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His novel research on wheat and barley is opening up new opportunities in crop improvement, directly relevant to Western Australian industries. In Israel, in the secular community, dating is very common amongst both heterosexual and homosexual couples. In the same way learning what a biologist does inside of a laboratory becomes automatic when you can stand 'alongside' one in a lab".
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Australia could reap the rewards of an agricultural and environmental 'genomics revolution'. There's something wonderful, I think, about taking chances on love and sex. Caitlin, a researcher at the University of Adelaide, says the real challenge is to figure out which traits are actually useful for modern agriculture. Mr Mushayija role at Rwanda's Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources includes inspection and certification of imported and exported agricultural commodities, conducting monitoring surveys to update a national pest list, and enforcement of Rwanda's plant health law and regulations. Stitch is a community which helps anyone over 50 find the companionship they need.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute plays an important role in advancing scientific research and education in the United States. Its scientists, located across the country and around the world, have made important discoveries that advance both human health and our fundamental understanding of biology.
The most comprehensive analysis of a wheat genome has been published in the journal Genome Research this week. University of Western Australia researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology were part of a United Kingdom-led consortium to provide the most complete map and assembly of the wheat genome so far achieved. The new sequencing of the bread wheat genome, led by the Earlham Institute, identified complete sets of genes and proteins essential to important agronomic traits.
According to The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, global crop yields must double by to meet future food security needs. Globally, wheat is one of the most important staple crops, providing a fifth of daily calories. Extensive knowledge of the wheat genome is needed to increase wheat yield in the future.
The most well-known genome project, The Human Genome Project, was completed in and the genomes of many organisms, including some plants, have also been decoded.
However, despite the agricultural importance of wheat, the large size and hexaploid structure of its genome has made it historically difficult to fully sequence its chromosomes. The new genome assembly predicts a large number of previously unknown wheat genes and defines where they are located along chromosomes.
The UWA researchers led the protein analysis research that provided direct evidence that many of these genes coded for molecular machinery important for wheat growth and development, protection of wheat from diseases and resistance to harsh environments. Over one thousand wheat disease resistance genes and their locations in the genome were revealed by the study.
The knowledge will greatly aid marker assisted breeding of wheat disease traits. Also identified were over one hundred gluten genes, the analysis of which will be vital to changing gluten content in wheat. Plant biologists have revealed the relationship between plants and the parasite that causes malaria is close enough to mean many antimalarial drugs are effective herbicides.
The work offers a new take on an evolutionary connection made in the s when herbicides were shown to interfere with processes in the malarial parasite. The research, published in Scientific Reports , shows that the extensive knowledge of antimalarial drugs could be applied to creating much-needed new herbicides. Dr Mylne said almost 20 years ago, researchers used herbicides to prove that the malarial parasite Plasmodium contained an organelle that was essential and did many of the same things plant chloroplasts did.
Co-author and organic chemist Associate Professor Keith Stubbs said antimalarial drugs were ideal as starting points because they were non-toxic to humans and often had the right chemical properties to also affect plants. Lead author and PhD student Maxime Corral said the finding would enable researchers to use knowledge about antimalarial drugs and even the drugs themselves to develop new herbicides against weeds.
The study Herbicidal properties of antimalarial drugs was supported by the Australian Research Council. How a drug-like protein ring evolved in sunflowers has been pieced together by Australian and US scientists in a study published in Molecular Biology and Evolution. Although the evolutionary process took some 45 million years, the researchers are still calling it a shortcut. Coupling this to information from evolutionary trees made by our collaborators in the US allowed us to date when certain gene types appeared.
The first evolutionary step was a short DNA sequence that makes a tiny circular protein. By 34 million years ago the protein had become bigger and flatter.
Dr Mylne said although assembling entire RNA libraries of 40, or more genes only to search them and follow a handful of genes seemed overkill, like swatting a fly with a sledgehammer, the plummeting cost of sequencing actually made it worthwhile.
Although it took some time, making a new protein inside an existing gene is an evolutionary shortcut. If so there will be other examples out there waiting to be discovered. That these peptides are stable and bioactive has us hoping that other examples will similarly make useful molecules.
The study Stepwise evolution of a buried inhibitor peptide over 45 million years was supported by the Australian Research Council. A 60 year-old mystery has been solved by biochemists at The University of Western Australia investigating the origin of a type of digestion-inhibiting proteins thought only to exist in two plant families that contain the important legume and cereal crops.
A gene for the 'missing link' between the two plant families was found in the primitive spike moss Selaginella , revealing the inhibitor proteins as having truly ancient origins, according to lead researcher Dr Joshua Mylne, principal investigator with UWA's School of Molecular Sciences and affiliated with the national ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology.
Bowman-Birk Inhibitors or BBIs were one of the first plant proteins to be subjected to biochemical studies and defined the mechanisms for protein-digesting enzymes and proteins that inhibit those enzymes. BBIs are abundant proteins so far thought only to exist in the important legume and cereal plant families. This study, published in the international journal Plant Cell resolves the long standing mystery how distantly related families came to contain the same type of protein.
