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New $25 million grant will improve cassava breeding

To improve the productivity of cassava - a rough and ready root crop that has long been the foundation of food security in Africa -- and plant breeding in sub-Saharan Africa, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom have awarded Cornell $25.2 million to host a five-year research project.

Posted: Dec 1st, 2012

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From rotting mushroom to drug?

Bacterial virulence factor of mushroom soft rot identified. The substance called jagaricin could represent a starting point for the development of new antifungal drugs.

Posted: Nov 29th, 2012

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Traceability of modified foods in the EU and beyond

A huge EU consortium joined forces to develop tools for managing the co-existence of genetically modified (GM) foods and conventional ones in the EU market. The traceability provided should be critical to consumer confidence.

Posted: Nov 29th, 2012

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European Food Safety Authority rejects report linking GM corn to cancer

Serious defects in the design and methodology of a paper by SÚralini et al. mean it does not meet acceptable scientific standards and there is no need to re-examine previous safety evaluations of genetically modified maize NK603. These are the conclusions of separate and independent assessments carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and six EU Member States.

Posted: Nov 28th, 2012

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Decoded genome paves way for better watermelons

Sweeter and more disease-resistant watermelons just may be on their way, thanks to an international consortium of more than 60 scientists that has just published the genome sequence of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus).

Posted: Nov 27th, 2012

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Breakthrough could help optimize capture of sugars for biofuels

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) combined different microscopic imaging methods to gain a greater understanding of the relationships between biomass cell wall structure and enzyme digestibility, a breakthrough that could lead to optimizing sugar yields and lowering the costs of making biofuels.

Posted: Nov 27th, 2012

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Engineering plants for biofuels

With increasing demands for sustainable energy, being able to cost-efficiently produce biofuels from plant biomass is more important than ever. However, lignin and hemicelluloses present in certain plants mean that they cannot be easily converted into biofuels. A recent study appears to have solved this problem, using gene manipulation techniques to engineer plants that can be more easily broken down into biofuels.

Posted: Nov 26th, 2012

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Using computational biology for the annotation of proteins

Scientists in Spain employed computational techniques to improve the characterization of proteins. The system they developed has allowed them to predict, for example, the relationship between two human proteins and telomeres, which led to their possible implication in cellular aging and the development of cancer; this awaits experimental verification.

Posted: Nov 26th, 2012

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Analysing spider venom

A European project investigated the effect of brown spider venom on the structure and biophysical properties of cellular membranes. By using state-of-the-art fluorescent techniques, scientists succeeded in directly visualising venom-induced changes in cells.

Posted: Nov 25th, 2012

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Scientists describe elusive replication machinery of flu viruses

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have made a major advance in understanding how flu viruses replicate within infected cells. The researchers used cutting-edge molecular biology and electron-microscopy techniques to "see" one of influenza's essential protein complexes in unprecedented detail.

Posted: Nov 25th, 2012

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