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UK scientists come together to help feed the 7 billion
Date:10/27/2011

remely slow and difficult. No BXW-resistant germplasm has been identified either, so resistance to BXW must be achieved by genetic enhancement of banana's defences. The researchers hope their work with collaborators in the region to understand how this new and devastating pathogen arose will lead to its control or eradication. They expect to learn lessons that will apply to other newly emerging diseases.

Research led by Dr David Studholme and Professor Murray Grant of the University of Exeter and funded by the National Agricultural Research Organisation of Uganda, is addressing two important questions about BXW. Firstly, they are using high throughput DNA sequencing of Xcm strains isolated from different locations to reconstruct the evolution and spread of BXW during its passage from Ethiopian enset to banana-growing regions. Secondly, the Xcm bacterium that causes BXW appears to have recently 'jumped' from sugarcane, maize or sorghum and only recently developed the ability to colonise banana. The team is using genome sequence data from Xcm and related strains from these other crops to reveal the genetic basis of these 'host-jumps'. This data can also be used to develop and validate diagnostics and detect newly emerging virulent lineages.

Putting a stop to pain and distress in farm animals

Scientists from the University of Bristol are working with farmers to address some of the chronic animal welfare problems that are significantly affecting production on UK farms.

Lameness causes suffering in up to a third of UK dairy cattle at any one time and leads to a loss of animals through early culling, inefficient milk production, and frustration and stress for dairy farmers. Feather pecking in laying hens also causes pain, is found in almost all flocks and costs the industry over 12 million per year in mortality and lost production alone.

The University of Bristol Veterinary School has worked with the Tubney Charitable T
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Contact: Sarah Hoyle
s.hoyle@exeter.ac.uk
44-013-927-22062
University of Exeter
Source:Eurekalert

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