Lead author and UWA PhD student Amy James said the proteins in legumes and cereals turned out to be long lost cousins; that is they had a common ancestor. Some BBIs have this sequence, but so do other inhibitors we were working on. This finding that BBIs were ancient meant they should exist in more than just legumes and cereals.
Dr Mylne said the researchers were curious to know why BBIs were so abundant in legumes and cereals, but appear to have faded into obscurity elsewhere. The study " Evidence for ancient origins of Bowman-Birk inhibitors from Selaginella moellendorffii " was supported by the Australian Research Council.
Recipients of the awards are granted funding to undertake a project on an emerging scientific issue or innovative activity over the next year. Caitlin, the recipient of the Grains Research and Development Corporation Award, will study the roots of the wild relatives of barley crops to see what makes them highly tolerant to stress. These traits could then be crossed into modern cultivars, resulting in higher grain yields. Caitlin, a researcher at the University of Adelaide, says the real challenge is to figure out which traits are actually useful for modern agriculture.
She has had prior success in this area with a similar project looking at a wild relative of wheat. She was able to identify two key genes making a wild wheat variety more salt tolerant, which were crossed into modern cereal varieties.
The project achieved a 25 per cent increase in durum wheat grain yield in saline soils, and the traits and genes were distributed to more than 18 countries. Caitlin says the barley project offers access to an amazing collection of plants with huge genetic diversity. A tiny mutation that influences how well a plant recovers from stressful conditions has helped to reveal an important enzyme for plant stress response and survival.
Scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology and the University of Western Australia, in collaboration with CSIRO, carried out a long-term study, following the discovery of the mutation in the genetic makeup of a plant that alters its ability to recover from stressful factors. In order to survive being rooted to one spot plants must adapt fast to stresses in their environment, which include pathogens and harsh changes in weather and temperature.
The researchers chemically induced stress in the roots of plants, treating them with salicylic acid, to examine the signalling response inside of the plants' cells. They observed key changes in a particular enzyme called succinate dehydrogenase that leads to the loss of stress signalling.
The impact of this tiny change is an inability of the plant to fight off disease-causing pathogens. Lead researcher Ms Katharina Belt, said the finding suggests that this enzyme plays an important role in plant resistance to pathogen-induced stress. Ms Belt said that a better understanding of how plants deal with stress could open up new opportunities to develop stronger plants for the future. The researchers plan to use these findings to drive further research into how to equip plants with a more efficient stress response, making them more resilient.
This could become an important new step in improving agricultural yields. The research was recently published in Plant Physiology Journal. Energy is an all-important currency for plants, and scientists have now calculated the cost of one of their biggest expenses.
The knowledge could be a key to creating more energy efficient crops. To grow and maintain themselves plants must constantly create new proteins and break down existing ones. The process, called 'protein turnover', uses much of a plant's energy. Armed with a new technique, researchers have determined exactly how much a plant needs to spend on specific proteins.
The knowledge can be used to help plants become better energy spenders. The researchers found that the half-lives of the proteins studied can vary from several hours to several months. This led them to investigate the specific characteristics which determine how quickly a protein is turned over, and how much energy is needed to do it.
The comprehensive study also revealed the features that allow a protein survive longer. This knowledge could be applied to help plants engineer more robust, less energy expensive proteins. The best option is to balance between whatever will last you the longest, but cost you the least" said Professor Harvey Millar, who contributed to the research. The study was published this week in the journal The Plant Cell.
An explainer video can be viewed here. Dr Nicolas Taylor, an emerging leader in Australian plant research , will visit a number of prominent Japanese research institutions to foster linkages and collaboration as part of the Australia Japan Emerging Research Leaders Exchange Program. Dr Taylor has been selected as one of eight mid-career researchers from Australia recognised as emerging leaders in the Science and Technology community. The exchange program is designed to aid development of international institutional linkages and to establish collaborations between Australian and Japanese researchers.
The successful researchers will undertake two weeks of institutional placements in agreed-upon Science and Technology priority areas in the exchange country.
Dr Taylor, a researcher at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology and the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Western Australia, is focused on developing a comprehensive understanding of how metabolites, proteins and lipids within plant cells respond to extremes of temperature and salinity exposure.
As part of an International Wheat Yield Partnership project Dr Taylor is applying cutting-edge mass-spectrometry techniques to exploit the energy systems of wheat plants to dramatically improve their yield.
Dr Taylor will depart for Japan this weekend. The western diet is so infatuated with wheat that most of us eat a kilo or more a week. So why do we love it? It provides the texture of our pasta, the spring in our bread, the thickening in our soups and sauces, and the crunch in our batter and pastries. But what some of us crave, others look to avoid. Some have a sensitivity to a small set of wheat proteins called gluten.
