The widespread deaths of fish in the Darling River – with more predicted to come – has raised serious questions about the allocation of water between agriculture and the environment. Water-hungry crops like cotton and rice are also raising eyebrows: are they worth growing in the Murray Darling Basin? The situation is a little more complicated than it may appear. Cotton and rice need plenty of water, but they might actually be some of the best crops to help cope with a rapidly changing climate.
Russia has surprised markets for the second year in a row with wheat supplies and exports topping expectations. But recent gains in Russian wheat prices suggest the country might finally be giving up its competitive dominance. Wheat exports from Russia have been on a tear. Exports maintained a record pace for each of the first six months of the current marketing year, which began in July. That followed huge supply and better-than-expected export capacity in 2017/18. The country’s abundance has kept a lid on world wheat prices, and led to a steep buildup of US wheat stocks, which were priced out of the market. Traders kept wondering when the Russian juggernaut would finally slow down. Russia briefly lost its status as the world’s cheapest origin, missing out on a December round of purchases by Egypt’s General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), the world’s largest importer of wheat. Wheat from Ukraine and Romania underpriced Russian supplies and it was the first time since August that no Russian wheat was purchased. The most recent round of GASC purchases on Jan. 9 returned to Russian origin, so the competition looks to continue for a while longer.
What if your ability to feed yourself was dependent on a process that made a mistake 20 percent of the time? e face this situation every day. That’s because the plants that produce the food we eat evolved to solve a chemistry problem that arose billions of years ago. Plants evolved to use carbon dioxide to make our food and the oxygen we breathe – a process called photosynthesis. But they grew so well and produced so much oxygen that this gas began to dominate the atmosphere. To plants, carbon dioxide and oxygen look very similar, and sometimes, plants use an oxygen instead of carbon dioxide. When this happens, toxic compounds are created, which lowers crop yields and costs us 148 trillion calories per year in unrealized wheat and soybean yield – or enough calories to feed an additional 200 million people for a whole year.
在生命科学领域中，遗传学家都在追寻与疾病易感性、作物产量和其他性状相关的特定基因。近15年来，这些研究都依赖于全基因组关联分析（GWAS），需要进行大量的统计计算，以搜寻遗传密码的差异。 GWAS的特点是一次测试一个标记与性状的关联强度。然而，性状并非仅由一个基因控制，而是多个基因以附加形式控制着表型变异，并在上位上进行互动。研究人员想要探寻的是在生物学上更为精确的统计方法。他们在寻找一次就有多个标记甚至有多个双向互动效果的统计模型。 来自美国伊利诺伊大学的研究团队测试了新方法——“构建附加上位多基因座模式的分步程序”（Stepwise Procedure for constructing an Additive and Epistatic Multi-Locus model, SPAEML）——能否检测到数据库的模拟性状。研究人员在人类数据库和玉米数据库中都识别出了模拟标记，并在前者中区分出了加性基因座和互作基因座。研究团队花费了近四年的时间研发并改进了处理组合式探索的方法，将数百万个数据点减少至约15,000个，这样SPAEML就能轻松处理了。今后，研究人员计划利用SPAEML解锁未知的基因结构。
[前沿资讯] Development and validation of a mouse-based primary screening method for testing relative allergenicity of proteins from different wheat genotypes 进入全文
Journal of Immunological Methods
USA - A new study from the University of Arkansas has confirmed what many have known for some time – America’s pig farmers are producing a product that has become increasingly sustainable over the past five decades. According to the new study, A Retrospective Assessment of U.S. Pork Production: 1960 to 2015, the inputs needed to produce a pound of pork in the United States became more environmentally friendly over time. Specifically, 75.9 percent less land was needed, 25.1 percent less water and 7.0 percent less energy. This also resulted in a 7.7 percent smaller carbon footprint. “The study confirms what we as producers have been doing to make good on our ongoing commitment of doing what’s best for people, pigs and the planet, which is at the heart of the industry’s We CareSM ethical principles,” said Steve Rommereim, National Pork Board president and a pig farmer from Alcester, South Dakota. “It’s a great barometer of our environmental stewardship over the years and gives us a solid benchmark for future improvements.”