Pufferfish may be carving mysterious ‘crop circles’ near Australia

Japan’s white-spotted pufferfish are renowned for producing complex, ringed patterns in the sand. Now, 5,500 kilometers away in Australia, scientists have discovered what appear to be dozens more of these creations.

While conducting a marine life survey out on Australia’s North West Shelf near subsea gas infrastructure with an autonomous underwater vehicle, marine ecologist Todd Bond spotted a striking pattern on the seafloor, more than 100 meters deep.  “Immediately, I knew what it was,” recounts Bond, of the University of Western Australia in Perth. Bond and his colleagues continued the survey, ultimately finding nearly two dozen more.

Until now, these undersea “crop circles” were found only off the coast of Japan. First spotted in the 1990s, it took two decades to solve the mystery of what created them. In 2011, scientists found the sculptors — the diminutive males of what was then a new species of Torquigener pufferfish. The patterns

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New Technology Accelerates Crop Improvement with CRISPR

Summary

Researchers know how to make precise genetic changes within the genomes of crops, but the transformed cells often refuse to grow into plants. One team has devised a new solution.

Wheat Plants

Scientists who want to improve crops face a dilemma: it can be difficult to grow plants from cells after you’ve tweaked their genomes.

A new tool helps ease this process by coaxing the transformed cells, including those modified with the gene-editing system CRISPR-Cas9, to regenerate new plants. Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Specialist Juan M. Debernardi and Investigator Jorge Dubcovsky, together with David Tricoli at the University of California, Davis Plant Transformation Facility, Javier Palatnik from Argentina, and colleagues at the John Innes Centre, collaborated on the work. The team reports the technology, developed in wheat and tested in other crops, October 12, 2020, in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

“The problem is that transforming a plant is still

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Bayer Slumps as Bleak Crop Outlook Saps Monsanto Rationale

(Bloomberg) — Bayer AG slumped after the agriculture and pharma giant said it would have to slash costs as the pandemic’s impact on farm commodities extends into next year, further undermining the rationale for its $63 billion purchase of Monsanto Co.

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The stock fell as much as 13% in German trading, knocking 6.6 billion euros ($7.7 billion) from a market value that has sagged well below the price paid for Monsanto. Bayer, already reeling from a legal battle over its Roundup herbicide, said late Wednesday it would cut 1.5 billion euros of annual costs and may also eliminate jobs and sell businesses.

Chief Executive Officer Werner Baumann is confronting multiple challenges just after getting his contract extended. Besides Roundup, the German company faces slumping crop prices and weakening demand for biofuel that threaten its agriculture unit two years after the controversial Monsanto takeover.

“It was already quite clear

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NASA Technology to Reveal Crop Health Insights for Agriculture Industry

NASA Technology to Reveal Crop Health Insights for Agriculture Industry

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2020

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — A Georgia-based company called Cybercorps LLC plans to offer real-time agricultural data for farmers, resource managers, first responders, and other interested user groups with the help of a patented NASA technology. Cybercorps has signed a license agreement with NASA for the Compact Thermal Imager (CTI), a technology developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

NASA Logo. (PRNewsFoto/NASA) (PRNewsFoto/) (PRNewsfoto/NASA)
NASA Logo. (PRNewsFoto/NASA) (PRNewsFoto/) (PRNewsfoto/NASA)

The technology, conceived at Goddard by CTI Principal Investigator Murzy Jhabvala, is small enough to fit on a cube satellite, or CubeSat, a type of miniaturized satellite whose size is measured in units of 10 square centimeters that plays a growing role at NASA for science missions and technology demonstrations. Though tiny in size, CTI can provide high-resolution information about crop health

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