But most people who avoid wheat are not intolerant to gluten but rather to some other substance in wheat. Scientists agree this is likely to be other proteins found in the wheat grain, but it is typically unknown what the culprit is in each case. The full set of proteins that make up wheat grains has only recently been revealed, with details published last month in The Plant Journal. These proteins make up the wheat proteome and have been exhaustively mapped out for the first time in wheat by research conducted here in Australia.
With this discovery we now know that, beyond gluten, thousands of different proteins can be found in wheat grain. We know when they are made during grain development and we know if they are also found in other parts of the wheat plant such as the leaves, stems and roots.
Each of these long wheat grain proteins are digested in our gut to become short peptides. That means there are hundreds of thousands of different peptides that can be derived from wheat. Most are harmless and good nutrition but for some people, a set of them will make us unwell. Only now that this mapping of the wheat proteome has been completed can we measure each protein separately and see how abundant they are in different varieties of wheat. This information enables scientists to use mass spectrometers to sift through proteins and peptides by subtle differences in their weight — a difference that can be smaller than the mass as a proton.
We can literally dial up the masses of a particular set of peptides and set the mass spectrometer to work measuring them. The technology is at the cutting edge of new blood tests for disease. It can now be applied to make new measures in wheat. This means we have a remarkable new opportunity to see wheat in a novel way — as a complex set of proteins that can work for us, or against us. This breakthrough not only shows us the list of proteins in grain.
When paired with wheat genome data information about the complete set of genes in wheat it tells us for the first time which of the , different wheat genes are responsible for making each of the proteins. Armed with this new information, things really can change. We will ultimately be able to determine which proteins in wheat are causing people to feel unwell. We will then be able to breed wheat varieties that contain less or none of the proteins responsible. They can enable wheat varieties to be tailored to make wheats that are better for baking or brewing or thickening.
They can even help us to breed wheat that is better able to survive in harsh environments, to adapt to changes in climates and is better suited to more intensive farming. This is important because wheat is not just an integral part of the western diet. It is also part of an international plan to raise crop yields to ensure we have food for the estimated 8.
Safe, benign, abundant, cheap, high quality wheats with protein contents ready for many different applications are a key part of food security and a fairer future. This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article. The science methods book Isolation of Plant Organelles and Structures: Methods and Protocols is now available. The book brings together the major techniques used in the isolation or enrichment of individual populations of organelles and other subcellular structures from plants. The publication will greatly aid those who regularly isolate subcellular components as well as those whose research has lead them to focus on a subcellular compartment or a particular process for the first time.
The book's chapters contain introductions to their respective topics, lists of the necessary materials and reagents, step-by-step, readily reproducible laboratory protocols, and tips on troubleshooting and avoiding known pitfalls. The book can be purchased from Springer. An international team of researchers have clarified the complex process by which the building blocks of proteins are recycled in plants. The research was published today in Nature Chemical Biology.
The scientists from Australia, Sweden and Poland identified a sequential pathway that degrades proteins into single amino acids - the basic building blocks of proteins. The pathway was discovered in the chloroplasts of plant cells. The finding has revealed how plants recover amino acids for their re-use or export from the chloroplast. Proteins control and fulfil all functions within a cell.
Amino acids play a vital role in cell metabolism. The study was carried out by an international team of researchers and was led by the University of Stockholm. His research focus is on plant responses to environmental stress. His work has identified several important genes that can help plants endure prolonged periods of drought, high salinity and microbial infections. He hopes to now develop strategies to translate improved plant stress responses from the lab to the field.
Dr Van Aken has also volunteered his time to the Scientists in Schools program and has been an active participant in public science outreach activities, including the Speed Dating with Scientists event held during National Science Week. Award winners participate in education and community outreach programs in which they become role models to inspire school students and the broader community about the possibilities of science.
Western Australian researchers have catalogued the proteins found in the Wyalkatchem variety of bread wheat in an effort to better understand its biology and improve wheat production for the future. Scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology at The University of Western Australia have made the first protein map of any wheat variety, providing insights into how these proteins control its growth, yield and composition. The project is significant for the Australian wheat industry as its focus on profiling a local variety of wheat will keep Australian agriculture at the forefront of cutting-edge breeding technologies.
This research looks beyond the blueprints and examines these machines while they are operating" said lead researcher Dr Owen Duncan. The project combines cutting-edge mass spectrometry tools and world-leading knowledge to enhance the development of wheat varieties better suited to the WA cropping environment.
The comprehensive project examined many different protein types in over twenty wheat tissues and parts of the wheat grain. The breakthrough study represents a major step in equipping local and global breeders with the information needed to improve wheat, beyond the selection of high yielding crosses. The researchers have compiled the data into an online database, wheatproteome.
