Scientists studying the ecological legacy of the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power station have found surprising evidence that some plants can adapt and even flourish in a highly radioactive environment. An international team of scientists, including researchers from the University of Missouri, grew flax plants in a high radiation environment near the abandoned Chernobyl site and compared the seeds produced to those from plants grown in non-radioactive control plots.
Biochemistry ⋅ Page 11
A herbal remedy used by South African traditional healers to enhance immunity and slow the wasting of HIV/AIDS has passed the first part of a multi-part clinical study in that country. The next piece of the study, now beginning, will determine if anecdotal evidence of the plant’s benefits can be scientifically demonstrated.
Judy Wall, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, is working on an alternative way to clean up such sites. Her laboratory, in partnership with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., is looking at eventually using bacteria to reduce toxic metals to inert substances.
What do swine flu pandemics and stem cell biology have in common? Medical scientists use sophisticated mapping tools to track the development of both. The University of Missouri, with funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is using mapping to give Missouri high school teachers and students a better understanding of fundamental concepts of human health, biology and medical sciences.
Investigators at the University of Missouri have developed the ability to take regular cells from pigs’ connective tissues, known as fibroblasts, and transform them into stem cells, eliminating several of these hurdles. The discovery was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
Bryan L. Garton was recently named interim associate dean and director of academic programs for MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. He previously served as CAFNR’s assistant dean of academic programs and professor of agricultural education.
A study by biochemistry researchers at the University of Missouri have found that this type of tomato has properties that help fight prostate cancer. They published their results in the June issue of Cancer Research.
Think that a field of plants is a bucolic place free of strife? Try again. It is a battlefield of chemical warfare between defending plants and attacking pathogens. And the plants are waging a good fight, according to a University of Missouri biochemist. Previous studies have shown that plants can sense attacks by pathogens and activate their defenses. However, it has not been known what happens between the pathogen attacks and the defense activation, until now. A new MU study revealed a very complex process that explains how plants counterattack pathogens. This discovery could potentially lead to crops with enhanced disease resistance.
BridgeAt first glance, there seems to be little in common between biochemistry research in medicine and agriculture. On closer inspection, the relationship becomes profound as life and disease processes are very similar at the genetic and molecular level.
An international research center co-directed by William Folk, Ph.D., biochemist, in the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the School of Medicine, will study the medical effectiveness of the plant commonly called Sutherlandia. A clinical study seeks to determine if the plant is safe and can benefit people in the early stages of HIV/AIDS.