Current Event Summaries by Reese G.

6 Responses to Current Event Summaries by Reese G.

  1. Reese Gaston says:

    The Next Agricultural Revolution Is Here
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190919181133.htm
    Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
    Science Daily
    September 19, 2019

    Article Summary and Personal Reaction:
    Researchers are trying to find ways to overcome dietary needs of humans and livestock, as the population continues to grow and climate around us changes. Professor Zach Lippman partnered with Yuval Eshed to try and help with the issue. They figured out what mutations would be helpful to plants. Making plants that can survive with more fertilizer or varying climates could make plants more resistant to disease and enhance growth. These scientists looked back on key moments in agricultural history to help come up with ideas that would prevent some of these events from happening again. They reviewed events such as fertilizing large wheat yield, causing the plant to grow too tall. Their grainy bounty weighed the plant down and made the wheat stems rot away. After this event, scientists took the issue upon consideration and decided to try and resolve the issue. The scientist, Norman Borlaug, started working with mutations that affected the Gibberellin system. By changing some of the wheat plant’s mutations, currently, we have wheat plants that are shorter and more reliable. This process is known as dwarfing and has also been applied to rice. Although dwarfing can come in hand, it does not happen very fast. It takes years of tweaking to get the system just right for sustainable agriculture. The best application of gene editing may not be to fine-tune old mutations but make new ones. By figuring out genetic variations, farmers might get to skip the waiting game.

    Personal Reaction- I think the idea of genetic variations is really smart, but the reality of it seems too good to be true. Weather plays a large role in whether or not a farmer’s crops can survive. By changing plant traits, they might be able to withstand droughts or storms. Plants pass down their traits through DNA. In class, we are talking about cells and the different cell structures. In order to change a trait in a cell, scientists would have to find a way to alter DNA as well. Although this would be very helpful it might mess up animal’s food chains and set the whole scale off balance. I would like to believe that this would help, but I have to take into consideration all the things that could go wrong.

  2. Reese Gaston says:

    Wild animals’ immune systems decline with age, sheep study finds
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190919142246.htm
    University of Edinburgh
    Science Daily
    September 19, 2019
    Article Summary and Personal Reaction:
    A study says weakened immune system in older aged people affect their health and fitness. Now studies are starting to show that this might be possible for wild animals as well. When the immune system starts to weaken from old age, also called immunosenescence, it becomes a huge issue for our health. Immune systems help to fight against viruses and bacteria, so without it, it is very easy to get sick. Researches from the University of Edinburgh used blood samples from Soay sheep to lead to their discovery between 1990 and 2015. They analyzed over 2000 samples from over 800 animals that resulted in levels of antibodies against a common worm infecting Soay sheep in older age. The Soay sheep study turned into a long term study. Professor Dan Nussey, who co-led the Soay sheep investigation, said “Our work provides the first deterioration in immune function in old age plays an important role in wild animal populations. It also provides rare clues from outside laboratory that our ability to fight worm infection might fade as we age.” Dr. Tom NcNeilily said, “Studies such as these are critical as they provide important information on the likely consequences of farming older animals in terms of their ability to fight infectious diseases.” Susan Bain said, “This new research shows that there is still a lot more to discover about this ancient breed and their environment.”

    Personal Reaction:
    This is the first time I have heard of this study. This investigation was very interesting to me, but not that surprising. If human’s immune systems weaken with old age, then it does not seem that surprising that animals do too. In class, we have been learning about cell functions and structures. Cells and organs work together to help protect the body. In our immune system, white blood cells help protect our body against infectious disease. With old age, people tend to lose amounts of white blood cells, resulting in weakened immune systems. This must be happening in animal bodies as well.