The study was published online in The Plant Journal last week. An international team of researchers have decoded the genetic sequence of the African clawed frog, an important model system for cell and developmental biology, and immunology. The study, published today in the journal Nature , showed that this peculiar animal arose from an ancient hybridisation event that combined the genomes of two different frog species 18 million years.
The study revealed that the frog, scientifically named Xenopus laevis, arose from interspecific hybridization — the mating of two species from within the same genus. It has the ability to switch genes "on" and "off" during embryo development and disease formation". The study shows that DNA methylation played one of the most important roles in fine-tuning the levels of gene products making sure that proteins are produced at the correct levels despite the duplication of the genome sequence.
The discovery of how an evolutionarily-conserved protein controls plant aging and growth could have important implications for agriculture as well as human health. This is the area of a cell which generates energy for growth" said Dr Lei Li, lead researcher for the study.
Using a novel technique that allows the age of proteins to be measured, the researchers were able to determine the role of Lon1 in plants in controlling the turn-over of proteins in the mitochondria.
They found that Lon1 is critical for plants to reach their normal size. The build-up of old proteins, which occurs when Lon1 is not performing correctly, acts to limit plant growth. This understanding of how Lon1 protein works could be used to improve the overall efficiency of crop plant growth for agriculture.
Information about how Lon1 functions could help to address how abnormal versions of the protein lead to human disease. The study is published in The Plant Journal. Researchers have made a breakthrough in investigating salt tolerance in plants which could lead to new salt tolerant varieties of crops, and also answer unresolved questions in plant biology.
The researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology's University of Adelaide node, in collaboration with the University's School of Medicine, have discovered that a protein known to control salt balance in animals works the same way in plants. The research, published in the journal Plant Cell and Environment , found that in plants, as in animals, a group of proteins, a type of 'aquaporin', can transport salt ions as well as water.
Aquaporins have long been known to act as pores by transporting water across membranes in plants and animals, and they play critical roles in controlling the water content of cells. But, until now, it was not known they could do the same with sodium ions salt. But under certain conditions some aquaporins can also let sodium ions through. The researchers believe these "double-barrelled" aquaporins may be the elusive proteins that let sodium ions -the toxic component of salt- in and out of plant roots.
Since the early s researchers have known that salt enters plant roots in saline conditions via pores in the membrane, but the identity of these pores has remained a mystery. This particular aquaporin is abundant on the surface of roots. The researchers say that this discovery will help them target ways of blocking the pathway of salt into plants.
And plant breeders may be able to select varieties which have differences in the aquaporin protein. There are also exciting implications for understanding how plants function. It may not feel like it in Australia right now , but over the past year we've experienced the hottest global temperatures on instrumental record. This could spell bad news for Australia's plants. A study, published in the journal Global Change Biology , has found that across much of inland Australia plants are near a tipping point in their ability to cope with rising high-temperature extremes.
This suggests that future heat-waves could have devastating effects on Australia's flora. Here, maximum air temperatures during heat-waves are most extreme".
We could see dramatic changes to the face of Aussie plant life in the future". The international team of researchers looked at plants from habitats all over the world, including nineteen remote sites in the arctic, tropics and deserts. The study is the most comprehensive analysis of heat tolerance in plants to date. By exposing leaves to increasing temperatures during controlled tests, the researchers were able to pinpoint the exact temperatures where leaf metabolism becomes damaged by heat.
They found that two critical processes for plant growth and survival, namely photosynthesis and leaf respiration, were damaged by high-temperature extremes. The findings of the study also have important implications for farmers growing crops in hot, inland regions of Australia.
Our results point towards heat damage to leaves being a further factor contributing to reduced crop yields. The potential for such damage will only increase as global temperatures rise" said Prof. Plant Energy Biologists have joined over Australian scientists in penning a letter urging the Australian Prime Minister to tackle the root causes of climate change. The letter was published in The Conversation this week. Plant Energy Biology is set to take people on an educational journey through a plant cell - using virtual reality technology.
The Centre will launch the Virtual Plant Cell VPC , a unique virtual reality experience that lets its audience explore the microscopic inner world of a plant. VPC allows users to interact with the plant cell and learn about the complex processes that scientists study, in a novel and engaging way. They can peer into a chloroplast or watch as DNA swirls overhead in the nucleus. They can even help the plant survive challenges faced in its environment by controlling what happens in the cell".
Users gain a better understanding when they have been immersed in that world". VPC will serve as an exciting background for educating the community and creating a dialogue about plant energy biology research. The Centre hopes to secure the funding needed to continue VPC development to create an educational resource for teaching biology in schools.
Organisations that are already exploring the potential of VR are building the knowledge and experience required to adapt and create the exciting and progressive tools and experiences of the future". Plant Energy Biology has had previous success with immersive education using the world's largest inflatable plant cell, the Bio-Bounce, and a full-dome movie called Plantarium.
