Around the turn of the 20th century, though, the curation fad was literal: people roamed fields and forests to collect plant specimens and preserve them in plant libraries called herbaria. Now those old specimens are helping scientists reconstruct how trees have responded to shifts in the climate.
This month, a team of scientists announced that they had identified and combined key genetic mutations to significantly increase fruit production in tomato plants. These new mutations arose from a breeding technique called induced mutation, where seeds are sprayed with DNA-altering chemicals. It's a research endeavor so risky that some describe it as "spray and pray"--but this time, it appears to have paid off.
Winds of change are coming, and they’re bringing poised to upend entire ecosystems. Over the last 30 years, average surface wind speeds over areas in Europe, Central Asia, Eastern Asia and North America have slowed by about 10 percent. The potential effects of “global stilling” could affect land, air and aquatic systems worldwide.
Mussels, pounded by the oceans’ waves, fasten themselves to rocks as a matter of survival. Bacteria cast protein nets to hold onto surfaces for dear life. Now MIT researchers have combined the two in a clever new way, producing the best-ever underwater glue inspired by Mother Nature—and a potential replacement for today’s surgical stitches.