Bioengineer

Stealing the spotlight in the field and kitchen

Avatar

Published

on

January 20, 2021 – Plant breeders are constantly working to develop new bean varieties to meet the needs and desires of the food industry. But not everyone wants the same thing.

Many consumers desire heirloom-type beans, which have great culinary quality and are visually appealing. On the other hand, farmers desire beans with better disease resistance and higher yield potential.

The bean varieties that farmers want to grow are usually different than the varieties consumers want to purchase. Until now.

Travis Parker, a plant scientist at University of California, Davis, has worked with a team of researchers to release five new varieties of dry beans that combine the most desirable traits.

The new varieties, UC Sunrise, UC Southwest Red, UC Tiger’s Eye, UC Rio Zape, and UC Southwest Gold, were recently highlighted in the Journal of Plant Registrations, a publication of the Crop Science Society of America.

“Our new beans combine the best of both worlds for farmers and consumers,” says Parker. “They combine the better qualities of heirloom-type beans with the better qualities of commercial types.”

Heirloom-type beans often represent older bean types that are known for culinary qualities and seed patterns. These are highly desired by consumers. Heirloom types often fetch a higher market value than other beans.

Commercial dry beans often have higher yields, shorter maturity times, and improved disease resistance. While they possess qualities desirable to producers, they don’t fetch as high of a market price compared to their heirloom counterparts.

“Our goal was to improve field characteristics of the heirloom beans without losing culinary characteristics,” said Parker. “We have an interest in higher-value varieties and want them to grow well.”

Farmers growing the heirloom dry beans often sell the beans to health-conscious consumers or high-end restaurants. This sale often leads to a higher price point. However, these beans are prone to disease and don’t perform well in the field.

“We know that existing heirloom beans don’t usually do well in terms of yield,” said Parker. “Breeding beans for high yields is a major improvement for farmers. The new varieties are high-yielding, heat-tolerant, and are also resistant to bean common mosaic virus.”

Incorporating disease resistance was essential when developing the new bean varieties. Bean common mosaic virus is a well-known problem that is hard to control in the field.

“The only real effective means to handle the virus is through genetic resistance,” explains Parker.

The new varieties, such as UC Sunrise, satisfy the need for farmers to have a bean that is disease resistant while also yielding 50% more than heirloom types. In addition, the beans do not take as long to grow between planting and harvest.

Commercial and heirloom beans come from the same species, but they are in different market classes. The heirloom varieties are bred with intimate knowledge of what tastes good and what works well in the kitchen.

“In recent decades, there has been less attention paid to consumer desires during the bean breeding process,” says Parker. “There are more layers between the breeder and the consumer. We are trying to make sure to keep consumers in mind while incorporating qualities that are beneficial to the farmer.”

With consumer desires in mind, the research team used cross-pollination to breed plants with key characteristics they selected. As Parker and the team continued the breeding process, they performed taste tests to ensure the beans met the level of culinary quality expected of an heirloom-type bean, in terms of flavor and visual appeal.

###

This research was supported by the Clif Bar Family Foundation, Lundberg Family Farms, the United States Department of Agriculture Organic Agriculture Research & Extension Initiative, and the United States Department of Agriculture Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.

American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America, Crop Science Society of America: Collectively, these Societies represent more than 12,000 individual members around the world. Members are researchers and professionals in the areas of growing our world’s food supply while protecting our environment. Together we work toward solutions to advance scientific knowledge in the areas of agronomy, crop science, and soil science.

Twitter: @ASA_CSSA_SSSA & @SSSA_soils | Instagram: @sustainablefoodsupply & @iheartsoil

Source: https://bioengineer.org/stealing-the-spotlight-in-the-field-and-kitchen/

Bioengineer

Predicts the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) using deep learning-based Splice-AI

Avatar

Published

on

IMAGE

Credit: KBRI

Korea Brain Research Institute (KBRI, President Suh Pann-ghill) announced that the research team led by Dr. Jae-Yeol Joo discovered new cryptic splice variants and SNVs in PLCg1 gene of AD-specific models for the first time using Splice-AI.

This research outcome was published in PNAS, a world-renowned academic journal.

* (Title) Prediction of Alzheimer’s Disease-Specific phospholipase c gamma-1 SNV by Deep Learning-Based Approach for High-Throughput Screening

Alternative splicing variant regulates gene expression and influences diverse phenotypes. Especially, genetic variants arising due to RNA splicing are frequently found in individuals having neurodevelopmental disorders.

The research team revealed splicing hidden within the transcriptome to AD models via deep learning-based Splice-AI.

The novel 14 alternative splicing sites in the PLCg1 gene body, the key element of the signal transduction mechanism, were identified through deep learning.

