Plant Gene Discovery Could Help Reduce Fertilizer Pollution in WaterwaysOver-fertilization of agricultural fields is a huge environmental problem. Excess phosphorus from fertilized cropland frequently finds its way into nearby rivers and lakes. A resulting boom of aquatic plant growth can cause oxygen levels in the water to plunge,...
BTI Researchers Discover Compound that Speeds Sexual Development and DeclineEvery day, people are exposed to myriad chemicals, both natural and synthetic. Some of these compounds may affect human physical development, but testing them directly on people would be grossly unethical. To get around this dilemma, researchers from Boyce Thompson...
BTI Researchers Discover Interactions Between Plant and Insect-Infecting VirusesAphids and the plant viruses they transmit cause billions of dollars in crop damage around the world every year. Researchers in Michelle Heck’s lab at the USDA Agricultural Research Service and Boyce Thompson Institute are examining the relationship at the molecular...
BTI Scientists Create New Genomic Resource for Improving TomatoesTomato breeders have traditionally emphasized traits that improve production, like larger fruits and more fruits per plant. As a result, some traits that improved other important qualities, such as flavor and disease resistance, were lost. Researchers from Boyce...
BTI’s Maria Harrison Elected to National Academy of SciencesMaria Harrison, William H. Crocker Professor at Boyce Thompson Institute and Adjunct Professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS) at Cornell University, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Harrison is one of 100 new members announced...
BTI’s Big Red Anniversary: 40 Years at CornellThe Boyce Thompson Institute of Corvallis, Oregon? It almost happened. April 24 will mark the 40th anniversary of the dedication ceremony for BTI’s current facilities on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, NY. The Institute’s researchers and staff will celebrate...
BTI Promotes Faculty Member FeiDavid Stern, president of the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), is delighted to announce that faculty member Zhangjun Fei has been promoted to Full Professor on February 27, 2019. Fei was evaluated on his achievements to date and the potential he possesses. Fei has made...
Cassava experts gather to champion ‘orphan crop’It’s a dietary staple for millions of Africans, but cassava has traditionally received little attention from scientists and plant breeders in comparison to cash crops such as wheat and maize. However, researchers have recently been working to find cassava a scientific...
Plant–Fungal Interface Gets TubularFor hundreds of millions of years, plants and fungi have formed symbiotic relationships to trade crucial nutrients, such as phosphate and fatty acids. This relationship is extremely important to the growth and survival of both organisms, and solving the mystery of how...
Orange is the new white: New sweetpotato data is something to be thankful for
The genome sequences of I. trifida and I. triloba can be used as robust references to facilitate sweetpotato breeding. The genomic resources developed in this study set the stage for increased rates of genetic gains for key traits such as yield, resistance to disease, and high beta-carotene.
Back to our roots: Insights from genomes of a plant-associated fungus and its bacterial endosymbiontsIn an article published this month in the journal New Phytologist, researchers at the Boyce Thompson Institute and the National Center for Genome Resources describe the genome sequences (DNA sequences), of the fungus Diversispora epigaea (formerly known as Glomus...
CRISPR tames the wild groundcherryITHACA, NY – You might not have heard of the groundcherry, or at least, never tasted one. But that could soon change thanks to research from the Van Eck Laboratory at Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI). The groundcherry (Physalis pruinosa) is approximately the same size...
Blood, sweat and tears: All in a day’s work fighting citrus greening diseaseAround this time last year, PhD student Angela Kruse and postdoctoral scientist Dr. John Ramsey were huddled over microscopes, using tiny needles to painstakingly extract blood, also known as hemolymph, from 300 Asian citrus psyllids – insects about the size of...
NSF awards BTI $1M to study plant-bacteria symbiosisProfessor Dr. Fay-Wei Li has been awarded a $1.1 million NSF grant to study hornwort/bacteria symbiosis. The hornwort plant relies on nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria to give it life and unlocking the secrets to how that works may help reduce agricultural dependence on...
Open-access wild tomato genome offers valuable insights for tomato growers, crop scientists
The new S. lycopersicoides genome sequence offers the opportunity for innovative breeding programs that may hold the ability to confer desirable traits to marketable tomato varieties.
