How do organisms respond to changing environments?
The emerging field of ancient genetics is a “time machine” for exploring genetic patterns through history. So far, we’ve found fascinating clues to human evolution. Now plant and animal studies are offering similar opportunities.
This online talk with Binghamton University’s Dr. Lua Lopez will explore how ancient genetics helps us understand wild plant and animal populations.
Why the woolly mammoth went extinct
What an ancient cat skeleton in Cyprus revealed
How one tiny plant is responding to climate change
Understanding whether plants and animals can adapt to rapid environmental change is essential to preserving our natural environment.
This online conversation with Science Pub BING was recorded on
May 12 at 7pm
Join WSKG for an online screening April 9th at 7 pm
Scientific genetics, little more than a century old, holds at once the promise of eradicating disease and the threat of altering the very essence of what it means to be human. “The Gene: An Intimate History” traces the dizzying evolution of this new science as researchers race to identify treatments for genetic diseases, such as cancer and sickle cell anemia, and to perfect tools for rewriting DNA. Guest Speakers:
Dr. Maria Garcia-Garcia
Cornell University Associate Professor Molecular Biology and Genetics
Dr. Cedric Feschotte
Cornell University Professor Molecular Biology & Genetics
“The Gene: An Intimate History” brings vividly to life the story of today’s revolution in medical science through present-day tales of patients and doctors at the forefront of the search for genetic treatments, interwoven with a compelling history of the discoveries that made this possible and the ethical challenges raised by the ability to edit DNA with precision.
The series uses science, social history and personal stories to weave together a historical biography of the human genome while also exploring the stunning breakthroughs in understanding the impact genes play on heredity, disease and behavior. From the story of the remarkable achievements of the earliest gene hunters and the bitterly fought race to read the entire human genome, to the unparalleled ethical challenges of gene editing, the documentary is a journey through key genetics discoveries that are some of the greatest achievements in the history of science.
What does a maize geneticist do? Explore the growing season of maize, and how scientists study the plant’s genetic diversity and connect it to the phenotypes they observe. Maize needs lots of sun and warm weather to grow. Seeds are usually planted in spring, in marked rows to identify each plant by its pedigree and genotype. In the mid-summer, when the plants are ready, scientists begin crossing the varieties of maize.
There is a tremendous amount of genetic diversity in maize. Much of the maize you have seen may look the same, but across the world there are tens of thousands of varieties of maize that are different colors, sizes, have different growing times, nutritional content, etc. Scientists at Cornell University are studying the diversity of maize, trying to connect two things: phenotype and genotype. A phenotype is any physical attribute that can be measured (also known as a “trait”). It can be something you can see like how tall the plant is, what color the kernels are, or when the plant flowers.
Maize—or “corn”—has a history dating back to the beginning of agriculture, and today is used for everything from livestock feed and human consumption, to the production of starch, sweeteners, corn oil, beverage and industrial alcohol, fuel ethanol, and plastics. Maize is grown on every continent save Antarctica, and is the most widely grown grain in the world. Maize is also one of the most genetically diverse crops, allowing for selection from an incredible array of grain qualities and environmental adaptations. Maize is an excellent example of domestication—evolution in action—and researchers compare current varieties of maize with its wild ancestor, teosinte, to illustrate this principle. Maize was first domesticated from teosinte approximately 9,000-10,000 years ago.