Especially, Splice-AI analysis predicted a total of 14 splicing sites in the human PLCg1 gene, accurate delta scores, and positions were analyzed and a novel splicing site in exon 26 of human PLCg1 was identified. (exon 26 of the PLCg1 gene is 100% identical with exon 27 of the same gene in mice in terms of amino acid sequence).

* (Splicing) A form of RNA processing that regulates gene expression through the medium of genetic information

* (PLCg1, phospholipase c gamma-1) An essential protein involved in cell signal transduction and human cell growth and death

* (Exon) A part of a gene that contains protein synthesis information

Abnormal RNA processing was identified with an SNV in exon 27 of the PLCg1 gene within the brain of AD mouse models.

The research team revealed for the first time that SNV lead to changes in amino acids of proteins at exon 27. This region is very important for homeostasis because, mutated sequence is evolutionary conserved sequence through various species such as human, ape, mouse, chicken, zebrafish and so on. Moreover, AD specific nucleotide alteration sites were distributed in the histone modification region in PLCg1 gene body during the brain development.

Dr. Joo mentioned, “Emerging variants of the coronavirus have been reported in England in December 2020, and that is more transmissible than previously circulating viruses.

This variants coronavirus has mutation and altered their spike protein amino acid.

Our research will give valuable information and technique for various human diseases and through the convergence and utilization of brain research with AI technology, which is the core of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, to understand various diseases including AD, we will be able to obtain critical information for diagnosis and treatment strategy.”

###

This research was supported by grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea, and the Korea Brain Research Institute (KBRI) basic research program.

Media Contact
Jae-Yeol Joo
jyjoo@kbri.re.kr

Original Source

https://www.pnas.org/content/118/3/e2011250118

Related Journal Article

http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2011250118

Source: https://bioengineer.org/predicts-the-onset-of-alzheimers-disease-ad-using-deep-learning-based-splice-ai/

Continue Reading

Bioengineer

When foams collapse (and when they don’t)

Avatar

Published

on

High-speed video microscopy reveals the complex mechanics of foam collapse

IMAGE

Credit: Tokyo Metropolitan University

Tokyo, Japan – Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have revealed how liquid foams collapse by observing individual collapse “events” with high-speed video microscopy. They found that cracks in films led to a receding liquid front which sweeps up the original film border, inverts its shape, and releases a droplet which hits and breaks other films. Their observations and physical model provide key insights into how to make foams more or less resistant to collapse.

Understanding how foams collapse is serious business. Whether it’s ensuring fire extinguishing foams stay long enough to put out flames, cleaning up toxic foams in seas and rivers, or simply getting the perfect rise on a cake, getting to grips with how foam materials collapse is vital to tailoring their properties, both to keep foams around longer or help them disappear quicker.

That’s why a team led by Prof. Rei Kurita of Tokyo Metropolitan University have been carrying out high-speed video microscopy experiments on liquid foams. By generating foams sandwiched between two thin, transparent plates, they have direct access to the whole range of complex phenomena that occur when they begin to collapse. In previous work, they showed that a key way in which foams collapse is via the generation of droplets when individual films rupture. These droplets fly off at high speeds and break other surrounding films, leading to a cascade of breakages that cause the foam to break down. Yet, it was not yet known how exactly the droplets were formed. Importantly, it was not clear when droplets were formed, and when they weren’t.

Now, the team has begun to unravel the complex mechanism behind how these droplets are made. When an initial crack forms in a film, the film recedes and leaves a wobbling line of liquid where the original film border was, named as the Released Vertical Plateau Border (RVPB). While it wobbles, there is an accumulation of liquid in the center of the RVPB. When a further crack is created in the remaining film, a receding line of liquid is created which sweeps up the RVPB (see Figure). Interestingly, videos showed that this front has a tendency to invert in shape as it travels. The team found that this is largely due to an inertial effect, as the heavier central part moves less under a constant force. Importantly, it is this inversion that ultimately causes a droplet to be released, initiating a cascade of film breakage events. Their work stands in contrast to previous investigations that looked at standing individual films; the accumulation of liquid in the middle of RVPBs is only possible inside foams, where liquid can be supplied by surrounding films and borders. The physical model they developed to describe the dynamics was shown to give reliable predictions of front velocity and relevant time scales.

Finally, the team replaced lab reagents with a household detergent and repeated the experiment, creating a much more long-lasting foam. When a bubble is burst at the side, they found a similar accumulation of liquid in the center of RVPBs, though significantly less than before. The enhanced elasticity of the film also meant it was extremely unlikely for two cracks to form in the same film; that meant no droplets were formed i.e. no collective bubble collapse: in light of the mechanism found above, this shows conclusively that both less transport within RVPBs and fewer cracks contributed directly to foam stability. Insights like these are vital for guiding the design of new foam materials with enhanced properties; the team hopes that their work may inspire state-of-the-art insulation materials, detergents, food products and cosmetics.

