News Article | April 17, 2017
Fluorescence is rare in land animals, being largely limited to parrots and marine turtles. Now, for the first time, it has been found in a frog. Carlos Taboada of CONICET in Buenos Aires and colleagues studied South American polka-dot tree frogs (Hypsiboas punctuatus) collected near Santa Fe in Argentina. The colours of these frogs are normally a combination of muted greens, yellows and reds, but in dim light and UV illumination they glow bright blue and green. This is genuine fluorescence, not the more common bioluminescence in which organisms make their own light. The fluorescent molecules are unlike those in any other animals, being derived from dihydroisoquinoline. In twilight or night-time conditions, the fluorescence contributes 18–29% of the total emerging light, enhancing a creature’s visibility, particularly for amphibians, but the reasons for the fluorescence are still not known.
French National Center for Scientific Research and Conicet | Date: 2017-07-26
The present invention concerns a composition comprising at least three peptides derived from Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen Rv2626c, its use in the diagnostic of latently infected Mycobacterium tuberculosis (LTBI) subjects, corresponding methods of use and kits.
Conicet, National University of Costa Rica and Plant Bioscience Ltd | Date: 2015-04-30
A polynucleotide having at least 80% sequence identity with the fill-length nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1 and substantially identical polynucleotides; an isolated polypeptide having at least 80% sequence identity with the full-length amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 and substantially identical polypeptides; and polynucleotides encoding the Ha WRKY76 polypeptide and substantially identical polypeptides are described. Also described are vectors and recombinant expression cassettes containing the c DNA polynucleotide, a polynucleotide encoding the Ha WRKY76 polypeptide, or substantially identical polynucleotides. Transgenic plants containing such expression cassettes, related methods and uses are also provided.
News Article | May 10, 2017
An image of the Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant that was assembled by combining data from five telescopes spanning nearly the entire breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum: the Very Large Array, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Hubble Space Telescope, the XMM-Newton Observatory, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Credit: NASA, ESA, NRAO/AUI/NSF and G. Dubner (University of Buenos Aires) Astronomers have produced a highly detailed image of the Crab Nebula, by combining data from telescopes spanning nearly the entire breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves seen by the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to the powerful X-ray glow as seen by the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory. And, in between that range of wavelengths, the Hubble Space Telescope's crisp visible-light view, and the infrared perspective of the Spitzer Space Telescope. The Crab Nebula, the result of a bright supernova explosion seen by Chinese and other astronomers in the year 1054, is 6,500 light-years from Earth. At its center is a super-dense neutron star, rotating once every 33 milliseconds, shooting out rotating lighthouse-like beams of radio waves and light—a pulsar (the bright dot at image center). The nebula's intricate shape is caused by a complex interplay of the pulsar, a fast-moving wind of particles coming from the pulsar, and material originally ejected by the supernova explosion and by the star itself before the explosion. This image combines data from five different telescopes: The VLA (radio) in red; Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared) in yellow; Hubble Space Telescope (visible) in green; XMM-Newton (ultraviolet) in blue; and Chandra X-ray Observatory (X-ray) in purple. The new VLA, Hubble, and Chandra observations all were made at nearly the same time in November of 2012. A team of scientists led by Gloria Dubner of the Institute of Astronomy and Physics (IAFE), the National Council of Scientific Research (CONICET), and the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina then made a thorough analysis of the newly revealed details in a quest to gain new insights into the complex physics of the object. They are reporting their findings in the Astrophysical Journal. "Comparing these new images, made at different wavelengths, is providing us with a wealth of new detail about the Crab Nebula. Though the Crab has been studied extensively for years, we still have much to learn about it," Dubner said.
