DNA tracking tool tips the scales for distinguishing invasive fish

ITHACA, N.Y. – Rather than conduct an aquatic roll call with nets to know which fish reside in a particular body of water, scientists can now use DNA fragments suspended in water to catalog invasive or native species. “We’ve sharpened the environmental DNA (eDNA) tool, so that if a river or a lake has threatened, […]

Healthy diet? That depends on your genes

ITHACA, N.Y. – A recently published Cornell University study describes how shifts in the diets of Europeans after the introduction of farming 10,000 years ago led to genetic adaptations that favored the dietary trends of the time. Before the Neolithic revolution that began around 10,000 years ago, European populations were hunter-gatherers that ate animal-based diets […]

Warbler genomes look to be 99.97 percent alike

For decades, conservationists have considered blue-winged warblers to be a threat to golden-winged warblers, a species being considered for federal Endangered Species protection. Blue-winged warbler populations have declined 66 percent since 1968, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. The two species are known to frequently interbreed where they co-occur, and scientists have been […]

Primate evolution in the fast lane: Mechanism discovered that creates ‘clusters of mutations’ that affect traits

The pace of evolution is typically measured in millions of years, as random, individual mutations accumulate over generations, but researchers at Cornell and Bar-Ilan Universities have uncovered a new mechanism for mutation in primates that is rapid, coordinated, and aggressive. The discovery raises questions about the accuracy of using the more typical mutation process as […]

Cornell launches new School of Integrative Plant Science with $35M investment

ITHACA, N.Y. – Plant and soil scientists at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have been sowing the seeds of sustainability, food security and improved human health for more than a century. A new initiative will help position the college for the future and create a new face for the plant and soil […]

Banking on bovine stem cells to preserve genetic diversity

ITHACA, N.Y. – Plant breeders hunting for genes to combat new diseases or adapt to changes in climate can plumb the vast diversity of crops and their wild relatives using envelopes of seed banked in cold storage, but cattle breeders are limited to herds here and now. A new $500,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant […]

Despite challenges, corn yields look promising

CORNELL UNIVERSITY MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE Sept. 26, 2013 Despite challenges, corn yields look promising Margaret Smith, professor of plant breeding and genetics at Cornell and leading corn researcher, has encouraging news regarding corn yields. Smith says: “As the corn crop in New York and throughout the country matures, estimates of this year’s grain yields are […]