News Article | December 3, 2015
The International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) is pleased to acknowledge the winners of the 2015 Go Beyond Awards. Go Beyond Award winners demonstrate their commitment to excellence in sustainability in lab and other high-tech facility projects by going beyond the facility itself to consider shared resources, infrastructure, services and neighboring communities; and contribute to increased use of energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable designs, systems and products. The 2015 Go Beyond Awards were presented during a special luncheon ceremony at the 2015 I2SL Annual Conference on Monday, September 21, 2015, in San Diego, Calif. I2SL presented four 2015 Go Beyond Awards in two categories: Individual and Project. James Dykes, Sustainable Labs Canada James Dykes, a recently retired architect from Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), received an Individual Go Beyond Award for his many years of commitment to making sustainability a key factor in lab design. Dykes is the Founding President of, and driving force behind, Sustainable Labs Canada (SLCan), a non-profit organization that promotes sustainable design and operation practices in labs and other high-tech facilities. Dykes developed and strengthened relationships between SLCan and the Real Property Institute of Canada (RPIC), I2SL and other organizations in Europe with similar goals. As a member of the RPIC Board of Directors, Dykes acted as the lab business sector representative from PWGSC, ensuring content included lab-focused issues in the RPIC Real Property National Workshop Program. Over the course of his career, Dykes has served on numerous volunteer boards, delivered conference presentations on lab design, guest lectured at several universities and colleges and was an Assistant Adjunct Professor with the Univ. of Calgary for 12 years. He worked with the Labs21 program for most of its existence, and continues to participate in I2SL’s Global Sustainable Laboratory Network. Allison Paradise, My Green Lab The second Individual Award was presented to Allison Paradise, Executive Director of My Green Lab, a non-profit organization that promotes safe, sustainable practices and equipment in labs. Paradise has been a passionate champion and advocate for sustainable lab practices since before she began the My Green Lab program several years ago. Through My Green Lab, Paradise partners with organizations to implement energy reduction, water reduction, waste management and green chemistry programs; and connects lab personnel with sustainable procurement opportunities. Working with utility providers in California, Paradise prepared the “Market Assessment of Energy Efficiency Opportunities in Laboratories,” which involved a survey of equipment use and energy efficiency that was given to almost 1,200 scientists and lab operators across the U.S. The survey identified energy-efficiency opportunities in labs that Paradise is helping to drive forward through the creation of the Center for Energy Efficient Laboratories. Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, Farmington, Conn. One of this year’s Project Awards was presented to the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, a global leader in considering the environmental impact of its facilities and operations. The Jackson Laboratory combines inviting collegial space with efficient labs, while using a variety of energy conservation measures to maximize building performance. The lab maximizes daylight while limiting peak solar loads, and utilizes high-efficiency equipment and an improved thermal envelope. To ensure indoor air quality, the lab also has a monitoring system and occupancy sensors with the ability to reduce outdoor air during unoccupied times. The building water use is more than 30% better than code compliance. Water-saving measures include the installation of water-efficient fixtures, rainwater harvesting, bioswales and native plantings. Through these measures, the lab has also reduced the amount of stormwater runoff at the property. In addition to the ongoing energy and water savings, more than 97% of construction waste was diverted from landfill throughout the project. National Univ. of Ireland, Galway Biosciences Research Building, Galway, Ireland The second Project Award was presented to the National Univ. of Ireland, Galway, Biosciences Research Building (BRB), a research lab for regenerative medicine, chem-bio and cancer. The BRB represents a “minimum energy” approach. Through careful planning and high-/low-energy zoning, the BRB integrates traditional building techniques with innovative energy-conservation solutions, resulting in an energy savings of about 70% annually against a baseline of comparable projects. The high-/low-energy zoning strategy wraps the perimeter of the building with the lowest energy use spaces, allowing for maximum daylighting and natural ventilation, while the high-energy use spaces are zoned within the “thermal sweater” of the lower use spaces, using a double wall system to separate ventilation systems and optimizing building-wide energy use. The 2015 Go Beyond Award winners can also be found on I2SL’s Website at www.i2sl.org/conference/2015/awards.html. I2SL plans to hold the Go Beyond Awards again in 2016. A call for nominations will be sent in summer 2016 and awards will be presented at the 2016 I2SL Annual Conference, taking place September 25 through 27 in Kansas City, Mis. Learn more about the I2SL Annual Conference by visiting I2SL’s Website www.i2sl.org.
