What's the buzz?

What's the buzz?


Scientists are making certain plants resistant to the ‘Grapevine fanleaf virus’ GFLV by genetic engineering.

Extremely hot or rainy periods can destroy entire crops, not to mention the wide variety of pests that can appear on the scene.

Bugs such as the vine louse or the rust mite, fungi such as mildew, or viruses such as the GFLV can give the vines a hard time.

The GFLV infects the grapevine and causes fanleaf disease, resulting in deformed and very yellowed leaves, smaller grapes and crop loss.

Now, with the help of genetic engineering, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME in Aachen in Germany, are making certain plants resistant to GFLV.
“Our modified plants produce antibodies,” explained Dr Stefan Schillberg, head of department at the IME. “These antibodies ‘recognise’ the viruses and prevent them from spreading in the plant and causing damage,” she added.

High-energy gamma rays come from giant black hole
Using a worldwide combination of diverse telescopes, astronomers have discovered that a giant galaxy’s bursts of very high energy gamma rays are coming from a region very close to the supermassive black hole at its core.

The discovery provides important new information about the mysterious workings of the powerful ‘engines’ in the centres of innumerable galaxies throughout the Universe.
The galaxy M87, 50 million light-years from Earth, harbours at its centre a black hole more than six billion times more massive than the Sun.

Black holes are concentrations of matter so dense that not even light can escape their gravitational pull.

The black hole is believed to draw material from its surroundings — material that, as it falls toward the black hole, forms a tightly-rotating disk.

Autistic kids should be taught in smaller groups
A new study suggests that children with autism need to be taught in smaller groups.
“Sensory integration dysfunction has long been speculated to be a core component of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) but there has been precious little hard empirical evidence to support this notion,” said Dr John J Foxe, Professor of Neuroscience at CCNY.

“Viewing a speaker’s articulatory movements can greatly improve a listener’s ability to understand spoken words, and this is especially the case under noisy environmental conditions,” he added.

Foxe said that children with autism may become distressed in large classroom settings simply because they are unable to understand basic speech, if the environment is sufficiently noisy. Multisensory speech system develops relatively slowly across the childhood years, and that considerable tuning of this system continues to occur even into early adolescence.

Brain malformations linked to preterm birth
Brain malformations are significantly associated with preterm birth, according to new research. This is the first time that any team of researchers have found solid evidence of a strong association between congenital brain defects and preterm birth.

The researchers, at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, thus, believe that something about the brain malformations may be causing preterm birth, and could provide a possible study path toward a better understanding of the problem.
It is the first study to investigate the risk of being born preterm for infants who have a variety of congenital brain defects.

The study, was based on a study of bleeds in the brains of babies, where researchers found that a large percentage of the babies being studied had small, unrecognised types of brain malformations that warranted further investigation.

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