News

Transforming Breeding through Integrated Data Management and Analysis

Together with the BCBC, GOBii, Cassavabase, and Cornell University, BTI recently hosted a fall workshop titled “Transforming Breeding through Integrated Data Management and Analysis”.  Attendees from around the globe gathered in Ithaca for a week-long intensive course featuring keynote speakers, workshops, and training sessions. The workshop featured daily plenary keynote lectures by world renowned experts, hands-on training on the state-of-the-art systems and tools, and customer-driven consulting on strategy and applications. Broad range topics, including data management systems; tracking breeding activities and materials from fields, labs, to data management and analysis; genotyping technologies, vendors, bioinformatics...

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Back to our roots: Insights from genomes of a plant-associated fungus and its bacterial endosymbionts

In 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 versiforme) and its endosymbionts – beneficial bacteria that live inside its cells. D. epigaea is a species of mycorrhizal fungi, which form symbiotic relationships with nearly all land plants. Mycorrhizal fungi are critical for plant health, particularly in nutrient-poor soils. These new genomes help researchers understand the evolution of mycorrhizal fungi and their bacterial endosymbionts. D. epigaea is at the center of a series of symbiotic relationships. As part of a subset...

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CRISPR tames the wild groundcherry

ITHACA, 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 as a cherry tomato, but with a much sweeter flavor. The tropical-tasting fruit is also a powerhouse in terms of nutritional value. Packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin B, beta-carotene, phytosterols, and antioxidants, plus anti-inflammatory and medicinal properties, this tiny fruit might just be the next superfood. “We feel there is potential for these to become a specialty fruit crop and to be grown on a larger scale in the US,” said Joyce Van Eck, associate professor at BTI....

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Blood, sweat and tears: All in a day’s work fighting citrus greening disease

Around 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 a sesame seed. Despite their innocuous appearance, these psyllids can carry the bacteria that causes citrus greening disease, an epidemic that’s devastating the American citrus industry and citrus production world-wide. However, new insight from Kruse and Ramsey’s efforts may bring us one step closer to a solution. Citrus greening is a fatal, incurable disease of orange, lemon, and other citrus species, caused by the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas)....

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2018 PGRP Symposium marks finale of intern researchers’ summer

The Boyce Thompson Institute’s (BTI’s) 2018 class of summer interns wrapped up their summer by presenting research talks and posters at the annual Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP) Student Symposium. Now in its 17th year, BTI’s annual PGRP symposium provides a means for undergraduates and high school students to present their findings in a professional, engaging setting. This year’s symposium was live-streamed by the Institute, allowing supporters to engage with interns from afar. PGRP Acknowledgements BTI would like to recognize all faculty, sponsors, principle investigators, mentors, and  lab members for their dedication to the PGRP program and this year’s intern class. The undergraduate internship program is supported by the...

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Plant scientists call for renewed focus on empowerment of trainees

Changes in the workforce are challenging academia to prepare scientists to be adaptable and adept at communicating across boundaries. To meet these demands, the Plant Science Research Network (PSRN) is shifting the focus to enable trainees to take ownership of their training experiences. “Since President Lincoln established the Land Grant Institutions to train generations of plant scientists, we have done exactly that using essentially a single model,”said Alan Jones, American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) President 2013 – 2014. “However, in the last 40 years, plant science interpreted in its broadest terms has greatly matured and recent generations of singularly-trained students have struggled to adapt to the...

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NSF awards BTI $1M to study plant-bacteria symbiosis

Professor 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 synthetic fertilizer. “Hornwort is a remarkable plant, and only a few remarkable plants can form symbiotic relationships with nitrogen-fixing bacteria,” said Li, adjunct assistant professor of plant biology at Cornell and principal investigator. Read the full article from the Cornell Chronicle...

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Boyce Thompson Institute leadership provides scholarships to students pursuing degrees in STEM  

The Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) is honored to announce the awarding of four, $1,000 scholarships to first-generation college students from Groton, Ithaca, Lansing and Newfield. One student from each school was chosen based on their intention to study a STEM-related field at a two or four-year school. Priority has been given to first-generation college students, or those facing other barriers to success. These scholarships were personally sponsored by members of the BTI senior leadership team, as part of an incentive program to encourage workplace participation in the BTI’s annual fundraising campaign. “Fundraising is a fairly new idea at BTI,” says VP for Institutional Advancement, Stephanie Meyer, “By encouraging staff and researchers...

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Student Research in Full Bloom: BTI’s 2018 PGRP Interns

Boyce Thompson Institute's (BTI’s) 2018 Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP) interns have arrived in Ithaca for their summer of biology and bioinformatics research! This June, more than thirty of the country’s brightest students arrived at BTI from all over the United States to experience the life of a researcher.

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2017 Annual Report now available

2017 has been a tremendous year at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI). This past year’s annual report serves as a reminder of how strong BTI core purposes have remained, while looking to the future of research and the opportunity it holds.

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