These novel resources engage audiences in plant science in exciting ways. See Facebook for details. The Centre has started creating a number of virtual reality experiences, including one where the user finds themself exploring the inside of a plant cell. Places like the inside of a plant cell or our laboratory spaces". The exciting Virtual Plant Cell project will allow users to interact with a plant cell and learn about the processes that plant biologists study. In the same way learning what a biologist does inside of a laboratory becomes automatic when you can stand 'alongside' one in a lab".
EcoVR provides a novel way for researchers to view and organise complicated data. Plant Energy Biology's research aims to improve how plants, particularly crop plants, make and manage their energy in order to more efficiently grow and produce yield. The Centre runs an extensive education and outreach program to link the community to plant energy research.
Researchers have found how plants, such as rice and wheat, sense and respond to extreme drought stress, in a breakthrough that could lead to the development of next-generation drought-proof crops. But in the field, this can occur too late and the plant would have suffered damage already.
More drought-tolerant crops are crucial to helping ensure global food security and can reduce the impact of drought on the national economy. A Climate Council report found that the Australian GDP fell one per cent due to drought and lower agricultural production in and Drought normally hits wheat at the flowering and seed stage, which is critical in determining the size of a crop's harvest.
By activating the sensor alarm faster during a dry season, the plant can activate counter-measures in its leaves to prevent unnecessary water loss and ensure that the plant survives until the next rainfall. The chemical spray would provide an innovative way to reduce the impact of drought stress. Dr Chan said they will use this model and a computer program to identify candidate chemical compounds that match well with the enzyme's structure.
We would then need to perfect a compound in consultation with farmers and other industry players. The simple act of water droplets landing on a leaf causes an elaborate response inside of plants, scientists have found. A similar reaction is seen when plants are patted or touched, suggesting that they are highly aware of what is happening to them. The study, published in the journal Plant Physiology , suggests that this touch response may prepare a plant to defend itself from danger or take advantage of changes in the weather.
A change in the expression of thousands of plant genes was initially observed by researchers when plants were sprayed with water. The dramatic response occurred within only minutes of spraying and stopped in half an hour. Curious, the researchers examined what else could trigger such a response in plants.
They found the results could also be produced by gently patting the plants by hand or by touching them with tweezers.
A similar response is also triggered by a sudden shadow falling over the plant, limiting their supply of light. Instead, plants appear to have developed intricate stress defence systems to sense their environment and help them detect danger and respond appropriately," said Dr Van Aken. It allows plants to get on with life as normal, forgetting about the signal and treating it as a false alarm" said Dr Van Aken.
The seemingly simple tip of a plant root is packed with epigenetic diversity, a study by ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology researchers and their colleagues has revealed. The root tip is made up of pockets of different, specialised cells. On top of the genetic code sits another code, the epigenome, which can direct which genes are switched on and off.
PEB researchers Tim Stuart and Professor Ryan Lister at the University of Western Australia, together with scientists from around the globe examined the differences in DNA methylation, a type of epigenetic tag, between root cell types. While epigenetic patterns across different plant organs and tissues have previously been studied, this is the first finding of differences in DNA methylation between cell types from the same somatic tissue.
Columella cells, a specialised gravity-sensing cell, were found to be the most epigenetically effected of the six cell types studied. The study was published in Nature Plants this week. Plants from all over the globe respond to temperature changes in remarkably similar ways, researchers have found. The finding has important implications for climate modelling. The research, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , is the most comprehensive study of plant respiration responses to temperature ever conducted.
Plants from habitats all over the world were examined by an international team of researchers. Despite the diversity in the plant types surveyed the results point to striking similarities in how different plants alter their respiration rate in response to increasing temperature. Cellular respiration is the set of metabolic reactions used by plants to make usable energy for growth and cell maintenance.
Plants release carbon dioxide during cellular respiration as a by-product of converting sugars into energy. Researchers measured the respiration rates of vegetation at eighteen remote sites around the world which represented seven different types of plant habitat.
They found that the sensitivity of respiration to temperature decreases as plants warm. Amazingly, these patterns were remarkably uniform across all the habitats and plant types studied.
The finding points to universally conserved controls of temperature responsiveness across the world's plant life. The patterns revealed by the study are important for climate modelling as they differ from a previous assumption that the temperature sensitivity of plant respiration is constant as leaves heat up.
The reality that, across multiple plant species, respiration is more temperature sensitive that previously assumed and becomes less sensitive as the temperature rises is valuable information for creating accurate climate models. Plant respiration is a major contributor of carbon to the atmosphere and plays a key role in the global carbon cycle.
Climate models are routinely used to predict how warm the Earth will be later this century. Central to this is the prediction of carbon flows between plants and the atmosphere.
An international team of biologists has discovered how the same genes are turned on in mammals, fish and amphibians early in embryonic development, making them look incredibly similar for a brief period of time. The study, led by researchers at the University of Western Australia and published today in Nature Genetics, sheds light on why all vertebrate animals those with a backbone look alike during a particular phase of embryo development known as the phylotypic stage.