  3. Reese Gaston says:

    Rare view into the formation of viruses
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191004132338.htm
    Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
    Science Daily
    October 4, 2019

    Summary:
    Researchers were able to get images of the formation of viruses. The research provides new information about how we can create medicines to fight against viruses and engineer self-assembling particles. Vinothan Manoharan said, “Our technique gives the first window into how viruses assemble and reveals the kinetics and pathways in quantitative detail.” Manoharan and his team studied a single-stranded RNA virus. RNA viruses are usually very simple. Manoharan and his team looked at the nucleotides and proteins from the virus. They were arranged into hexagon and pentagons to form a structure that looks like a soccer ball around the RNA. This is called a capsid. The real question was how the particles managed to create this structure. No one has ever been able to observe this in real-time because the viruses are so small and their interactions are weak, until now. The researchers used a technique called interferometric scattering microscopy. They compared observations to previous tests and predicted two different types of assembly. The results matched the second pathway. They still don’t know how the individual proteins come together to form the nucleus, but now that they know the pathway, they can develop new models. With those models, they could be useful for designing nanomaterials that assemble themselves.

    Personal Reaction:
    I think this research can be very useful to help find cures to other viruses. It might be a small step, but at least its something. With more research, we might be able to find some of the cures we need to help people in need. In class, we have been talking about DNA and RNA. RNA acts as a messenger that carries instructions from DNA for controlling proteins. RNA viruses can be deadly which is why it is important that we find a way to prevent them.

  4. Reese Gaston says:

    Researchers alter mouse gut microbiomes by feeding good bacteria their preferred fibers
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190919142342.htm
    Cell Press
    Science Daily
    September 19, 2019

    Summary:
    Microbes in our guts use a classification system that is based on molecular components that make up different fibers. In this study, researchers looked at beneficial microbes in the mouse gut. The main goal of this study is to find price-efficient dietary fiber sources for the next generation, better food products. Researches tested 34 food-grade fiber preparations, most of them being processed. Then, they used mice raised under sterile conditions and colonized them with human gut microbes. The goal of this was to identify the best fibers for boosting levels of key fiber-degrading bacterial species and promoting beneficial metabolic enzymes in the microbiome. The investigators also wanted to know how different members of the microbial community interact with each other while they consume dietary fiber. Jeffrey Gordan, a microbiologist, says that “It’s important to understand how the presence of a particular organism affects the dining behavior of other organisms–in this case, with regard to different fibers….which food staples will be the best source of nutrients and how the microbiota will respond.”

    Personal Reaction:
    Studying microbes in our gut could be important to find ways to live a healthier life. Having a healthier lifestyle by choosing better foods could potentially result in longer, better life. Many diseases come from unhealthy eating habits that could be even life-threatening. Microbes relate to what we are talking about in class because most single-celled microbes with prokaryotic cells have been around for a long time. We have learned about prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.

  5. Reese Gaston says:

    Scientists uncover genetic similarities among species that use sound to navigate
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191004105643.htm
    Stanford Medicine
    Science Daily
    October 4, 2019

    Summary:
    Insect-eating bats, dolphins, and killer whales all have a group of nerves that transmit sound from the ear to the brain. This discovery solves a biological debate as to whether or not bate and whales have been through similar genomic changes. This group of nerves is also known as the cochlear ganglion. Researchers from Stanford University developed a way to look through whole-genome sequences and genetic changes shared by animals with odd or unusual traits and abilities. The technique created by the researchers could potentially open many doors for biologists wanting to identify other adaptive traits. They also looked for instances in which the DNA patterns of genes changed to encode amino acids that differed from amino acids found at that position in other mammals. They found that in particular, 25 “convergent” amino acid changes happened in 18 genes known to be involved in the formation of the cochlear ganglion. Lastly, the scientists looked more carefully into their data to ensure their tool would have no problems identifying animal traits.

    Personal Reaction:

    To me, it is very surprising that animals so different in size could have come from a similar place. I can’t believe that an animal that lives in water could have some of the same genes as an animal that can fly on land. In class, we had a discussion about DNA and how traits can be passed down. If both of these animals have the same traits, then there is a high chance they share some of the same DNA.

  6. Reese Gaston says:

    I only copied the summary and personal reaction, so I submitted it again with everything.

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