News Article | May 13, 2017
NEW ORLEANS – It’s apparently not enough that Mike Massimino is a former NASA astronaut, a best-selling author and an engineering professor. He’s also raring to go back into space, this time as a tourist. In an hourlong interview with GeekWire at the Collision media and technology conference in New Orleans last week, the 54-year-old Massimino talked about his yen for spaceflight as well as his views on commercial space exploration and the legacy of the Hubble Space Telescope, which he helped repair on two different space shuttle missions. Massimino, a down-to-earth New Yorker, started with his observations on the state of the commercial space race. He said the students in his classes at Columbia University are deeply enthused over the idea of working at any one of several space companies. “The top students in the country want to go to work for these places,” he said. “I’m talking about SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic. The cool thing about them is that they’re run by these entrepreneurs, who are some of the best entrepreneurs of our time: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, for example. They’re interested in space travel – they see that as being the future.” Massimino is happily surprised at how much commercial space ventures have achieved. “I always wondered if the technology was ready to be sort of handed over – or was it just too expensive or too complicated for any company to do – to actually launch things, and particularly people,” he said. “I was afraid that it might be a little early and that it might not work, but they have had some amazing accomplishments.” He cited recent achievements such as SpaceX’s launch and landing of its Falcon 9 booster as strong examples. And he wondered how many people realize the magnitude of the accomplishments. “It’s not easy getting off the planet,” he says. “People talk about it like they’re going around the corner … ‘Oh, we’re going to go to here and then we’re going to pick this up and then we’re going to sell you this’… You know, our country, which went to the moon, we have not launched astronauts into space [from U.S. soil] since 2011. It’s not just that you get the keys to the car and go.” Massimino said astronauts need to have confidence in the organization and team that puts them into space – and brings them back to Earth. “Even when I was space, floating above the planet, I remember looking down and thinking to myself, ‘Wow, I’m pretty far away from home.’ Traveling really fast around the planet, it was like ‘I gotta get back there.’ You know, there’s a lot of possibilities about where you might end up,” he said. “The thought went through my mind after my spacewalk, when I was looking back at the planet, ‘I’m glad someone smarter than me is figuring out how to get [us] home.'” Massimino says he would love to go back into space, as long as he’s off duty. “I really want to go as a tourist someday. I want to go and I want to complain. I want to complain about the drinks, I want to complain about everything,” Massimino said with a grin. “When you’re flying in space as an astronaut, you think, ‘I’m going to get to go into space,’ but really you have like a million things to worry about. You gotta fly the spaceship, you gotta make sure everything’s working, and there’s a lot on your mind,” he said. “It’s a big responsibility … and stress and the danger and all that. Then there’s the euphoria of being there, being able to travel and look at the window and experience all of it, which outweighs anything you have to do to get there.” Massimino was happy to contrast that experience with what he thinks space tourism could be like. “I think going as a tourist would be the way to go,” he said wistfully. “You just hang out. You know, it’s ‘hey, don’t bother me, I’m not flying the spaceship. We have an emergency? Why don’t you take care of it?’ Although if you had an emergency, I think I’d probably jump to it and do something. So I hope I get a chance to go back as a tourist.” Space has to be international Looking beyond the commercial side of the space effort, Massimino says America needs to work with other countries to push the frontier of exploration outward into the solar system. He recalled the time in 1993 when Congress was one vote away from cutting off funding for the International Space Station. “I don’t think we can explore space at the level we want to without international cooperation. Maybe the private companies will figure out how we can go to the moon and Mars without the government’s help, but I don’t think even that’s possible,” he says. “With the International Space Station, the key word there, I think, is ‘international.’ The way we were able to get that going – and the way it was saved when it almost got killed – was our commitment to our international partners.” He said the United States has to continue its leading role in space. “Our international partners – the countries of Europe, Japan, Canada and Russia as well – they look to the United States for that leadership,” Massimino said. “They’re dependent on us. They want to participate, and they can’t do it without us, and we can’t do it without them.” That doesn’t mean every space project taken on by NASA, or by commercial ventures, will bear fruit. “Even when I was an astronaut, we would often get projects started and then canceled,” he recalled. “We had these follow-ons to the space shuttle … the orbital space plane and the X-38 and all these other things. And they would get canned.” A newly released image, based on data from the Hubble Space Telescope and other instruments, shows the Crab Nebula in an assortment of wavelengths. (NASA / ESA / G. Dubner – IAFE, CONICET-University of Buenos Aires, et al. / A. Loll et al. / T. Temim et al. / F. Seward et al. / VLA / NRAO / AUI / NSF / Chandra / CXC / Spitzer / JPL-Caltech / XMM-Newton / ESA / Hubble / STScI) There was an interesting moment during the interview when Massimino, who served as a spacewalking repairman for Hubble during two sets of spacewalks in 2002 and 2009, asked to see the latest images from the space telescope on my smartphone. Massimino was as excited and impressed as any parent would be at their child’s college graduation. “Amazing, that’s incredible,” he said, looking at the pictures. “Hubble was, in my opinion, the best flight you could be on. All spaceflights are great, and getting a chance to go anywhere would have been great, but there’s something special about Hubble.” That’s not to say the missions were easy. “You go up there, you rendezvous, you grab the telescope so there’s so robot stuff there, and that’s cool,” he said. “You rendezvous with this free flier, this giant free flier that’s about the size of a school bus, and then you spacewalk for five days straight – no days off in between from the spacewalks. It’s complicated, interesting stuff, but that’s what you want to do. So I always felt like anyone who was on that flight would be very lucky indeed.” Massimino made history during his 2009 shuttle mission as the first astronaut to send a tweet from space. Since then, social media has made a big difference in how astronauts and space travel are perceived. “I saw Neil Armstrong walk on the moon when I was 6, and wanted to grow up to be an astronaut,” he said. “By the time I was 8 or 9, I realized that was going to be impossible. I wasn’t Neil Armstrong. I mean, who are these guys? They’re fearless test pilots. I was afraid of heights. And these guys go to the academies and they’re tough guys and they fly these really fast airplanes, and they’re fearless. And I was scared of my own shadow. So I was like, ‘I don’t think this astronaut thing is going to work.'” Thankfully for Massimino and the space program, the astronaut thing ended up working after all, despite his qualms. Today, there’s a new dynamic at work in the interaction between astronauts and the public at large. “I was the first guy to tweet, but now every astronaut tweets and sends Instagram and all that stuff. People can engage with it and they can see the astronauts and humans, as kind of regular people, and share the experience,” he said. “It’s so accessible – and even the internet now. When I was a kid, I used to have to go to the library and see what books were on the shelf. Good luck there. Now, here we are, Googling a picture of the Hubble image right here. So it’s just the accessibility of information. I think the social media, the interaction with the people that are doing it, it just gives us a sense that we’re all traveling.” From ‘Hidden Figures’ to minifigures: Lego toys immortalize the women of NASA
News Article | May 10, 2017
Astronomers produced this dramatic new, highly-detailed image of the Crab Nebula by combining data from telescopes spanning nearly the entire breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum, from the long waves seen by the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to the extremely short waves seen by the orbiting Chandra X-Ray Observatory. The Crab Nebula, the result of a bright supernova explosion seen by Chinese and other astronomers in the year 1054, is some 6,500 light-years from Earth. At its center is a superdense neutron star, rotating once every 33 milliseconds, shooting out rotating lighthouse-like beams of radio waves and light -- a pulsar. The nebula's intricate shape is caused by a complex interplay of the pulsar, a fast-moving wind of particles coming from the pulsar, and material originally ejected by the supernova explosion and by the star itself before the explosion. This image combines data from five different telescopes: The VLA (radio) in red; Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared) in yellow; Hubble Space Telescope (visible) in green; XMM-Newton (ultraviolet) in blue; and Chandra X-Ray Observatory (X-ray) in purple. The new VLA, Hubble, and Chandra observations all were made at nearly the same time in November of 2012. A team of scientists led by Gloria Dubner of IAFE, the National Council of Scientific Research (CONICET), and the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina then made a detailed analysis of the newly-revealed details in a quest to gain new insights into the complex physics of the object. They are reporting their findings in the Astrophysical Journal. New details from the study show interactions between fast-moving particles and magnetic fields similar to structures seen on the Sun, other features seen to appear at multiple wavelengths, and structures that may indicate features near the star before it exploded. Two separate jets of material from near the pulsar appear in the X-ray and the radio images. "Comparing these new images, made at different wavelengths, is providing us with a wealth of new detail about the Crab Nebula. Though the Crab has been studied extensively for years, we still have much to learn about it," Dubner said. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. CREDIT: G. Dubner (IAFE, CONICET-University of Buenos Aires) et al.; NRAO/AUI/NSF; A. Loll et al.; T. Temim et al.; F. Seward et al.; Chandra/CXC; Spitzer/JPL-Caltech; XMM-Newton/ESA; and Hubble/STScI
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-14a-2014 | Award Amount: 5.35M | Year: 2016
The OLEUM project will generate innovative, more effective and harmonized analytical solutions to detect and fight the most common and emerging frauds and to verify the overall quality of olive oils (OOs). By a core group of 20 partners from 15 countries OLEUM will undertake RESEARCH ACTIVITIES based on the development of IMPROVED and NEW ANALYTICAL METHODS by targeted and omics approaches with the aim: i) to detect new markers of the soft deodorization process; ii) to discover illegal blends between OOs and other vegetable oils; iii) to control OO quality (e.g. freshness); iv) to improve the organoleptic assessment with a Quantitative Panel Test, based on current official methods, and supported by tailored reference materials for better calibration of the sensory panels coupled with rapid screening tools to facilitate the work of the panelists. The most promising OLEUM solutions will be subjected to VALIDATION in conformity with internationally agreed standards by peer laboratories. OLEUM will recreate a realistic deodorization scenario by producing tailored, soft deodorized OOs by lab-scale and up-scaled pilot plants to apply analytical solutions to known samples. Substantial KNOWLEDGE and TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER activities will be envisaged to aid in implementation of: a) a web-based easily-accessible, scalable and constantly updated OLEUM DATABANK, containing all the information from OLEUM research and other reliable international sources, will be available for download data and spectra and to help achieve satisfactory harmonization of analytical approaches among control laboratories; b) the OLEUM NETWORK of relevant OOs stakeholders to maximize the impact of proposed analytical solutions. Finally, a robust dissemination strategy by the OLEUM project aimed at effectively sharing results with all stakeholders in the OO supply chain has the potential to improve consumer and market confidence, and preserve the image of OOs on a global scale.
Annual Review of Plant Biology | Year: 2014
Precise allocation of limited resources between growth and defense is critical for plant survival. In shade-intolerant species, perception of competition signals by informational photoreceptors activates shade-avoidance responses and reduces the expression of defenses against pathogens and insects. The main mechanism underlying defense suppression is the simultaneous downregulation of jasmonate and salicylic acid signaling by low ratios of red:far-red radiation. Inactivation of phytochrome B by low red:far-red ratios appears to suppress jasmonate responses by altering the balance between DELLA and JASMONATE ZIM DOMAIN (JAZ) proteins in favor of the latter. Solar UVB radiation is a positive modulator of plant defense, signaling through jasmonate-dependent and jasmonate-independent pathways. Light, perceived by phytochrome B and presumably other photoreceptors, helps plants concentrate their defensive arsenals in photosynthetically valuable leaves. The discovery of connections between photoreceptors and defense signaling is revealing novel mechanisms that control key resource allocation decisions in plant canopies. Copyright © 2014 by Annual Reviews.