News Article | November 12, 2015
A more complete and accurate wheat genome assembly is being made available to researchers, by The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC). This landmark resource builds on international efforts in wheat genomics and will help wheat breeders accelerate their crop improvement programs and researchers to discover genes for key traits such as yield, nutrient use and bread making quality. A more complete and accurate wheat genome assembly is being made available to researchers, by The Genome Analysis Centre on Nov. 12, 2015. This landmark resource builds on international efforts in this area and will help wheat breeders accelerate their crop improvement programs and researchers to discover genes for key traits such as yield, nutrient use and bread making quality. As wheat is one of the world's most vital crops, the new genomics resources will help secure future food supplies. The wheat genome is now assembled into fewer and much larger chunks of DNA and covers regions that previous assemblies did not reach, such as complicated highly repetitive regions that form about 80 per cent of the DNA sequences. "Furthermore", said Matt Clark, Group Leader at TGAC (Co-Principal Investigator on the grant), who led the sequencing work, "wheat has a very large and complex genome made by the hybridisation of three closely related grasses, each of which has a large genome itself. It's has been a complex problem that has confounded scientists for several years." Reaching this milestone has been a major UK-based effort to identify and understand wheat genes and develop insights into the links between them to aid breeding programmes. In this latest development, billions of bases needed to be sequenced and the assembly (a gigantic jigsaw puzzle using billions of pieces that are very similar to each other) took three weeks to complete on one of the UK's largest supercomputers, which was specially configured for work on wheat. To assemble the wheat genome, Bernardo Clavijo, Algorithms Research and Development Team Leader at TGAC, made major modifications to a software, called DISCOVAR, developed by the Broad Institute, Cambridge US, (previously used for specialist applications in human genome assembly) in a collaboration established by Federica Di Palma, Director of Science of TGAC and Visiting Scientist at the Broad Institute. In order to ensure all the complexity of the DNA sequence was preserved during assembly, he made a series of major overhauls to the software: "We centred our approach on achieving maximal coverage of the genome, by distinguishing repeats. We were very careful to use newly generated high-quality input data." These advances now mean the software can assemble several wheat genomes with high speed and great precision. This sets the stage for rapidly generating useful assemblies of many varieties of wheat, which is an essential step for breeding and research. Mike Bevan from the John Innes Centre (JIC) (Co-Principal Investigator), said: "The capacity to sequence and assemble many wheat genomes efficiently breaks down major barriers to wheat crop improvement. We will now be able to exploit genetic variation from ancestral wheat varieties for crop improvement in new ways." Ksenia Krasileva, Group Leader at TGAC and TSL, who has conducted an initial assessment of the assemblies, said: "One of the most complex and large groups of genes in wheat are those that contribute to the nutritional and bread-making quality of the grain. These are all present in complete copies in the genome, suggesting other hard-to-assemble genes are also accurately represented." Steve Visscher, Deputy Chief Executive of the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC), who funded the project, said: "BBSRC is delighted to have supported this work, which has made an important contribution to the G20-sponsored international Wheat Initiative. Many research groups are contributing to the global research effort to develop a fully assembled and aligned wheat genome sequence to access, understand and apply the richness of wheat genetic diversity to increase wheat yield, improve wheat's tolerance to stresses, pathogens and pests, and improve the sustainability wheat production. It is fitting that this important step in unravelling the complex wheat genome, which is five times the size of the human genome, has adapted specialist software developed for the human genome assembly." The early release of the data as a new resource for the world wheat researchers and breeders reflects the Wheat Initiative's founding principles of sharing data and seeking synergy through collaboration to help tackle the global grand challenge of feeding a population of nearly 10 billion by 2050. The data will be available for sequence searches (BLAST) at TGAC's Grassroot Genomics platform from November 12 2015. The full data set, with genes identified, will be publicly available from the European Bioinformatics Institute's (EBI) Ensembl database at the end of 2015. This is a key milestone in the BBSRC funded research project "Triticeae Genomics for Sustainable Agriculture" in collaboration with TGAC, JIC, the European Bioinformatics Institute and Rothamsted Research. Explore further: Scientists to sequence DNA of British wheat varieties
