Journal Club

Highlighting recent, timely papers selected by Academy member labs

Author Archives: Carolyn Beans

Drought causes lasting changes to the rice root microbiome

Beneficial microbes living in and around a crop’s roots could be powerful allies in the fight to keep plants alive through droughts, especially as climate change worsens. But before scientists can harness these microbial partners to make crops more resilient, … Continue reading

Categories: Agriculture | Climate science | Journal Club | Microbiology | Plant Biology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Emotional associations, more than knowledge, determine how much people care about the deep sea

With new technological advances in deep-sea mining, the ocean floor’s trove of valuable metals and rare earth elements is coming within reach of commercial mining operations. The impending reality of this practice, and its associated environmental risks, raises the question … Continue reading

Categories: Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences | Ecology | Journal Club | Social Sciences | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Transgenic switchgrass cleans up contamination from military explosives

At military sites in the United States and across the globe, routine live-fire trainings produce a downpour of an explosive known as RDX (hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine). A synthetic chemical, RDX can threaten human health, damaging the nervous system if inhaled or ingested. … Continue reading

Categories: Chemistry | Genetics | Journal Club | Plant Biology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Heavy water tastes sweeter

In the 1930s, scientists discovered a heavier form of water. So-called “heavy water” (D2O) weighs more because the nucleus of each of its two hydrogen atoms contains not just a proton but a neutron as well. Known as deuterium, heavy … Continue reading

Categories: Chemistry | Journal Club | Physiology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Agricultural spray could quickly deliver advantageous genes to crops mid-growing season

Plant breeders are masters of genome tuning, spending years developing crops with the genes to resist disease, drought, and pests. Now, a team of industry and academic researchers in Germany and the United Kingdom has developed a viral vector technology … Continue reading

Categories: Agriculture | Genetics | Journal Club | Sustainability Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Smaller salamander species associated with smaller genomes

The world’s tiniest salamanders are so small that some body parts appear to get short shrift. Those in the genus Thorius, for example, have heads that are “mind bogglingly small, maybe half the size of a pencil eraser,” says herpetologist … Continue reading

Categories: Developmental Biology | Evolution | Genetics | Journal Club | Physiology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Model suggests how evolution shapes ecological networks among species

The natural world is filled with networks. Predator and prey, flower and pollinator—each interacting pair forms a link in a networked community of organisms. Now, a French research team has developed a model that explores how evolution may help shape … Continue reading

Categories: Animal Behavior | Ecology | Evolution | Journal Club | Mathematics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

In plea for face masks, researchers visualize how speech sends fluid droplets flying

As COVID-19 ravaged Wuhan, China, in January, scientists remained unsure how the virus was spreading so rapidly. Biophysicist Adriaan Bax, chatting over dinner with his linguist wife Ingrid Pufahl, started to suspect that the saliva we project as we speak … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Biological Sciences | Applied Physical Sciences | Biophysics and Computational Biology | Infectious disease | Journal Club | Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fluid dynamics work hints at whether spoken word can spread COVID-19

As of April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising that everyone—sick or healthy—wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Recent research on how fluids travel from our respiratory tracts when we sneeze, speak, or … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Physical Sciences | Immunology | Infectious disease | Journal Club | Medical Sciences | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Variation in a single gene increases plant yield in groups but not in pairs

Groups of diverse plant species often produce more seeds than monocultures. But whether plants ramp up yield in response to genetically distinct, direct neighbors, as opposed to a broader neighborhood of diverse plants, remains an open question in ecology. “It’s … Continue reading

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Rice gene could make “green revolution” plants greener by cutting back on fertilizer

The green revolution was launched, in large part, with rather squat plants. In the 1960s, farmers began using semidwarf varieties of wheat and rice that produced many grain-bearing branches known as tillers. When farmers added nitrogen fertilizer, the plants gained … Continue reading

Categories: Agriculture | Climate science | Genetics | Sustainability Science | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment