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maize usda photo

All the diversity of maize across the planet emanates from Mexico, where the crop was first domesticated thousands of years ago. Since then, farmers have bred and adapted maize to local environments, leading to tens of thousands of varieties. (USDA photo)

Maize study finds genes that help crops adapt to change -  [Cornell Chronicle 2017-02-14] - A new study, published Feb. 6 in Nature Genetics, analyzed close to 4,500 maize varieties – called landraces – bred and grown by farmers from 35 countries in the Americas to identify more than 1,000 genes driving large-scale adaptation to the environment. “With global climate change over the next century, we can directly use this information to figure out what genes are important” to greatly speed up breeding efforts of maize,  said senior author Edward Buckler, a research geneticist at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service and adjunct professor of plant breeding and genetics at the Institute for Genomic Diversity at Cornell. “We’re tapping the wisdom of farmers over the last 10,000 years to make the next century’s corn.”

Renewable fuels alone can’t stop climate change  [Cornell Chronicle 2017-02-07] - In discussions about climate change, many people seem to think the only real problem is replacing fossil fuels, and once that’s done nothing much really needs to change. “That’s not only false, it’s a really dangerous way of thinking,” said Karen Pinkus, professor of Romance studies and comparative literature in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her new book, “Fuel: A Speculative Dictionary,” works to undo the assumption that all we have to do is scale up renewable fuels on the free market “and then everything will be rainbows and unicorns,” she said.

Pope’s picture spurs Republicans to shift climate views  [Cornell Chronicle 2017-01-24] - After Pope Francis framed climate change as a moral issue in his second encyclical, conservative Republicans shifted and began to see that environmental dilemma in the same way, according to a new study led by Cornell communication researchers.

Microbiome experts to speak at World Economic Forum [Cornell Chronicle 2017-01-17] - Daniel Buckley and Angela Douglas of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Ilana Brito of the College of Engineering will share their research at an IdeasLab session on Jan. 18 focused on microbiome science, joining their three areas of expertise to form a fuller picture of the way microbes affect human lives. Learning how microbes interact with plants, or affect water and air, will be key to dealing with a changing climate, Buckley said.

Weather trends spur new ways to farm [Glens Falls Post Star 2017-01-12] - Call it climate change or not, the fact is the local weather has changed, said Laura McDermott, regional agriculture specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension. “If they can predict the changes, whatever the cause, there’s lots of things they can do,” she said in lead up to SUNY Adirondack program where Michael Hoffman, executive director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions, will speak. The free event is 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at SUNY Adirondack.



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