Trends in Plant Science | Year: 2011
Plants have sophisticated defense systems to protect their tissues against the attack of herbivorous organisms. Many of these defenses are orchestrated by the oxylipin jasmonate. A growing body of evidence indicates that the expression of jasmonate-induced responses is tightly regulated by the ecological context of the plant. Ecological information is provided by molecular signals that indicate the nature of the attacker, the value of the attacked organs, phytochrome status and thereby proximity of competing plants, association with beneficial organisms and history of plant interactions with pathogens and herbivores. This review discusses recent advances in this field and highlights the need to map the activities of informational modulators to specific control points within our emerging model of jasmonate signaling. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History | Year: 2014
A phylogenetic analysis of the two-clawed spiders grouped in Dionycha is presented, with 166 representative species of 49 araneomorph families, scored for 393 characters documented through standardized imaging protocols. The study includes 44 outgroup representatives of the main clades of Araneomorphae, and a revision of the main morphological character systems. Novel terminology is proposed for stereotyped structures on the chelicerae, and the main types of setae and silk spigots are reviewed, summarizing their characteristics. Clear homologs of posterior book lungs are described for early instars of Filistatidae, and a novel type of respiratory structure, the epigastric median tracheae, is described for some terminals probably related with Anyphaenidae or Eutichuridae. A new type of crypsis mechanism is described for a clade of thomisids, which in addition to retaining soil particles, grow fungi on their cuticle. Generalized patterns of cheliceral setae and macrosetae are proposed as synapomorphies of the Divided Cribellum and RTA clades. Dionycha is here proposed as a member of the Oval Calamistrum clade among the lycosoid lineages, and Liocranoides, with three claws and claw tufts, is obtained as a plausible sister group of the dionychan lineage. The morphology of the claw tuft and scopula is examined in detail and scored for 14 characters highly informative for relationships. A kind of seta intermediate between tenent and plumose setae (the pseudotenent type) is found in several spider families, more often reconstructed as a derivation from true tenent setae rather than as a phylogenetic intermediate. Corinnidae is retrieved in a restricted sense, including only the subfamilies Corinninae and Castianeirinae, while the "corinnid" genera retaining the median apophysis in the copulatory bulb are not clearly affiliated to any of the established families. Miturgidae is redefined, including Zoridae as a junior synonym. The Eutichuridae is raised to family status, as well as the Trachelidae and Phrurolithidae. New synapomorphies are provided for Sparassidae, Philodromidae, and Trachelidae. Philodromidae is presented as a plausible sister group of Salticidae, and these sister to Thomisidae; an alternative resolution placing thomisids in Lycosoidea is also examined. The Oblique Median Tapetum (OMT) clade is proposed for a large group of families including gnaphosoids, trachelids, liocranids, and phrurolithids, all having the posterior median eye tapeta forming a 90° angle, used for navigation by means of the polarized light in the sky as an optical compass; prodidomines seem to have further enhanced the mechanism by incorporating the posterior lateral eyes to the system. The Teutamus group is recognized for members of the OMT clade that are usually included in Liocranidae, but not closely related to Liocranum or phrurolithids. The Claw Tuft Clasper (CTC) clade is proposed for a group of families within the OMT clade, all having a peculiar mechanism grasping the folded base of the claw tuft setae with a hook on the superior claws. The CTC clade includes Trachelidae, Phrurolithidae, and several gnaphosoids such as Ammoxenidae, Cithaeronidae, Gnaphosidae, and Prodidomidae. A remarkable syndrome involving the expansion of the anterior lateral spinnerets, often sexually dimorphic, is here reported for some Miturgidae and several members of the CTC clade, in addition to the known cases in Clubionidae and "Liocranidae." The following genera are transferred from Miturgidae to Eutichuridae: Calamoneta, Calamopus, Cheiracanthium, Cheiramiona, Ericaella, Eutichurus, Macerio, Radulphius, Strotarchus, Summacanthium, and Tecution; Lessertina is transferred from Corinnidae to Eutichuridae. The following genera are transferred to Miturgidae: Argoctenus, Elassoctenus, Hestimodema, Hoedillus, Israzorides, Odomasta, Simonus, Thasyraea, Tuxoctenus, Voraptus, Xenoctenus, Zora, and Zoroides, from Zoridae; Odo and Paravulsor, from Ctenidae; Pseudoceto from Corinnidae. The following genera are transferred from Corinnidae to Trachelidae: Afroceto, Cetonana, Fuchiba, Fuchibotulus, Meriola, Metatrachelas, Paccius, Paratrachelas, Patelloceto, Planochelas, Poachelas, Spinotrachelas, Thysanina, Trachelas, Trachelopachys, and Utivarachna. The following genera are transferred from Corinnidae to Phrurolithidae: Abdosetae, Drassinella, Liophrurillus, Plynnon, Orthobula, Otacilia, Phonotimpus, Phrurolinillus, Phrurolithus, Phruronellus, Phrurotimpus, Piabuna, and Scotinella. Dorymetaecus is transferred from Clubionidae to Phrurolithidae. Oedignatha and Koppe are transferred from Corinnidae to Liocranidae. Ciniflella is transferred from Amaurobiidae to Tengellidae. ©2014 American Museum of Natural History.