New ‘Tomato Expression Atlas’ dives deep into the fruit’s flesh
Researchers at BTI, Cornell and USDA published a spatiotemporal map of gene expression across all tissues and developmental stages of the tomato fruit – the genetic information underlying how a fruit changes from inside to out as it ripens. Their data is available in the new Tomato Expression Atlas (TEA).
Maria Harrison, consortium of scientists receive $5 million grant to study genes that help legumes access soil nutrients
BTI’s Harrison lab will develop Medicago truncatula mutants to identify the function of genes predicted to be important in nitrogen fixation in legumes.
Bottle gourd genome provides insight on evolutionary history and genetic relationships of cucurbit crops
In their findings, researchers compared the sequenced bottle gourd genome to those of other cucurbit species, allowing them to reconstruct the ancient genomic history of the Cucurbitaceae family.
Pumpkin genomes sequenced revealing uncommon evolutionary history
For some, pumpkins conjure carved Halloween decorations, but for many people around the world, these gourds provide nutrition. Scientists at Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) and the National Engineering Research Center for Vegetables in Beijing have sequenced the genomes of two important pumpkin species, Cucurbita maxima and Cucurbita moschata.
$9.4M NIH grant funds chronic fatigue syndrome center
Cornell will receive close to $9.4 million over five years to establish the Cornell Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Collaborative Research Center, which will span Cornell’s Ithaca campus, Weill Cornell Medicine, Ithaca College, the Boyce Thompson Institute [Schroeder Lab], the Workwell Foundation, EVMED Research, the SOLVE ME/CFS Initiative and private ME/CFS medical practices.
Bioreactors on a chip renew promises for algal biofuels
This week, researchers from Boyce Thompson Institute and Texas A&M University report in Plant Direct exciting new technology that may revolutionize the search for the perfect algal strain: Algal droplet bioreactors on a chip.
International team collaborates to decipher the Asian citrus psyllid genome
BTI’s Mueller and Heck Labs, in collaboration with 21 partner institutions, recently published a draft assembly and annotation of the D. citri genome.
Hot tomatoes! MPMI Cover features BTI research
This month, the cover of Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions features a publication by Simon Schwizer from the Martin Lab at BTI that furthers our understanding of how tomatoes are able to resist infection by Pseudomonas syringae, the causal agent of bacterial speck, a common disease in upstate NY.
GOBii initiative bridges plant breeding digital divide
With open-source software, GOBII plans to provide organizations in the developing world with the computational infrastructure needed for efficient breeding.
New genomic insights reveal a surprising two-way journey for apple on the Silk Road
New research out of Boyce Thompson Institute reveals surprising insights into the genetic exchange along the Silk Road that brought us the modern apple.
Science In Real Life: GMOs with the Van Eck Lab
Follow Science In Real Life (IRL) as they head to the Van Eck Lab and demystify GMOs by showing how they’re made in the lab.
BTI Receives DARPA “Insect Allies” Award to Develop Viruses and Insects for Maize Improvement
The research project, titled Viruses and Insects as Plant Enhancement Resources (VIPER), is supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Insect Allies program.
Maize in Maricopa: An Interview with Intern Michael Miller
Michael Miller spent his first two weeks as a PGRP intern at the United States Department of Agriculture’s Arid Land Research Center.
BTI’s Mueller Lab and visiting researchers collaborate to improve important crop databases
During June and July at BTI, visiting scholars from crop breeding programs in Nigeria, Nairobi, and Uganda have been working closely with researchers in Lukas Mueller’s group to discuss ways to improve the development of online resources related to two of Africa’s most important staple crops: cassava and banana.
2017 GOBii hackathon helps improve current genomic data management system
The GOBII project’s annual hackathon united 25 software developers, bioinformaticians, computational biologists, and application specialists on a week-long mission.
Georg Jander receives $1 million NSF EDGE award to develop genomic tools for studying milkweed
BTI’s Georg Jander is leading one of eight research groups selected to receive awards through the Enabling Discovery through Genomic Tools (EDGE) program, overseen by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Biological Science Directorate.