During this time, embryos of birds, fish and even humans start to look the same - before they diverge again and become very different looking animals. The similarity was first described by pre-eminent nineteenth century embryologist Karl Ernst von Baer, when his sloppy sample labelling led him to accidentally mix up phylotypic stage embryos of different vertebrate species and he was unable to tell which embryo belonged to which species.
The change in these signposts happens in a wave and activates the same developmental pathways in each animal, contributing to their similarity. Professor Lister said it is thought that vertebrates show such similarity during this developmental period because that is when the fundamental structure of the body is being set up.
Professor Lister noted that some critical experimental techniques the team used to study vertebrate embryogenesis were first developed through his earlier plant genomics research, demonstrating how advances in one scientific field and system can rapidly be embraced to make advances in another. We have heard about the government's 'Ideas Boom', but how about making ideas ' bloom '?
Australia could reap the rewards of an agricultural and environmental 'genomics revolution'. Plant biologists at The University of Western Australia have discovered that the commonly used antibiotic ciprofloxacin, which kills bacteria, also kills plants by blocking their DNA copying machinery.
Dr Mylne said the researchers found a plant that could grow on ciprofloxacin and by working out which gene mutation enabled this, could prove how the antibiotic killed plants. Dr Mylne said the UWA research team's contribution was to provide the plant proof that the mutated gene was responsible for its ability to grow on ciprofloxacin.
This work built on prior knowledge from Professor Maxwell's lab that the enzyme DNA gyrase part of the DNA copying machinery is made in plants and is essential in plant growth and development. By generating mutations in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and finding one plant that is resistant to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin and analysing its genome, the team confirmed that DNA gyrase in plants can be targeted effectively by this antibiotic.
A new database of valuable protein information for economically important crop plants will be a significant resource for crop improvement and global food security. CropPAL is a new catalogue of location information about barley, wheat, rice and maize proteins which has arisen out of global research.
Proteins represent the building blocks of all living cells. In order to improve crop plants to cope with rising temperatures, drought, flooding and salinity, protein function and location must be known.
A greater understanding of proteins in crop plants will enable more targeted breeding of crop species in the future. As an open access research tool where protein location information is collated, cropPAL is a valuable asset to assist plant researchers, biotechnology companies and the crop breeding industry. The resource will accelerate solutions that address challenges such as drought, salinity and nitrogen starvation in major global crops. In some sense it will be a pal, a help, to people who want to know more and innovate using this shared knowledge".
ANDS aims to improve visibility, access and re-use of valuable research data as part of a global open-access data movement in science. CropPAL has transformed unstructured information and thousands of new computer predictions of protein locations from hundreds of research studies generated over the last 10 years by over research institutions around the world into an Australian-housed central research open-access data collection for efficient use and discovery.
The project has a bright future with plans to expand the crop collection in to include seven additional species, including grape, sorghum and canola. A video about the project can also be viewed. Dr Waters, an affiliate researcher of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, at the University of Western Australia will investigate a plant chemical signalling pathway with the capacity to increase plant performance. Working within the UWA School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, over the next four years Dr Waters aims to identify unknown signalling compounds that work through a recently identified hormone signalling system in plants.
The project also plans to exploit this pathway to find inhibitors of premature seed germination that afflict crops such as wheat and barley. The intended outcomes are a better understanding of how plants grow and new strategies for boosting plant performance in the field. Specific potential applications of Dr Waters' work include reducing plant water use, regulating seed germination, and encouraging early seedling establishment.
Nationally he is the only recipient of a Future Fellowship working in the field of plant biology. He researches epigenomes, which play central roles in the growth of plants, animals and human.
Lister's work sheds light on the essential building blocks of life and may help engineer drought-resistant crops or prevent disease. If Australia is to become a knowledge-rich society, it must celebrate the people who create and apply knowledge - the people building our knowledge economy.
Plant scientist Dr Sandra Tanz has been named a Western Australian Tall Poppy in recognition of her research into photosynthesis and her related community science engagement. As global populations rise there is a need to dramatically increase food production, and to do so in the face of increasingly dry and arid agricultural lands.
Dr Tanz' work has the potential to improve the productivity of crop plants when grown under such poor conditions. C4 plants have adapted to thrive in hot and dry environments. However, many significant global food crops such as rice and wheat are of the C3 photosynthetic variety. Dr Tanz' research could lead to photosynthetic traits from C4 plants being used to improve C3 crops, significantly boosting yields from staple food crops around the globe.
Dr Tanz has been proactive in communicating her research and related science through outreach activity. The award winners participate in an education and community outreach program in the year following their award, and become role models to inspire school students and the broader community about the possibilities of science.
The chair of AIPS, Professor Rick McLean, said "these winners reflect the important, life changing research being carried out that will ultimately affect all of us.
Their passion for communicating their work means many more will hear about the fantastic work being carried out right here in Australia". A Rwandan Biosecurity Fellow's visit to Australia will help in bringing much needed skills to African scientists to fight insect plagues threatening Africa's food security.
