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Edit avian flu out of chicken genes

New research suggests it could be possible to halt the bird flu virus in chickens

Scientists have used gene-editing techniques to stop the bird flu virus from spreading in chicken cells grown in the lab. The findings raise the possibility of producing gene-edited chickens that are resistant to the disease. Researchers prevented the virus from taking hold by deleting a section of chicken DNA inside lab-grown cells. The next step […] Read more


New mutations for herbicide resistance rare

Most resistance seems to come from pre-existing genetic conditions

After exposing more than 70 million seeds to a soil-based herbicide, researchers at the University of Illinois were not able to find a single herbicide-resistant mutant. Though preliminary, the findings suggest that the mutation rate in amaranth is very low, and that low-level herbicide application contributes little — if anything — to the onset of […] Read more



Fruit-eating bug marches west

It’s been a familiar sight in Manitoba for a while, and now seems set on new horizons

A pest that has targeted strawberries and other soft fruits in Manitoba could be headed west. The spotted wing drosophila, which is thought to have come from southeast Asia, has been spotted in Manitoba in small numbers. SWD’s presence in Alberta and British Columbia suggests Saskatchewan may be the bug’s next home. SWD is an […] Read more


Neonics leave bees vulnerable to mites, study shows

The pesticides are shown to affect bees’ ability to groom themselves

Neonicotinoid pesticides affect honeybees’ ability to groom and rid themselves of deadly mites, a University of Guelph study has revealed. The research comes as Health Canada places new limits on the use of three key neonicotinoids while it decides whether to impose a full phase-out of the chemicals. Neonics are the most commonly used insecticides […] Read more



Plant signals trigger remarkable bacterial transformation

Nostoc bacteria convert atmospheric nitrogen to ammonia for the Sago palm

A recent Japanese study has shown that extracts from the Sago palm stimulated nitrogen-producing bacterial transformation. Researchers hope that better understanding of the system could someday lead to more efficient, less fertilizer-dependent agricultural production. The cycad Cycas revolute, or Sago palm, is a palm-like plant that grows on rocky coastal cliffs in the subtropics and […] Read more


Manure map raises recycling hopes

A study shows potential for farmers to reclaim phosphorus fertilizer

A New Jersey university is mapping the world’s manure in an effort to jump-start a movement to recycle phosphorus. In the April 2019 issue of Earth’s Future, a research team from Stevens Institute of Technology mapped the journey of phosphorus from soil to crops, to livestock and humans, and eventually into sewers and landfills. This […] Read more



Back from South America for the summer

Warblers fly from Churchill to the Carolinas, then non-stop over the ocean for 2-1/2 days

University of Guelph biologists have tracked an annual migration of up to 20,000 kilometres made by the 12-gram blackpoll warbler, one of the fastest declining songbirds in North America. The bird’s trek between its breeding grounds in the central and western boreal forest of North America and its winter home in the Amazon Basin is […] Read more


University researchers model photosynthesis

They say it’s an important window into this crucial biological process and how it affects crop yields

In the next two decades, crop yields need to increase dramatically to feed the growing global population. Wouldn’t it be incredibly useful if we had a crystal ball to show us what are the best strategies available to increase crop yields? A team of scientists have just developed exactly that: a dynamic model that predicts […] Read more



It takes a village to stop weeds

Researchers say the community nature of the problem of invasive weeds hasn’t been adequately incorporated into control efforts

Invasive weeds are a problem that defies solution, and only seems to get worse. That’s because they’re a community problem that cross property boundaries, according to weed scientist Muthu Bagavathiannan, of Texas A&M. Finding a real solution will involve recognizing the nature of weeds as a community problem, and managing them accordingly, he and other […] Read more


Fungus vs. fungus

Non-harmful native fungus could supplant ones that cause harmful toxins

It’s not good when a fungus contaminates crops. Safe native fungi, however, show promise in the fight against toxic fungal contamination. One such harmful fungus is Aspergillus flavus, which can infect several crops, including corn, other cereal crops and some legumes. Some varieties, or strains, of A. flavus produce aflatoxins. Aflatoxin contamination costs farmers billions […] Read more