In a recent study at the University of Illinois, scientists have been able to use wheat’s genetic makeup to identify the specific chromosomal regions that help detoxify synthetic auxin herbicides. | File photo

Genetic research targets herbicide tolerance

Scientists identify the specific chromosomal regions in the wheat genome that help detoxify synthetic auxin herbicides

Since the 1960s, wheat has been known to have a natural ability to detoxify certain herbicides. It’s a genetic trait, and if scientists could identify the genes involved, the ability could be amplified. The problem lies with the complex wheat genetic map. Wheat contains 16 billion genes organized in three semi-independent genomes, which can overlap […] Read more

Temperament traits in livestock are important because docile animals can grow faster and are easier to transport and feed.  |  Jeanette Greaves photo

Cattle temperament genes linked to autism

Advocacy groups have criticized the study, but researchers hope findings will shed new light on genetic aspects of autism

Australian researchers have discovered a strong association between the genes influencing cattle temperament and autism in humans. Dr. Roy Costilla, postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Queensland’s Centre for Animal Science, said researchers tested the association of cattle temperament with temperament-like traits in humans, including four behavioural and psychiatric disorders: neuroticism, schizophrenia, developmental delay […] Read more

Research from Oregon State Uni-versity has shown that two pesti-cides in particular shorten honey-bees’ lives and may cause added physiological stress. | File photo

Certain pesticides shorten honeybee lives

Oregon State University researchers determine sulfoxaflor and flupyradifurone can shorten lives and cause stress

Western honeybees, major pollinators of fruit, nut, vegetable and seed crops, face many stresses today. That can sometimes can make them incapable of smoothly performing their tasks. Environmental stressors can include varroa mites, viruses and poor nutrition. Pesticide exposure adds to those threats. Research from Oregon State University has shown that two pesticides in particular […] Read more


Breeders in Australia have worked to reduce the levels of beta-glucan in barley to three to five percent because it is preferred by the malting and brewing industries, but new genetic solutions that enable breeders to control levels more efficiently would be seen as desirable.  |  File photo

Barley gene-edited for improved quality

Australian and Scottish researchers say modifying beta-glucan levels in barley may help contribute to lower cholesterol

A team of scientists has shown the potential to rapidly improve barley quality through the gene editing technique called CRISPR. Researchers at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Research Institute, working with colleagues at the James Hutton Institute in Scotland, recently showed how the levels of beta-glucan, a source of fermentable dietary fibre that may contribute […] Read more

Professor David Miller discusses data with a member of his team.  |  University of Illinois photo

Sperm discovery may improve hog breeding

Sugar slows the maturation rate of sperm in pigs, which could extend its storage time inside the sow’s reproductive tract

In a variety of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, after mating sperm is stored in a portion of the female reproductive tract called the sperm reservoir. This reservoir in the mammalian lower oviduct, known as the isthmus, regulates sperm function and extends the cells’ viability and lifespan, which are traits necessary for fertility in species […] Read more


Some crops are able to survive temporary periods of flooding by activating energy pathways that do not rely on air when flood water creates low oxygen conditions.  |  File photo

Enzyme research may lead to flood resistance

Scientists discover that manipulating plant cysteine oxidases may help enhance crops’ flood-resistance capabilities

The recent discovery of the molecular structure of plant enzymes that control a plant’s response to lower oxygen levels could to lead to ways to manipulate the enzyme function and produce flood-resistant crops. The research was conducted at the University of Sydney in Australia and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Crops such […] Read more

Black mustard genome breakthrough applauded

Researchers say the accomplishment will provide valuable information to advance breeding of oilseed mustard crop

Black mustard (Brassica nigra), commonly used as a cooking spice, is grown in India and is closely related to mustard and canola. Recently, an international team of researchers with the Plant Phenotyping and Imaging Research Centre (P21RC) at the University of Saskatchewan and Agriculture Canada decoded the full genome of the black mustard plant, which […] Read more

Sulfur has been used on agricultural lands as a fertilizer and a pesticide to improve production and crop health. | File photo

Sulfur pollution finger pointed at agriculture

American researchers say they have found that modern farming is the largest human source of sulfur in the environment

Sulfur pollution has reached levels of up to 10 times higher than the peak sulfur loads of the acid rain days of the 1960s and 1970s. The source appears to be additions of sulfur to agricultural crops. “For several years, my research group has been studying the fate of high sulfur loads applied to California […] Read more


According to Ducks Unlimited Canada, the 2018 Trends in Duck Breeding Populations report showed that, while numbers were down from 2017 due to a dry spring, total populations were high and healthy. An estimated 41.2 million breeding ducks were recorded, 17 percent above the long-term average. However, northern pintails were estimated at 2.4 million, an 18 percent decrease from 2017. 
| File photo

Cropping methods can mislead ducks

Some of the best waterfowl breeding wetlands in the world are found right in our backyard. During the last Ice Age, kilometre-high glaciers pressed down on much of North America. When the ice melted, millions of shallow pools were left behind. These pothole wetlands became home to hundreds of species and millions of waterfowl. Today, […] Read more

Alison Van Eenennaam, a co-operative extension specialist with the University of Californa, Davis’s animal science department, helped develop Cosmo using genome editing.  |  University of California, Davis photo

Genome-edited bull can produce more males

American researchers inserted a gene that is involved in male sexual development into one of the calf’s chromosomes

Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have successfully produced a bull calf that has been genome-edited to produce more male offspring. They did this by inserting the SRY gene into the bovine chromosome 17. But what does that mean? On March 30, a black 50 kilogram calf was born at the UC Davis barn. […] Read more