PubMed | Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, University of Stockholm, Queensland University of Technology and Biosciences Research
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of chemical ecology | Year: 2016
Frugivorous tephritid fruit flies have lineages with high levels of host generalism. These insects use olfaction to locate fruits, but how they are able to recognize the odors of so many different host species is poorly understood. We used a series of behavioral experiments to investigate the role of fruit ripening volatiles as host cues in the Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt), a polyphagous pest in Australia. Odors of mature guava (Psidium guajava) attracted female and male flies more strongly than three other ripening stages and guava pulp. We analyzed volatiles from guava odor and selected eleven compounds, all of which elicited an electrophysiological response in the antenna of female flies. Three of these, ethyl acetate, ethyl butyrate, and ethyl propionate, were released at the highest rates from the most attractive ripening stage. In behavioral trials, these three esters were not attractive individually, whereas a combination was necessary and sufficient in attracting female flies. The three-component blend was as attractive as the entire 11-component blend, which without these key volatiles was not attractive. Moreover, injecting low ranking hosts (squash and cucumber) with the three volatiles increased attraction in ovipositing female flies. These fruit flies are classed as generalists, but like many polyphagous insects they could be regarded as resource specialists, preferring specific plant reproductive stages with predictable odor cues. Exploring olfaction from this perspective could improve our understanding of host choice in polyphagous insects, and the selection of volatiles to be used as attractants in insect pest management.
News Article | November 1, 2016
Researchers at the University of Leeds have discovered a way to prevent herpesviruses hijacking important pathways in cells which are required for the virus to replicate and cause disease. Professor Adrian Whitehouse from the School of Molecular Biology and Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology at the University led the five year study, the results of which are published today in the journal Nature Microbiology. Professor Whitehouse said: "We've spent several years demonstrating that a protein found in all herpesviruses, recruits a protein complex in the host cell, called human TREX, to help stabilise and transport herpesvirus RNAs out of a cell's nucleus so they are turned into viral proteins. "Now we have identified a compound which can disrupt this essential virus-host cell interaction which in turn prevents herpesviruses replicating and producing infectious particles." The approach the researchers used was unique as it targeted the enzyme activity of a key component of the cellular human TREX complex, known as UAP56. Inhibiting t his activity prevented the remodelling of the human TREX complex which stopped the interaction with the viral protein. The project is a collaboration between virologists led by Professor Whitehouse and a team of chemists led by Dr Richard Foster also from the University of Leeds. Dr Foster's team performed a virtual screen of thousands of compounds to identify potential inhibitors. These were then tested for their ability to stop herpesvirus replication without damaging the host cell. Dr Sophie Schumann, lead author on the Nature Microbiology paper and a member of the research team added: "We initially targeted the human tumour virus known as Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. However, further testing showed that the compound was also effective against a range of other herpesviruses which all use the same mechanism to replicate in their host cell, which is very encouraging." Examples include Herpes simplex virus which causes cold sores and genital lesions as well as human cytomegalovirus which is associated with glandular fever and a range of conditions in immunocompromised patients and congenitally infected newborns. Dr Foster said: "We still have a lot of work to do, but bringing together a target point and a compound is a significant finding. Now our job is to improve the quality and potency of the compound before it can operate as a future antiviral drug." The research so far has been supported in parts by Worldwide Cancer Research, Wellcome Trust, and Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council. The next stage of Professor Whitehouse and Dr Foster's work, which is funded by a Cancer Research UK drug discovery award, will work towards improving the effectiveness and safety of the compound. Explore further: Towards a cure for herpesviruses: Targeting infection with CRISPR/Cas9 More information: Sophie Schumann et al. Targeting the ATP-dependent formation of herpesvirus ribonucleoprotein particle assembly as an antiviral approach, Nature Microbiology (2016). DOI: 10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.201
