Forming a second line of plant defense — capturing disease-resistant DNA

Scientists have developed a new improved method for capturing longer DNA fragments, doubling the size up to 7000 DNA bases that can be analysed for novel genes which provide plants with immunity to disease.

Flowers use physics to attract pollinators

A new review indicates that flowers may be able to manipulate the laws of physics, by playing with light, using mechanical tricks, and harnessing electrostatic forces to attract pollinators.

The New Phytologist review describes the latest advances in our understanding of how plants use their flowers to ensure reproductive success. Flowers use light to attract pollinators by creating colour using microscopic structures or chemical effects. Using gravity to their advantage, petals cause pollinators to slip or grip when they land on a flower, ensuring that they transfer pollen without taking too much of the sugary nectar reward. Plants may even alter their electrical fields to influence pollinator visits.

“It is surprising to many people that plants use the laws of physics to their advantage in attracting pollinators, but of course it makes sense that evolution has used all the available opportunities to enhance plant fitness,” said Dr. Beverley Glover (University of Cambridge), co-author of the review.

 

Article source: Wiley

GOBII releases open-source tools for faster plant breeding

Crop breeders in developing countries can now access free tools to accelerate the breeding of improved crop varieties, thanks to a collaboration between the GOBII project at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) and Cornell University (USA), and the James Hutton Institute (JHI) in Scotland.

The collaboration works with breeding centers around the world to identify unmet needs and has developed tools to make the process of adding a trait into an existing, high-yield crop variety more efficient. Researchers at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) are using the tools to develop corn varieties with greater resistance to viruses.

New Video from Waitrose: Culture of Quality

At Waitrose, we believe passionately in quality – the quality of service we provide to our customers, through all the Partners that work in every part of our business, the quality of the environment we provide by giving a great physical shopping experience that’s really compelling for all our customers to shop in, and – of course – the quality of products that we sell, which is an absolutely critical part of the great work that you do for us.

–– Rob Collins, Managing Director

Watch the video below to find out more about Waitrose’s Culture of Quality.

Waitrose to take a lead role in managing research on food security and sustainability

Waitrose has become the first retailer to successfully apply to lead the delivery of a major investment in doctoral training by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The money will be invested in 15 separate PhD projects focusing on food security and sustainability.

Turning over a new LEAF at Christmas

Arriving in Waitrose branches for the first time this year are British grown Christmas trees carrying the LEAF Marque logo, meaning they have been sustainably grown with care for the countryside and wildlife that live there.

Grown by LEAF Marque certified business, Hopeman Christmas Trees Ltd in the Black Isle, a peninsula in the north of Inverness, the beautiful British Nordman Fir Trees have been produced following LEAF’s Integrated Farm Management Principles. These include measures to protect soil and water, preserve and enhance wildlife habitats, recycle waste and conserve energy.