Whitefly plagues can destroy entire cassava crops that millions of East African farmers and their families rely on as a primary food source. The devastation caused by the whitefly leaves many Africans with little to eat. The Partnership is an Australian Government initiative aimed at strengthening the plant biosecurity capacity of Sub-Saharan African countries through expertise at Australian host organisations. Australia is an ideal location to study biosecurity and can provide the visiting Fellows with skills not currently established in Africa.
While in Australia the Fellows will train under some of the world's leading experts. Our farmers are the backbone of our economy and our society, and I am very happy that UWA and the Australians are helping to make us stronger" says Mr Mushayija. Mr Mushayija hopes to improve Rwanda's biosecurity capacity with practical diagnostic methods based on the cutting-edge principles and techniques he learns in Australia for the analysis of pests and diseases.
The Fellows will "pay it forward" by teaching the skills they learn to others in their country and elsewhere in Africa, potentially creating many more experts in their specific field. While at UWA Mr Mushayija is gaining skills in molecular diagnostics and analysis for the identification of pests, which he will use to train a team of researchers in Rwanda. The capacity to identify new species of whitefly will mean that distribution of cassava seeds resistant to the correct species of whitefly throughout areas of East Africa can be ensured.
Diagnostic techniques will allow early identification and reporting of pests of concern by African farmers, with methods being transferable to different pest insects, thus helping to improve food security in East Africa on an ongoing basis. Mr Mushayija says he has been "impressed by the advanced biosecurity processes in place in Australia, such as sniffer dogs at the airport detecting plant products entering Australia". He believes that many of the processes used to keep Australia biologically safe could be adopted to great effect in Africa.
Mr Mushayija role at Rwanda's Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources includes inspection and certification of imported and exported agricultural commodities, conducting monitoring surveys to update a national pest list, and enforcement of Rwanda's plant health law and regulations. He says that he admires "how Australia fosters close connections with its agricultural community, and the priority that is put on ensuring their livelihoods".
Under DECRA funding Dr Wege aims to discover novel components that control how plants acquire and manage chloride, an ion that commonly causes salt stress and is a major threat to Australia's agriculture.
This will be useful for the production of cereal seeds with better rates of germination for agriculture. The project aims to combine the latest technologies and molecular approaches with genetics to understand how mitochondria control seed germination and germination rates in rice. Dr Van Aken and Prof. Millar, together with colleague Professor Karam Singh, will commence a three year Discovery Project to identify the regulatory mechanisms that control touch-responses in plants.
Touch-responsiveness in plants is essential for pathogen resistance, overcoming threats and preventing damage. The project is expected to expand understanding of the physiological impacts of touch-responses on growth and stress tolerance in plants. Small, along with collaborating researchers, will establish a single-molecule super-resolution microscopy facility in Western Australia. The facility will enable biologists to directly observe interacting macromolecules in plants, animals and organisms.
With a special joint fellowship from the NHMRC and the ARC Mr Buckberry will study the role of the neuronal epigenome in the progression of both natural brain aging and in Alzheimer's disease, as part of Ryan Lister's epigenetics laboratory at the Centre.
A team of Australian researchers will contribute to a G20 nations plan to strengthen future, global food security by making more energy efficient wheat. According to The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations global crop yields must double by to meet future food security needs.
To address this need Agriculture Ministers of the G20 nations have established the International Wheat Yield Partnership IWYP ; a unique, international funding initiative to co-ordinate worldwide wheat research efforts. A team of Australian scientists have been selected to address a key component of a global future food security solution by increasing the energy efficiency of wheat. Professor Harvey Millar, a Principal Investigator on the project from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, says "our preliminary data demonstrates that there is untapped genetic variation in the energy use efficiency of wheat.
This means we can fine-tune and optimise growth, which will have a positive impact on wheat yield. The three year project will see wheat improvement through energy use efficiency tackled at the cell, tissue and whole plant level. The project will combine genetics, gene expression and growth studies with the high throughput analysis of photosynthesis and respiration in order to screen elite wheat germplasm from field trials in Australia and Mexico.
Professor Robert Furbank, a Principal Investigator on the project from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Translational Photosynthesis, says "going from field to lab helps us integrate knowledge to identify the best traits in different wheat varieties that can be brought together in new, elite varieties". Collaborations with technology companies Astec Global and Photon Systems Instruments will make screening and analysis possible through newly developed machinery.
Cutting-edge field measurements will be made using technologies including drones, robotics and Global Positioning Systems. The project, which is set to commence in , is one of only eight internationally to be selected for funding through IWYP. Sandra Kerbler and Ghislaine Platell have been selected to participate in Homeward Bound ; a leadership and strategic programme for women in science, set against the backdrop of Antarctica.