News Article | December 7, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS & MELBOURNE, Australia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New and innovative forage products are on the horizon driven by continued collaboration between Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW), and Agriculture Victoria, Australia. Dow AgroSciences works on a variety of projects with Agriculture Victoria through its commercial arm, Agriculture Victoria Services Pty Ltd. (AVS), and today announces that AVS is taking a commercial license to the EXZACT™ Precision Technology Platform to continue the development and commercialization of new forage grass varieties to benefit farmers in Australia and around the world. The commercial license agreement focuses on the development of forage grass varieties and associated fungal endophytes developed using precision genome editing technologies. It builds on the major Research License Agreement AVS has with Dow AgroSciences to conduct research using the company’s proprietary EXZACT™ Technology. The announcement of a milestone commercial license between Dow AgroSciences and AVS recognizes the advances Agriculture Victoria has made researching and developing innovative forage products using this gene editing platform that Dow AgroSciences has developed under an exclusive license and collaboration agreement in plants with Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. “Our focus is on the farmer, and this commercial license validates the broad application of the EXZACT™ technology that can translate into new products for farmers around the world, and also illustrates the power of collaboration to advance technology,” said Daniel R. Kittle, Ph.D., vice president, Research and Development, Dow AgroSciences. “Our most productive collaboration with Dow AgroSciences has enabled the development of a suite of innovations for crop improvement. It has also provided us with access to the EXZACT™ technology for its application in forage grasses with global reach, to deliver benefits on-farm to dairy, beef and sheep industries,” said Professor German Spangenberg, Agriculture Victoria’s Executive Director Biosciences Research. Agriculture Victoria works with industry, primary producers, urban and regional communities to improve livability and drive sustainable economic growth in the food and fiber sectors in Victoria, Australia. Dow AgroSciences works with Agriculture Victoria through its commercial arm, Agriculture Victoria Services Pty Ltd. Dow AgroSciences discovers, develops and brings to market crop protection and plant biotechnology solutions for the growing world. Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, Dow AgroSciences is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company and had annual global sales of $6.4 billion in 2015. Learn more at www.dowagro.com. Follow Dow AgroSciences on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed. ®™Trademark of The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) or affiliated companies.
Simbiken N.A.,Australian National University |
Cooper P.D.,Australian National University |
Powell K.S.,Biosciences Research
Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research | Year: 2015
Background and Aims: Frosted scale is a sap-sucking insect pest that feeds on several commercial Vitis vinifera cultivars across several wine regions of Australia. The ability to develop and the impact of its feeding activity on grapevines have not been documented. We have closed this knowledge gap through a study that examined the development and feeding effect of frosted scale on Pinot Noir, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Methods and Results: A replicated glasshouse experiment was established by allocating the potted rootlings of the three cultivars into two treatment regimes, control (uninfested) and treated (infested with frosted scale) grapevines in the summer months between November 2011 and March 2012. Frosted scale population was relatively high on Riesling, moderate on Pinot Noir and least on Sauvignon Blanc. The presence of frosted scale significantly reduced leaf chlorophyll concentration and the number of internodes per vine. An increasing number of scales did not significantly affect the chlorophyll concentration in any cultivar. An increasing number of scales did significantly decrease the number of internodes per vine. The proportion of dropped leaves in all cultivars exposed to frosted scale was higher than that of control plants. Riesling dropped more leaves than Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc. Conclusions: An increase in first and second instar populations of frosted scale feeding mainly on grapevine leaves was observed. This feeding may reduce leaf chlorophyll and the number of internodes per vine. Pinot Noir, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc were all susceptible to frosted scale feeding under glasshouse conditions, but individual cultivar performance varied. Significance of the Study: Grapegrowers could expect frosted scale population and loss of vine vigour to increase on highly susceptible cultivars, such as Riesling. Further studies regarding cultivar differences in response to frosted scale feeding are necessary to clarify these results. © 2015 Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology Inc.
