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Ash dieback surviver's genome sequence could aid breeding of disease tolerant trees

The genome of an ash tree that has survived ash dieback disease has been sequenced by scientists from The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) and made publicly available via    OpenAshDieBack . Tree 35, from the Danish island of Zealand, was identified as having high levels of resistance to the Chalara fraxinea fungus which causes ash dieback. It is hoped that this...
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Duck genome provides new insight into fighting bird flu

The duck genome consortium, which includes scientists from China Agricultural University, BGI, University of Edinburgh and other institutes, has completed the genome sequencing and analysis of the duck ( Anas platyrhynchos ), a principal natural host of influenza A viruses. The new H7N9 bird flu strain has killed 36 people and caused $6.5 billion loss to China’s...
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Grapevine gene expression study aims to improve wine quality

A gene expression study of grapevine berries grown in different Italian vineyards has highlighted genes that help buffer the plants against environmental change and may explain the different quality performances of grapevine when grown in different “terroirs”. The research, reported in the open access journal Genome Biology, could be used to help identify and breed grapevine...
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BBSRC publishes advice for future wheat research

A working group, established by BBSRC's Food Security Strategy Advisory Panel, has made recommendations for a 5-year Strategy to help shape BBSRC funded wheat research. The Strategy, published today, contains independent advice and recommendations from the working group to advise on the Council's future strategy and prioritie...
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Study finds that pigs fed on saturated fats do not yield better bacon

A recent paper published in the Journal of Animal Science suggests producers may want to adjust pig diets when including distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS). Some producers believe that feeding pigs saturated fats will undo the fat-softening effects of DDGS. Firmer fat means longer-lasting pork. But researchers from the University of Illinois found that including saturated fats...
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Syngenta’s new wheat breeding facility already producing new lines of wheat

Syngenta’s new state-of-the-art wheat breeding support facility at its Jealott’s Hill Research  and Development site is already producing new lines of wheat, helping to speed up the process of bringing new  crop varieties to the market. The new £2 million glasshouse facility covers 2000 square metres and complements Syngenta’s established wheat breeding...
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Small but speedy: Short plants live in the evolutionary fast lane

Biologists have known for a long time that some creatures evolve more quickly than others. Exactly why isn't well understood, particularly for plants. But it may be that height plays a role, says Robert Lanfear of Australian National University and the U. S. National Evolutionary Synthesis Center. In a study to be published 21 May in the journal   Nature Communications ,...
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UK wheat yields could be boosted by up to 30% with the introduction of a new wheat bred from a wild grass species

The National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) in Cambridge has recreated the original rare cross between an ancient wheat and wild grass species that happened in the Middle East 10,000 years ago. The result is a wheat which, when crossed with modern UK varieties, could offer new sources of yield improvement, drought tolerance, disease resistance and input use efficiency. The...
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Breeding better beer

Brewing-enthusiast Dr Chris Ridout had little idea when he applied for a BBSRC public engagement grant in 2001 that it might lead him to resurrect a Victorian beer. Dr Ridout, a crop geneticist at the John Innes Centre (JIC) , applied for the initial grant to take some old 'heritage' varieties of barley, essential to produce malt for beer brewing, to a public exhibition in...
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New grass hybrid could help reduce the likelihood of flooding

A collaboration of plant and soil scientists from across the UK has shown a grass hybrid species could help reduce the impact of flooding. The BBSRC-funded scientists, from Rothamsted Research, the James Hutton Institute, Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University, Lancaster University and the University of Nottingham, used a hybridised...
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