Scientists have found an abrupt change about 6,000 years ago in how terrestrial plant and animal species coexisted, right about the time human populations were ballooning and agriculture was spreading around the world.
The simplicity of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing will soon make studying the genes of any organism, from the simplest slime mold to the octopus, as easy as it now is to study the genes controlling development in standard lab animals such as nematodes, fruit flies, frogs and mice.
$1.76 million over three years for a Conservation Genomics Network, led by UCLA and involving UC Berkeley’s Rasmus Nielsen as co-principal investigator and Michael Nachman, Steven Beissinger and Erica Rosenblum as co-investigators. The goal is to develop a revolutionary bioinformatics toolkit to understand changes in gene expression and how threatened populations respond to changes in their habitats and in the climate.
In 2012, UC Berkeley paleontologist Anthony Barnosky and 20 co-authors published a dire paper warning that Earth’s climate is approaching a tipping point that could irrevocably drive the planet into a scary and uncertain future.
Daniela Kaufer, PhD, is an associate professor at UC Berkeley who studies the biology of stress, examining at the molecular level how the brain responds to anxiety and traumatic events. Her most recent findings show that certain kinds of stress can have surprising benefits. Dr. Kaufer explains the difference between good stress and bad stress, and gives pointers for how to respond to stressful events in a healthy way.
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation named 18 of the nation’s most innovative early-career scientists and engineers as recipients of the 2015 Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering. Each Fellow will receive a grant of $875,000 over five years to pursue their research.
“The original focus on fish oil and omega-3s came from studies of Inuit. On their traditional diet, rich in fat from marine mammals, Inuit seemed quite healthy with a low incidence of cardiovascular disease, so fish oil must be protective,” said project leader Rasmus Nielsen, a UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology. “We’ve now found that they have unique genetic adaptations to this diet, so you cannot extrapolate from them to other populations.
The analysis, using the most comprehensive genetic data set from Native Americans to date, was conducted using three different statistical models, two of them created by UC Berkeley researchers. The first, developed by the lab of Yun Song, a UC Berkeley associate professor of statistics and of electrical engineering and computer sciences, takes into account the full DNA information available from the genomes in the study.