PubMed | La Trobe University and Biosciences Research
Type: | Journal: Journal of chromatography. A | Year: 2016
For LC-MS-based lipidomic analysis of milk, total lipid extraction from raw milk is generally conducted with Folch or Bligh and Dyer methods; both methods are based on two-phase partition of lipids, and thus time-consuming. In this work, three solvent systems for one-phase extraction of milk lipids were compared with the standard Folch method. Two of the solvent systems (butanol/methanol, 3:1 and 1:1) previously tested for lipid extraction from plasma were found to provide adequate extraction for polar lipids, but incomplete extraction for triglycerides, especially highly lipophilic species. By contrast, our newly designed solvent mix composed of butanol, methanol and chloroform (at a 3:5:4 ratio) provided similar extraction efficiency for triglycerides and higher yield for some of the phospholipids, as compared to the Folch method. This new one-phase extraction method is very simple yet comprehensive and thus suitable for high throughput lipid analysis of milk samples.
PubMed | Biosciences Research
Type: Review | Journal: Toxins | Year: 2016
Acute bovine liver disease (ABLD) is a hepatotoxicity principally of cattle which occurs in southern regions of Australia. Severely affected animals undergo rapid clinical progression with mortalities often occurring prior to the recognition of clinical signs. Less severely affected animals develop photosensitization and a proportion can develop liver failure. The characteristic histopathological lesion in acute fatal cases is severe, with acute necrosis of periportal hepatocytes with hemorrhage into the necrotic areas. Currently there are a small number of toxins that are known to cause periportal necrosis in cattle, although none of these have so far been linked to ABLD. Furthermore, ABLD has frequently been associated with the presence of rough dogs tail grass (
PubMed | La Trobe University, South Australian Research And Development Institute and Biosciences Research
Type: | Journal: Frontiers in plant science | Year: 2016
PubMed | La Trobe University and Biosciences Research
Type: Journal Article | Journal: BMC genomics | Year: 2016
Bayesian mixture models in which the effects of SNP are assumed to come from normal distributions with different variances are attractive for simultaneous genomic prediction and QTL mapping. These models are usually implemented with Monte Carlo Markov Chain (MCMC) sampling, which requires long compute times with large genomic data sets. Here, we present an efficient approach (termed HyB_BR), which is a hybrid of an Expectation-Maximisation algorithm, followed by a limited number of MCMC without the requirement for burn-in.To test prediction accuracy from HyB_BR, dairy cattle and human disease trait data were used. In the dairy cattle data, there were four quantitative traits (milk volume, protein kg, fat% in milk and fertility) measured in 16,214 cattle from two breeds genotyped for 632,002 SNPs. Validation of genomic predictions was in a subset of cattle either from the reference set or in animals from a third breeds that were not in the reference set. In all cases, HyB_BR gave almost identical accuracies to Bayesian mixture models implemented with full MCMC, however computational time was reduced by up to 1/17 of that required by full MCMC. The SNPs with high posterior probability of a non-zero effect were also very similar between full MCMC and HyB_BR, with several known genes affecting milk production in this category, as well as some novel genes. HyB_BR was also applied to seven human diseases with 4890 individuals genotyped for around 300K SNPs in a case/control design, from the Welcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC). In this data set, the results demonstrated again that HyB_BR performed as well as Bayesian mixture models with full MCMC for genomic predictions and genetic architecture inference while reducing the computational time from 45h with full MCMC to 3h with HyB_BR.The results for quantitative traits in cattle and disease in humans demonstrate that HyB_BR can perform equally well as Bayesian mixture models implemented with full MCMC in terms of prediction accuracy, but with up to 17 times faster than the full MCMC implementations. The HyB_BR algorithm makes simultaneous genomic prediction, QTL mapping and inference of genetic architecture feasible in large genomic data sets.