###

This work was supported by a JSPS Research Fellowship for Young Scientists (20J11840), and JSPS KAKENHI Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (17H02945, 20H01874, 20K14431).

Media Contact
Go Totsukawa
totsukawa-go@jmj.tmu.ac.jp

Original Source

https://doi.org/10.1039/D0SM02153A

Related Journal Article

http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/D0SM02153A

Source: https://bioengineer.org/when-foams-collapse-and-when-they-dont/

Continue Reading

Bioengineer

UTA researcher explores effects of trauma at the cellular, tissue levels of the brain

Avatar

Published

on

Blast trauma and the human brain

IMAGE

Credit: UT Arlington

A University of Texas at Arlington researcher has received an Office of Naval Research (ONR) grant to examine the mechanics of how blast-like events cause damage to the brain.

Ashfaq Adnan, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, has received a three-year, $944,845 grant to study the potential link between blast-like trauma and cellular and tissue damage in the brain. By using ultra-high-speed cameras to capture dynamic events within a simulated brain, he will be able to look at rapid acceleration and deceleration to investigate what happens during such events.

Previous research has suggested that blast-like trauma has great potential to create cavitation, or bubbles, and cause damage to brain cells, with some studies showing their presence inside realistic head models. Adnan wants to track the entire process of bubble formation, evolution and collapse to observe how it affects brain cells.

“This study will give us the unique opportunity to see bubble formation in realistic scenarios and connect to our previous research to help us understand how to prevent traumatic brain injuries,” Adnan said. “Once we understand the pathways leading to brain injury, we will have more avenues to explore damage mechanisms and apply our findings to prevention and treatment.

“I’d like to specially thank the ONR and Timothy Bentley, program manager and deputy of its Force Health Protection Program, for supporting our research,” Adnan said.

He also will investigate the broader configurations of the brain, specifically related to glial cells, which are found next to neuronal cells and contain elements necessary for neuronal cells to function. Adnan suspects that glial cells act as a shield against trauma to neuronal cells.

“Dr. Adnan’s work continues to evolve and provide crucial insight into the mechanisms of traumatic brain injuries,” said Erian Armanios, chair of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department. “His leadership and professional discernment have contributed much to the collective knowledge in this area, and I look forward to the groundbreaking results of this milestone.”

Adnan purchased the high-speed cameras for the study with a Defense University Research Instrumentation Program grant. He has two other ONR grants and a National Institutes of Health sub-award totaling $1.98 million to support his research related to blast-induced traumatic brain injury. His previous research has determined that, under certain circumstances, the mechanical forces of blast-like events can damage the perineuronal net located adjacent to neurons, which could in turn damage the neurons themselves.

He and his team simulated a shock wave-induced cavitation collapse within the perineuronal net, which is a specialized extracellular matrix that stabilizes synapses in the brain. The team focused on the damage in hyaluronan, which is the net’s main structural component, and showed that the localized supersonic forces created by an asymmetrical bubble collapse may break it.

###

– Written by Jeremy Agor, College of Engineering

Media Contact
Herb Booth
hbooth@uta.edu

Original Source

https://www.uta.edu/news/news-releases/2021/02/25/adnan-blast-trauma-brain

Source: https://bioengineer.org/uta-researcher-explores-effects-of-trauma-at-the-cellular-tissue-levels-of-the-brain/

Continue Reading

Bioengineer

Picture books can boost physical activity for youth with autism

Avatar

Published

on

University of Missouri researcher says the exercise guides can also be used by low-income families to promote a healthy lifestyle

IMAGE

Credit: University of Missouri College of Education

COLUMBIA, Mo. – While physical activity is important for everyone, research has shown people with developmental disabilities do not exercise as often as their typically developed peers. In an effort to close this disparity, a researcher at the University of Missouri recently created fitness picture books that help youth with autism exercise more frequently while offering low-income families a simple resource for workout motivation when outdoor fitness equipment might not be accessible.

“There is so much research geared toward helping individuals with autism improve their academic performance, social skills and communication skills, but we also need to remember how important physical activity is for living a healthy lifestyle,” said Lorraine Becerra, an assistant teaching professor at the MU College of Education. “There are numerous health benefits of exercise, such as pumping blood in your body, better sleep and reduced risk of obesity. Also, if we can get kids with autism more physically engaged, they are more likely to run around and play with their peers, so there are other aspects of their life we can improve as well.”

