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Dynamic photosynthesis model simulates 10-20 percent yield increase

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. —  Plants use sunlight to generate their food through photosynthesis. When the sun rises each morning, plants must prepare themselves to receive nutrients from the sunlight, which takes time. Decreasing the prep time in plants could hold the key to improving yields in many crop varieties.

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Ag disruptors: New Illinois major is for you

URBANA, Ill. – When he thinks about where he’ll be in five to 10 years, recent University of Illinois graduate Austin Parish sees himself disrupting the agriculture industry. In a good way.

Right now, our only limitation in ag is how big we can think. I'm excited to be working alongside startups to bring more data and technology than ever to disrupt the plant biotechnology space,” he says.

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Herbicide resistance no longer a black box for scientists

URBANA, Ill. – When agricultural weeds evolve resistance to herbicides, they do it in one of two ways. In target-site resistance, a tiny mutation in the plant’s genetic code means the chemical no longer fits in the protein it’s designed to attack. In non-target-site resistance, the plant deploys a whole slew of enzymes that detoxify the chemical before it can cause harm.

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Protein ‘big bang’ reveals molecular makeup for medicine and bioengineering

URBANA, Ill. – Proteins have been quietly taking over our lives since the COVID-19 pandemic began. We’ve been living at the whim of the virus’s so-called “spike” protein, which has mutated dozens of times to create increasingly deadly variants. But the truth is, we have always been ruled by proteins. At the cellular level, they’re responsible for pretty much everything.

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Microbial gene discovery could mean greater gut health

URBANA, Ill. – As the owner of a human body, you’re carrying trillions of microbes with you everywhere you go. These microscopic organisms aren’t just hitching a ride; many of them perform essential chemical reactions that regulate everything from our digestion to our immune system to our moods.

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Genome sequenced for pesky pumpkin pathogen

URBANA, Ill. – Pumpkin growers dread the tiny tan scabs that form on their fruit, each lesion a telltale sign of bacterial spot disease. The specks don’t just mar the fruit’s flesh, they provide entry points for rot-inducing fungus and other pathogens that can destroy pumpkins and other cucurbits from the inside out. Either way, farmers pay the price, with marketable yields reduced by as much as 90%.

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What happens when the coronavirus mutates?

New mutations to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are emerging, including a more-infectious variant first found in the United Kingdom, even as vaccines containing bits of viral genetic material are beginning distribution. Gustavo Caetano-Anollés, a professor in the Department of Crop Sciences and a member of the Carl R.

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Study tracks elephant tusks from 16th century shipwreck

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — In 1533, the Bom Jesus – a Portuguese trading vessel carrying 40 tons of cargo including gold, silver, copper and more than 100 elephant tusks – sank off the coast of Africa near present-day Namibia. The wreck was found in 2008, and Department of Animal Sciences researchers say they now have determined the source of much of the ivory recovered from the ship.

Read more from the Illinois News Bureau.

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Illinois team sequences Miscanthus genome

URBANA, Ill. -- An international research team has sequenced the full genome of an ornamental variety of miscanthus, a wild perennial grass emerging as a prime candidate for sustainable bioenergy crops.

The genome project — led by scientists at the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Research Center — provides a road map for researchers exploring new avenues to maximize the plant’s productivity and decipher the genetic basis for its desirable traits.

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Illinois study tracks evolution of SARS-CoV-2 virus mutations

URBANA, Ill. – Since COVID-19 began its menacing march across Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and then across the world, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has taken a “whatever works” strategy to ensure its replication and spread. But in a new study published in Evolutionary Bioinformatics, University of Illinois researchers and students show the virus is honing the tactics that may make it more successful and more stable.

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