Homeward Bound invited applications by women in science from around the globe. Ms Kerbler and Mrs Platell have been selected as two of only seventy eight women from a wide range of science research and communication backgrounds to embark on the voyage in December Her studies aim to identify how plants adjust their metabolism in response to changing environmental conditions, with such knowledge contributing to the global effort to produce crop plants that can thrive in future changing climates.
The Homeward Bound expedition will focus on building leadership skills for females in science, with a parallel focus on the changing environment and how polar science can inform about the health of the planet. The results of her research may lead to more efficient approaches for biofuel production. The major aims of Homeward Bound are to elevate each participant's leadership capabilities, to refine their skills in the design and execution of strategy, and devise plans for future collaborations as women working towards a sustainable future.
Homeward Bound is an amazing opportunity for me to connect with women that share similar values yet come from diverse backgrounds" says Mrs Platell.
The Homeward Bound trip, departing Ushuaia on December the 2nd , will seek to significantly elevate how women at the leadership table might result in a more inclusive future, focussing on the role of women in leadership globally.
Women will undertake 18 days of state-of-the-art education in leadership, strategic skills and global climate, biological and earth system science. Scientific contributors recognised for their expertise and role in a greater understanding of change in our world will deliver a science program on board the expedition.
Throughout the voyage a team of globally recognised women of influence, including Primatologist Dr Jane Goodall and Franny Armstrong, founder of the A team of leading Australian documentary makers will capture stories around the Antarctic voyage to form part of a film that will explore the role of women in our world and challenge the audience to think about the role of females as leaders. Each participant is required to contribute a portion of the costs involved in taking part in the Homeward Bound expedition.
For more information about the Homeward Bound initiative and how you can help, please visit the UWA crowdfunding page. The Solutions Summit, described as a "catalytic gathering", was part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit held last weekend.
It marked the beginning of a global effort to support those who are tackling 17 Global Goals by recognising that exceptional innovators, including scientists, technologists and engineers are developing solutions that can address one or more of these goals.
Dr Boykin and her research team use genomics and supercomputing to help smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa control whiteflies, which cause devastation to local cassava crops. Such devastation is leaving many without food. Dr Boykin hopes that her work will play a part in tacking Global Goal 2: The goal is to " end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture ".
Using genetic data to understand the whitefly's evolution, Dr Boykin's research has demonstrated important genetic differences in various whitefly species. This speciation information is used by researchers and breeders to ensure farmers are given varieties of cassava crop resistant to the appropriate whitefly species they are encountering.
Those who start The Holland Track from the Hyden entryway will finish in Coolgoodie, an old mining town km away. Hyden is a small country town with a population of people, situated in the desolate and dry Wheatbelt Region of Western Australia.
There is much more to Hyden however, than just Wave Rock. The Aborigines were the first inhabitants to the area and plenty of artifacts have been found on old campsites here. A place of Aboriginal legends. They came to cut down trees that were sent to China to make incense for the Chinese Temples. Not long after that, farming started in and then wheat production in As you approach Hyden town you will see Street Scape Sculptures in the main street.
They tell the story of how Hyden came to be from Aboriginal history, the first sandalwood cutters to the shearers and farmers. Hyden Street Scape Art — Explore Hyden Town to see the sculptures made from old machinery, implements and scrap metal that tell the history of Hyden. The vibrant colouring of the wave is due to water from the springs running down the rock during wetter months helping to dissolve minerals into it.
Wave Rock at night time. So go on, visit Wave Rock, see Hyden Rock and touch the rock-floor, or take an epic selfie at least, I know you want to. Visit the Wave Rock website for further information on accommodation, food, tours and more, or download this Wave Rock Brochure. I love exploring Perth and Western Australia and then sharing my experiences with you, my readers. Take a look at photos below from my stopover in Hyden and Wave Rock.
Check out pics below. Love going on roadtrips in Western Australia, I always have my camera in hand so I can take pictures out the window! The town welcome sign which features Wave Rock. You will find interpretive signage around the rock, enlighting you on the history of the rock and surrounding areas. A little photoshoot at Wave Rock. But first, let me take a selfie at Wave Rock! Also why is my hair looking so red?
Wave Rock makes for a unique family photograph — make sure to bring the camera! Great views up here. My humps, my lovely lady humps.
Dogs are allowed to visit Wave Rock, but they must be on leashes at all times. Water from the springs that run down the rock during wetter months dissolve minerals and this adds to the colour. Something Else To Do: The Lace Place houses antique gowns and wedding dresses. On the right, a statue of an Australian Aboriginal. Located metres from Wave Rock you will find the Wildflower Shoppe, a cafe, souvenir shop and visitor information centre all under one roof.
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Over one thousand wheat disease resistance genes and their locations in the genome were revealed by the study. Andrew Dowling February 25, at 2: Our farmers are the backbone of our economy and our society, and I am very happy that UWA and the Australians are helping to make us stronger" says Mr Mushayija.
Joanne Powles October 26, at 4:
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