Newly-published spinach genome will make more than Popeye stronger
Today in Nature Communications, researchers from BTI and the Shanghai Normal University report a new draft genome of Spinacia oleracea, better known as spinach. Additionally, the authors have sequenced the transcriptomes (all the RNA) of 120 cultivated and wild spinach plants, which has allowed them to identify which genetic changes have occurred due to domestication.
Science in seconds: Fabulous Fungi!Dr. Armando Bravo of Maria Harrison’s lab shares new research on the storied relationship between fungi and plant roots.
400 million years of a stable relationship: clues to the molecular basis of balance in AM symbiosis
Researchers from the Harrison lab at BTI have identified a transcriptional program that drives arbuscule degeneration during AM symbiosis. This regulation of arbuscule lifespan has likely contributed to the 400MY stability of the symbiosis by preventing the persistence of fungal cheaters.
Feeding fat to fungi: evidence for lipid transfer in arbuscular mycorrhiza
Researchers from the labs of Dr. Maria Harrison at the Boyce Thompson Institute and Dr. Peter Dörmann at the University of Bonn have produced the first experimental evidence to suggest that AM fungi also get lipids from the plant. AM-induced FatM and RAM2 may play specific roles in the biosynthesis of 16:0 βMAG, which cannot be produced by the fungus, providing a clue to understanding the obligate nature of AM fungi.
Blue-bellied insects may play a role in fight against citrus greening
New research finds that the Asian citrus psyllid responds to the citrus greening bacterium by producing an oxygen-transporting protein called hemocyanin. The protein not only turns them blue, but suggests that they are trying to fight off the infection.
Global partnerships for improving cassava
Cassava geneticist Ismail Yusuf Rabbi from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria visited BTI and Cornell University last week to discuss his ongoing collaboration with NextGen Cassava.
BTI researchers share latest research at ag-genomics conference
The offices of data scientists at BTI emptied out earlier this month as a contingent of researchers flew to San Diego for the 25th annual Plant and Animal Genome Conference.
Cilia receives Presidential Early Career Award
Michelle Cilia has been selected to receive a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), which recognizes outstanding, government-funded scientists who show great potential for becoming leaders in their field and for expanding the frontiers of scientific knowledge.
Jujube genome study sheds light on fruit tree’s domestication
The genome will serve as a resource for jujube breeders working on improved cultivars, as well as for researchers working on other fruit trees, such as apples.
Why the whitefly is such a formidable threat to food security
Researchers in the Fei lab have sequenced the genome of the whitefly, an invasive insect responsible for spreading plant viruses worldwide, causing billions of dollars in crop losses each year.
Tanzania to improve cassava in Africa with NextGen Cassava project
The NextGen Cassava project, a global partnership led by Cornell University that includes BTI Associate Professor Lukas Meuller, will now include cassava breeders from Tanzania.
Genetic changes in tomatoes may help crops produce early and often
Cultivating a disregard for day length enabled humans to introduce tomatoes to the Mediterranean region.
GOBii releases open-source tools for faster plant breeding
The collaboration works with breeding centers around the world to develop tools to make the process of adding a trait into an existing, high-yield crop variety more efficient.
VirusDetect: a new pipeline for virus identification
The Fei lab releases VirusDetect, an automated bioinformatics pipeline that efficiently detects viruses and viroids from large-scale, small RNA datasets.
Citrus-growing regions face different pressures
Citrus growers are uniting to save their groves from citrus greening disease and to fund research into solutions, but growers in California face different challenges than those in Florida, report BTI and USDA researchers.
‘New Visions’ of food security from Cassandra Proctor
“Food security is a mixture of all the different aspects of agriculture. It’s not just growing the food,” said Proctor. “It’s not just planting something in the ground – there is a lot more to it.”
2016 BTI Science Symposium: The Future of Plants in a Changing Environment
The recent Symposium explored plant science topics including molecular biology, atmospheric sciences, plant breeding and soil and crop sciences.
Citrus Greening Pathogen Has Gut-Wrenching Effect on Insect Vector
A new paper from the Cilia lab reports that the Asian citrus psyllid mounts an immune response against the bacterium that causes citrus greening disease – a discovery that may be useful for developing a treatment against the devastating epidemic.