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Harpenden, United Kingdom

Rothamsted Research, previously known as the Rothamsted Experimental Station and then the Institute of Arable Crops Research, is one of the oldest agricultural research institutions in the world, having been founded in 1843. It is located at Harpenden in the English county of Hertfordshire.One of the station's best known and longest running experiments is the Park Grass Experiment, a biological study that started in 1856 and has been continuously monitored ever since. Wikipedia.

Pickett J.A.,Rothamsted Research
Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences

To reduce the need for seasonal inputs, crop protection will have to be delivered via the seed and other planting material. Plant secondary metabolism can be harnessed for this purpose by new breeding technologies, genetic modification and companion cropping, the latter already on-farm in sub-Saharan Africa. Secondary metabolites offer the prospect of pest management as robust as that provided by current pesticides, for which many lead compounds were, or are currently deployed as, natural products. Evidence of success and promise is given for pest management in industrial and developing agriculture. Additionally, opportunities for solving wider problems of sustainable crop protection, and also production, are discussed. Source

Reynolds A.M.,Rothamsted Research

Levy walks are a widely used but contentious model of animal movement patterns. They are contentious because they have been wrongly ascribed to some animal species through use of incorrect statistical methods and because they have not been adequately compared against strong alternative models, such as composite correlated random walks. This lack of comparison has been partly because the strong alternative models do not have simple likelihood functions. Here I show that power-spectra and the distribution of the first significant digits (the leading non-zero digits) of the step lengths can distinguish between Levy walks and composite correlated random walks. Using these diagnostic tools, I bolster previous claims that honey bees use a movement strategy that can be approximated by Levy walks when searching for their hive or for a food source. © 2012 by the Ecological Society of America. Source

Fully drought-resistant crop plants would be beneficial, but selection breeding has not produced them. Genetic modification of species by introduction of very many genes is claimed, predominantly, to have given drought resistance. This review analyses the physiological responses of genetically modified (GM) plants to water deficits, the mechanisms, and the consequences. The GM literature neglects physiology and is unspecific in definitions, which are considered here, together with methods of assessment and the type of drought resistance resulting. Experiments in soil with cessation of watering demonstrate drought resistance in GM plants as later stress development than in wild-type (WT) plants. This is caused by slower total water loss from the GM plants which have (or may have - morphology is often poorly defined) smaller total leaf area (LA) and/or decreased stomatal conductance (gs), associated with thicker laminae (denser mesophyll and smaller cells). Non-linear soil water characteristics result in extreme stress symptoms in WT before GM plants. Then, WT and GM plants are rewatered: faster and better recovery of GM plants is taken to show their greater drought resistance. Mechanisms targeted in genetic modification are then, incorrectly, considered responsible for the drought resistance. However, this is not valid as the initial conditions in WT and GM plants are not comparable. GM plants exhibit a form of 'drought resistance' for which the term 'delayed stress onset' is introduced. Claims that specific alterations to metabolism give drought resistance [for which the term 'constitutive metabolic dehydration tolerance' (CMDT) is suggested] are not critically demonstrated, and experimental tests are suggested. Small LA and gs may not decrease productivity in well-watered plants under laboratory conditions but may in the field. Optimization of GM traits to environment has not been analysed critically and is required in field trials, for example of recently released oilseed rape and maize which show 'drought resistance', probably due to delayed stress onset. Current evidence is that GM plants may not be better able to cope with drought than selection-bred cultivars. © 2012 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press [on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology]. All rights reserved. Source

Godfray H.C.,Rothamsted Research
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society

There is evidence that in Europe and North America many species of pollinators are in decline, both in abundance and distribution. Although there is a long list of potential causes of this decline, there is concern that neonicotinoid insecticides, in particular through their use as seed treatments are, at least in part, responsible. This paper describes a project that set out to summarize the natural science evidence base relevant to neonicotinoid insecticides and insect pollinators in as policy-neutral terms as possible. A series of evidence statements are listed and categorized according to the nature of the underlying information. The evidence summary forms the appendix to this paper and an annotated bibliography is provided in the electronic supplementary material. Source

Rothamsted Research | Date: 2013-10-01

The invention relates to genetically modified organisms with enhanced production of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.

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