Genetics

Blumwald Lab discovery could reduce pollution, save billions

Researchers in the Department of Plant Sciences have found a way to reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizers needed to grow cereal crops such as rice. The discovery could save farmers in the United States billions of dollars annually in fertilizer costs while also benefiting the environment.

The research comes out of the lab of Eduardo Blumwald, a distinguished professor of plant sciences, who has found a new pathway for cereals to capture the nitrogen they need to grow.

Monroe, Quiroz seek way to speed genome research

Scientists Grey Monroe and Daniela Quiroz are trying to develop a technique that could speed research on processes affecting countless facets of biology – from how plants respond to stressful conditions to the changes that trigger cells’ cancerous growth. They just won a $50,000 boost for their work, with a grant from the UC Davis Science Translation and Innovative Research (STAIR™) program.

Lettuce: Michelmore Lab seeks genetic resistance to fungus, bacteria

As common crop diseases such as downy mildew, Fusarium and corky root evolve, Richard Michelmore and members of his lab look for the genetic basis of new variations and for genes in lettuce that can resist them. They hope to breed those qualities into existing cultivars that already stand up to multiple diseases.

Speedier wheat could feed more people, research suggests

If wheat leaves could shift gears faster between moments of shade and light, plants could make more grain, increasing the capacity of a plot of ground to feed people.

Researchers are seeking the genes that control how quickly wheat leaves gear up when hit by flecks of sunlight. They are fueled by evidence of a stronger link between photosynthesis and crop yield than scientists have thought, said Assistant Professor Tom Buckley of the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences.

Study Challenges Evolutionary Theory That DNA Mutations Are Random

A simple roadside weed may hold the key to understanding and predicting DNA mutation, according to new research from University of California, Davis, and the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Germany.

The findings, published today in the journal Nature, radically change our understanding of evolution and could one day help researchers breed better crops or even help humans fight cancer.

Coast Redwood and Sequoia Genome Sequences Completed

Scientists have completed the sequences for the coast redwood and giant sequoia genomes. The research, officially published this week in the journal G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, helps to better explain the genetic basis for these species’ ability to adapt to their changing environments. The research indicates that the coast redwood genome evolved from a single ancestral species.