change in the teosinte glume architectural gene (tga1) stripped away the hard, inedible casing of this wild grass, ultimately exposing the edible golden kernel. "A huge proportion of the world is economically dependent on the crop and understanding how it was constructed 10,000 years ago is more than just intellectually satisfying," Doebley says. He has spent his long career studying the evolution of maize, the plant from which corn grows. "It tells us something about how important this genetic change was." Seen side by side, maize and teosinte do not look as if they belong on the same family tree. Teosinte is branched and bushy; its ...
Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
-20150728
food-systems
10
UW study shows how a kernel got naked and corn became king

New curators dig in at UW–Madison’s public gardens

Plants brought new curators to a pair of public gardens at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, but it’s people that Ben Futa and David Stevens are hoping to see more of. [caption id="attachment_17595" align="alignright" width="350"] Ben Futa, curator at the Allen Centennial Gardens, uses a hand cultivator to remove weeds. Photo by Bryce Richter.[/caption] “What I like the most about the public garden setting is connecting people with plants,” says Futa, the new curator at Allen Centennial Gardens in the center of the UW–Madison campus. “People come in and say, ‘I’ve never seen this plant. What is it?’ Or they ask, ‘How do you get away with growing this in Wisconsin?’ And you get to share something with them.” At Allen, that brand of sharing has gone on for nearly 26 years. Across town at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum, untold thousands have visited Longenecker Horticultural Gardens since its first lilacs were planted in 1935. And yet, Stevens is only the third curator of the gardens — following his graduate school advisor Ed Hasselkus and William Longenecker, who also served as Arboretum executive director ...
Wednesday, July 8th, 2015
-20150708
healthy-ecosystems
10
New curators dig in at UW–Madison’s public gardens
CALS in the Media

Scientists find the single letter in corn’s DNA that spurred its evolution

The Washington Post
-20150804
cals-in-the-media
10
Scientists find the single letter in corn’s DNA that spurred its evolution
Basic Science

Obama taps biochemist Judith Kimble to head science medal panel

[caption id="attachment_17728" align="alignright" width="167"] Judith Kimble[/caption] President Barack Obama has named University of Wisconsin-Madison biochemistry Professor Judith Kimble to chair the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science. Established by Congress in 1959, the National Medal of Science is a presidential award given to individuals "deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical or engineering sciences." In 1990, Congress expanded the recognition to include the social and behavioral sciences. The President's Committee on the National Medal of Science awards the medal annually. Since its inception, 11 UW-Madison faculty members have received the award, which is the nation's highest honor for achievement and leadership in science and technology. Kimble, who served on the committee from 2012 to 2014, is the UW-Madison Vilas Professor of Biochemistry and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Kimble studies the fundamental controls of animal development using the model worm Caenorhabditis elegans. Among her many research contributions is the discovery of a stem cell niche that controls stem cell maintenance.
Tuesday, August 4th, 2015
-20150804
basic-science
10
Obama taps biochemist Judith Kimble to head science medal panel
Economic and Community Development

Alumni Tent at Farm Technology Days to host daily alumni receptions

Alumni from the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Technical Colleges are invited to stop by the Alumni Tent at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, which runs Aug. 25-27 at Statz Brothers, Inc. farm in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin this year. The Alumni Tent will be open throughout the three-day show, with receptions held each day at 1:00 p.m. for the alumni of participating campuses. The Alumni Tent is sponsored by the agriculture programs at UW-Madison, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) and Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC). Each campus will have a display in the tent, as well as representatives on hand to answer questions all day throughout the show. Alumni are encouraged to stop by for campus news and updates. Visitors can learn about UW-Platteville’s plans to celebrate its upcoming 150th anniversary, UW-River Falls’ new academic programs, the history of Vernal alfalfa at UW-Madison and much more. The Alumni Tent can be found in the heart of Tent City, along 6th Street West between University Avenue and Central Avenue. For more information on this year’s show, visit http://danecofarmtech.com/ or contact Kara Luedtke, kara.luedtke@wisc.edu, (608) ...
Monday, August 3rd, 2015
-20150803
economic-community-development
10
Alumni Tent at Farm Technology Days to host daily alumni receptions
Economic and Community Development

Urban Horticulture Day set for Aug. 15

[caption id="attachment_17712" align="alignright" width="300"] West Madison Agricultural Research Station as seen from the air in 2011. Mineral Point Road is in the foreground. The station focuses on urban agriculture, plant breeding, and providing feed for the UW-Madison campus dairy. Photo: Jeff Miller[/caption] Want some fresh ideas for your home garden? Stop by Urban Horticulture Day at UW-Madison's West Madison Agricultural Research Station on Saturday, Aug. 15 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. At this family-friendly field day, visitors can tour the station's vineyard, vegetable garden and extensive flowerbeds, and taste fresh fruits and vegetables from the gardens. More than 300 cultivars of annual and perennial flowers will be on display, along with the largest display in the Midwest of coleus — the National Garden Bureau's 2015 "Plant of the Year" — with over 100 varieties. There will also be pollinator exhibits, large farm equipment displays and fun activities for families and kids. Experts from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and UW-Extension will be there to answer questions and offer advice, including: Amaya Atucha, ...
Monday, August 3rd, 2015
-20150803
economic-community-development
10
Urban Horticulture Day set for Aug. 15
Economic and Community Development

Bat workshops at UW’s Kemp Natural Resources Station

Do you hear the call - or the echolocation - of the wild? Two interactive outreach events focused on bats will take place in early August at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Kemp Natural Resources Station, located on the shore of Tomahawk Lake near Woodruff. Media are welcome to cover one or both events. The first, set for Aug. 7 at 7 p.m., will feature an informational presentation about Wisconsin's bats, including an update on the spread of white-nose syndrome in the state, followed by a demonstration of the type of equipment used to count and identify bats at Kemp's acoustic bat monitoring station and at other monitoring stations around the state. Attendees will also be invited to help count bats as they emerge from various roost sites at dusk. This event will be led by Heather Kaarakka, a conservation biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). The following morning, Aug. 8, starting at 10, there will be a bat house-building workshop led by retired WDNR biologist Linda Winn. Registered attendees will assemble the houses from pre-cut materials and also learn how ...
Monday, August 3rd, 2015
-20150803
economic-community-development
10
Bat workshops at UW’s Kemp Natural Resources Station