Researchers at the University of Ottawa have now discovered that plants may actually control the genetics of useful root fungi. | File photo

Research finds plants may control genetics of root fungi

Scientists determine that plants appear to influence the abundance of thousands of co-existing nuclei in their fungi

Many examples of symbiotic relationships between organisms exist in nature. One of the best known is that of plants and root fungi, or arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). The fungus colonizes the root system of a host plant and provides increased water and nutrients, while the plant provides the fungus with carbohydrates formed from photosynthesis. Researchers […] Read more

American scientists are worried that new U.S. rules to govern GMOs make a distinction between genetic modification and gene editing.  | File photo

Researchers want GMO transparency

There has long been consumer interest in genetically modified food, including criticism that there is not enough public information about GM and gene edited crops in the food supply. Now, researchers at North Carolina State University are calling for a coalition of the biotech industry, government, non-government organizations, trade organizations and academic experts to tackle […] Read more

Researchers find promising results feeding monensin to dairy cows during their dry period, when nutritional needs are greatest. | File photo

Rumen additive benefits dry cows

Researchers find promising results feeding monensin to dairy cows during their dry period, when nutritional needs are greatest

Getting nutrition right during a dairy cow’s dry period makes a huge difference to her health, the health of her calf, and the milk yield after calving. Now, new research from the University of Illinois has shown that diets that promote consistent energy levels and contain the rumen-boosting supplement monensin are the ideal approach during […] Read more

Bees place spots of dung near the entrance to their hive.  |  University of Guelph photo

Bees use feces to distract murder hornets

Researchers discover honeybees stick animal dung around the entrances to their hives to protect against the predators

The Asian giant hornet, native to southeastern Asia, is a serious honeybee predator. Recent sightings of what is also called the murder hornet in British Columbia and Washington state have caused alarm. The hornet is about 45 millimetres long, has a wing span around 75 mm, and a stinger of about six mm. They can […] Read more

Ming Luo, left, and Mick Ayliffe of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization are working on improving rust resistance in wheat.  | CSIRO photo

Gene stacking may help fight off wheat stem rust

Australian researchers say bundling together disease resistance genes makes it more difficult for rust fungus to overcome the resistance

Researchers at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organization are trying to improve wheat rust resistance by stacking five resistance genes together. Lead researcher Mick Ayliffe said bundling disease resistance genes together in wheat makes it harder for the rust fungus to overcome the resistance. “Cereal rust diseases have always been big a big problem in […] Read more

Rust-resistant traits in oats can make varieties susceptible to the victorin toxin, which complicates practical application of the latest research.  |  File photo

Researchers unravel genetics of oat disease

Scientists have identified the genetic mechanisms that enable a fungus to produce a toxin that is destructive in oats

In the 1940s, Victoria blight disease wiped out much of the oat crops in the United States. The blight is caused by a fungus called Cochliobolus victoriae, which produces the host-specific toxin, victorin, a chemical made by the fungus. Certain oat genotypes are sensitive to victorin but until recently scientists had not been able to […] Read more

At the University of California, Santa Barbara, scientists found less diverse croplands led to greater variability in pesticide use and higher peak pesticide application, underscoring the fact that pest insects benefit from larger farms and less diverse crop production.
 | File photo

Insect pests thrive in less diverse cropland

A lack of biodiversity in fields can result in a reduction in predators that feed on pests and an increase in food resources

In any natural landscape, biodiversity thrives in the interplay of prey-predator relationships and the soils and vegetation that support them. But how does that environment translate in agricultural fields? How do croplands and monocrop production influence populations of crop pests and pest predators and how does that, in turn, dictate pesticide use? At the University […] Read more

Guihua Yu, associate professor of materials science and engineering the University of Texas at Austin, and his team designed a self-watering soil to harvest atmospheric water as a new fresh-water resource for irrigation. 
| Image via

Unique soil has ability to pull water from air

U.S. researchers design self-watering soil to harvest atmospheric moisture as a new source of fresh water for irrigation

A new type of soil that uses absorbent gels to capture water straight from the air and distribute it to plants has been created by engineers at the University of Texas at Austin. The gels absorb water droplets from cool, humid air at night. Then, when the soil is heated by sunlight, the gels release […] Read more

The discovery of the two maternal genomes could help address the issue of global food security by being able to breed more rice varieties for local adaptation and changing regional climate.  | Reuters/Mohsin Raza photo

Genetic discovery may benefit rice breeding

Researchers learn diversity was inherited through just two maternal genomes that were identified in all the rice varieties

Researchers at Australia’s University of Queensland have been investigating the heritage of more than 3,000 rice genotypes as part of a long-term project to improve rice varieties by using wild rice to expand the gene pool. What they discovered was that rice diversity was inherited through just two maternal genomes that were identified in all […] Read more

It is estimated that dairy cattle in Western Canada experience some heat stress on 40 percent of summer days. | File photo

Heat stress can negatively affect offspring of dairy cows

Heat stress can have long-term health and production consequences for dairy cows. Cattle begin to experience heat stress when the temperature-humidity index (THI) exceeds 72, which can lead to health consequences, decreased milk production and changes in the concentrations of milk fats and proteins. It is estimated that dairy cattle in Western Canada experience some […] Read more