Becerra is also a behavior analyst at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Since some of her former clients with autism had body mass indexes that had risen to unhealthy levels due to excessive sedentary behavior, their caregivers asked Becerra to develop creative ways to encourage their children to exercise more.

So, in a recent research study, Becerra created fitness picture books that contained step-by-step images of various exercises, such as jumping jacks, bear crawls and lunges. The picture books were successfully utilized to increase the amount of time the individuals with autism engaged in physical activity.

Having previously worked in low-income school districts with limited financial resources, Becerra understands the need to find cost-efficient methods to help kids with autism exercise more frequently.

“It’s important to remember that some schools might not have a jungle gym or many age-appropriate resources for kids to play with,” Becerra said. “The great thing about the picture books is they provide simple, engaging exercises that can be done in a wide variety of settings, like a school playground, backyard or even an empty field at a park. It is also a quick and easy way for caregivers or teachers to provide organized structure during flexible free time, such as during recess.”

With recent advancements in technology and entertainment, youth are increasingly spending more of their time sitting in front of televisions, tablets and personal electronic devices. Becerra is passionate about reminding youth — particularly individuals on the autism spectrum — about the importance of scheduling time for physical activity.

“These lifelong habits start when you are young,” Becerra said. “Making time to run around and establish those exercise routines early in life will help youth maintain those habits in their adolescent and adult years.”

###

“The effect of photographic activity schedules on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in children with autism spectrum disorder” was recently published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Media Contact
Brian Consiglio
consigliob@missouri.edu

Original Source

https://showme.missouri.edu/2021/picture-books-can-boost-physical-activity-for-youth-with-autism/

Related Journal Article

http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jaba.796

Source: https://bioengineer.org/picture-books-can-boost-physical-activity-for-youth-with-autism/

Continue Reading
Proposed hardware implementation of the QEC code. The circuit consists of two Josephson junctions coupled by a gyrator, highlighted in red. CREDIT M. Rymarz et al., Phys Rev X (2021), https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevX.11.011032 (CC BY 4.0)
Nano Technology4 days ago

Blueprint for fault-tolerant qubits: Scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University have designed a circuit for quantum computers which is naturally protected against common errors

Blockchain5 days ago

Carrefour Shoppers in the UAE to Get Farm-to-Shelf Information with Blockchain Technology

PR Newswire5 days ago

International HPV Awareness Day Summit

Proposed hardware implementation of the QEC code. The circuit consists of two Josephson junctions coupled by a gyrator, highlighted in red. CREDIT M. Rymarz et al., Phys Rev X (2021), https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevX.11.011032 (CC BY 4.0)
Nano Technology4 days ago

Blueprint for fault-tolerant qubits: Scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University have designed a circuit for quantum computers which is naturally protected against common errors

AI5 days ago

I’m fired: Google AI in meltdown as ethics unit co-lead forced out just weeks after coworker ousted

PR Newswire5 days ago

IAR Systems introduces 64-bit Arm core support in leading embedded development tools

Automotive4 days ago

FAA clears SpaceX Starship prototype for third launch and landing attempt

Nano Technology5 days ago

Dynamics of nanoparticles using a new isolated lymphatic vessel lumen perfusion system

PR Newswire5 days ago

Why Famtech Will Become a Major Trend in the Coming Years

Proposed hardware implementation of the QEC code. The circuit consists of two Josephson junctions coupled by a gyrator, highlighted in red. CREDIT M. Rymarz et al., Phys Rev X (2021), https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevX.11.011032 (CC BY 4.0)
Nano Technology5 days ago

Blueprint for fault-tolerant qubits: Scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University have designed a circuit for quantum computers which is naturally protected against common errors

PR Newswire5 days ago

Anticoagulant Reversal Drugs Market Size Worth $1.81 Billion By 2027: Grand View Research, Inc.

PR Newswire5 days ago

Heritage Health Solutions, Inc. Announces New President

Globe NewsWire5 days ago

Notice to the Annual General Meeting of Savosolar Plc

Bioengineer4 days ago

Graphene Oxide membranes could reduce paper industry energy costs

PR Newswire5 days ago

Thrasio Increases European Commitment to €500 million; Announces Another Major German Acquisition

Nano Technology5 days ago

A speed limit also applies in the quantum world: Study by the University of Bonn determines minimum time for complex quantum operations

PR Newswire5 days ago

Worldwide Livestock Monitoring Industry to 2027 – Rising Demand for Cattle Monitoring

Bioengineer4 days ago

UH receives $5 million to combat HIV/AIDS epidemic

Bioengineer4 days ago

Three longtime antibiotics could offer alternative to addictive opioid pain relievers

Bioengineer4 days ago

How outdoor pollution affects indoor air quality

Trending