Plant Genome Biology Botany Genetics 

Genome Revelations: How Green Plants Evolved

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Plants are ancestral organisms that have evolved over millions of years, leading to the broad diversity we see today. Green plants evolved from a common ancestor into approximately 450,000–500,000 species today. There are many gaps in understanding of their diversification that scientists still struggle to fill. In a recent paper published in Nature, researchers from the One Thousand Plant Transcriptomes Initiative reviewed and analyzed genomic data from 1,124 plant species and provided the most complete evolutionary relationship tree for green plants to date. Genomes, transcriptomes, and…

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the science of fear, anxiety, and phobias Biology Education Videos 

The Science of Fear, Anxiety, and Phobias

What happens to you when you feel fear? What about anxiety? And while we’re on the subject, what is a phobia, anyway? Today, Science with Sophie spoofs TV to bring us PHOBIA FACTOR and expose our greatest fears… and why we have them. Featuring TUGGS THE CORGI – back by popular demand. We love you, Tuggs! There is a science experiment inside this video! To join Sophie in conducting the simple science experiment in this episode, you’ll need: a timer a notebook a pencil your heartbeat Go find those things…

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Proof of evolution is in your DNA Anthropology Biology Education Genetics Videos 

Proof of Evolution Is in Your DNA

Another great video from our friend Dr. Joe Hanson and the team at It’s Okay to Be Smart, brought to you by PBS Digital Studios. This time, we’re looking at the proof of evolution that’s embedded right there in our DNA. Humans are special, and we got that way thanks to evolution and natural selection. The proof is right there in our bodies! From anatomy to genes, here are some stories of how you got to be the way you are. Dr. Joe Hanson, It’s Okay to Be Smart References…

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Biology Botany 

Bananas, Panama Disease, and You

By Radhika Desikan Bananas are a ubiquitous fruit that generally appeals to humans of all ages, from infants to older people. But did you know that our consumption of bananas might be reduced in the future, due to a devastating disease that is hitting the crop worldwide? Panama disease of bananas is a hugely devastating plant disease caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc). It was originally discovered in the late 19th century, but spread globally in the early 20th century, when the disease wiped out a…

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Biology Health 

Nicotine Receptor May Play a Part in Cannabis Addiction

By Andrew Neff (@neuroscience_fu) In 2019 scientists discovered an association between the prevalence of cannabis use disorder and a mutant nicotine receptor in the brain (Demontis, 2019). What does this mean for diagnostics or treatment? Maybe not a lot in the near future. But what does it mean for science?  The thing is, we know pretty well how cannabis works. The main psychoactive ingredient is THC, which itself can make people feel high and is known to interact with a dedicated system of receptors in the brain. So when this…

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Biology Botany 

Steroid Hormones Protect Cotton from Drought

By Radhika Desikan As you are reading this, chances are that you are wearing something made of cotton, or have come in contact with some cotton fabric today. Cotton accounts for nearly half of all clothing material in the world. Cotton plants date back to prehistoric times; there is evidence of cotton farming from around 5000 BC in the Indian subcontinent. Cotton fabric is made of cotton fibres, which grow in the protective cases (bolls) around the seeds of the cotton plant (Gossypium hirsutum). However, it is not just the…

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Biology Botany Education 

Curing “Plant Blindness” with Botanical Gardens and Farms

By Neha Jain (@lifesciexplore) What was the last plant you saw? Have you ever seen a grain of wheat? How many varieties of rice are there? Although many of us desire a green environment, more and more people, especially urban dwellers, are becoming oblivious to the plants around them—so much so that just over two decades ago, researchers even coined a term for this phenomenon: “plant blindness.”  Much of the food we eat today is the result of thousands of years of plant cultivation and breeding by our ancestors. As…

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Biology Biota Project Chemistry Environment 

Learning Where Water Comes From, With Isotopes

by Nicholas Dove and Alyssa Abbey Did you ever wonder where your water is coming from? For many of us, drinking a glass of water is as easy as turning on the tap. But, the journey of water from a single raindrop to your drinking glass starts long before then. Water can actually travel hundreds of miles or take hundreds of years before it finally reaches you. During this hot summer month of July, The Biota Project is exploring the origins of one of Earth’s most precious resources: water. We…

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Biology Citizen Science Connected Blog Oceanography 

Ocean Conservation and Citizen Science at the Long Beach Scuba Show

by Kristin Butler Each year, the Long Beach Scuba Show brings together divers from around the world for seminars and exhibits on all things scuba, with topics ranging from dive gear to scuba vacations. Though the show mostly showcases the business side of diving, visitors can also learn about nonprofits that use diving to fight cancer, promote ocean conservation, and collect citizen science data. Two of the nonprofits that attended this year’s show in May developed and currently run citizen science projects I wrote about in 2017: Reef Check and…

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Biology Botany 

This Bug’s Bacteria Helps Rice Plants Boost Immunity

By Radhika Desikan Rice is the most widely consumed staple cereal crop for about half of the world’s human population, but its cultivation comes with inherent challenges, such as crop attacks by herbivorous pests. Brown planthopper (BPH) is an insect pest which feeds on rice plants and causes extensive damage to crops. However, there are some rice varieties that are resistant to BPH; increasing research in this area is aimed at understanding the mechanisms of this resistance. Moreover, although there are about 800 insect herbivores that feed on rice, the…

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