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Tomato genomics

first_imgResearchers in the University of Georgia Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory recently helped finish the decade-long process of sequencing the tomato genome. The genome mapping effort involved more than 300 researchers working at universities and research institutes in more than a dozen countries. A team from UGA worked under the guidance of Andrew Paterson, a Regents Professor of plant breeding and genetics. They spent the past two years looking into the evolutionary history of the tomato’s genome—trying to find the place where the tomato split from its flowering plant forbearers. Dubbed the Tomato Genome Consortium, the researchers involved in the project published their findings in the May 31 edition of Nature. “This project combined fundamental insight into flowering plant evolution, in particular the first case known of a lineage that experienced consecutive genome triplications, with application-oriented work such as the discovery of many genes likely to contribute to breeding better tomatoes,” Paterson said. Graduate students Jingping Li, Hui Guo, Yupeng Wang, Dong Zhang, former graduate student Haibao Tang, postdoctoral researcher Tae-ho Lee and assistant research scientist Xiyin Wang discovered numerous insights into tomato evolution, in particular that the entire set of genes within the tomato’s ancestors had been repeated three times. Paterson’s team, who represent both the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, has played a pioneering role in a period of discovery of duplications and triplications of gene sets in the genomes of many of the world’s leading crops and botanical models. Repetition of the gene set has been important in the worldwide spread of flowering plants and in the evolution of crops—providing “spare” genes that can evolve new traits while the plant also retains the traits prescribed by its original set of genes. The tomato and its relatives, which include the potato, have gone through this process not once but twice, Paterson’s team found. It’s the first known case of two consecutive triplications of an original set of genes. Identifying the changed genes in each of these triplicated gene sets will help researchers pinpoint which genes control the characteristics that make a tomato a tomato—things like fruit size, flavor and texture. Paterson, who was recently recognized for his work sequencing sorghum and cotton, had studied tomatoes during his post-doctoral work. His team joined the Tomato Genome Consortium in 2009. Researchers on the tomato genome project focused on fully understanding the sequence of one tomato variety, Heinz 1706. This sequence can now be used to more fully decipher the genetic makeup of other tomato varieties and eventually be used to breed better tomatoes. As a part of the effort, researchers compared the Heinz 1706 genome to the genome of one of the tomato’s wild ancestors as well as to the potato genome. They found only a 0.6 percent divergence between the genetic information contained in the wild and modern tomato varieties, but found about an 8 percent divergence between the potato and tomato, according to the article published in Nature. Those points where the genetic information diverges, Paterson said, are clues to changes that may explain why one plant makes potatoes and another tomatoes. For more information on the study, see http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v485/n7400/full/nature11119.html.last_img read more

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Emergency licenses for healthcare providers and veterinarians during state of emergency

first_imgSecretary of State Jim Condos announces that since the Governor has declared a state of emergency, temporary emergency licenses for out-of-state health care providers and veterinarians are available.Use of Vermont providers should be our highest priority before reaching out to other states.Secretary Condos said this provision was enacted so Vermont would be better prepared to respond in the event of a disaster. It expedites the licensing process for the emergency assistance needed in the wake of a disaster like that caused by tropical storm Irene.  Under normal conditions, the licensing process takes longer. ‘In an emergency situation like this,’ said Condos, ‘we need to act quickly to get the help on the ground where it is needed most.  Volunteer health care professionals from neighboring states and even from all over the country are coming to Vermont to lend a hand.  Under the circumstances, we’ll get them a temporary license the same day they apply and get them to work.’ Chris Winters, the Director of the Office of Professional Regulation, added: ‘Our mission is to protect the public and make sure that licensed health care providers are competent and safe practitioners.  When the state is in emergency response mode, this law allows us to be more flexible when time is of the essence.’ 3 V.S.A. § 129(a)(10) allows the Office of Professional Regulation to issue temporary licenses to health care providers and veterinarians during a declared state of emergency. The health care provider or veterinarian must be currently licensed, in good standing and not subject to disciplinary proceedings in any other jurisdiction. The temporary license authorizes the holder to practice in Vermont until the termination of the declared state of emergency or 90 days, whichever occurs first.  All licensing fees are waived. The Secretary of State’s Office of Professional regulation protects the public through licensing and regulation of 45 professions and nearly 55,000 licenses.last_img read more

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Weekend Pick: Polar Plunge

first_imgThe Polar Plunge Winter Festival is this weekend, February 7th-8th, in Virginia Beach. This event is the largest fundraiser for the Special Olympics where participants, athletes, and teams take the plunge into the icy Atlantic Ocean during the height of winter.  Since its inception 21 years ago in 1993, more than 36,000 plungers have raised more than $8.5 million for Special Olympics Virginia. Last year, more than 3,300 plungers braved the icy water, raising more than $1.2 million.There are more than enough events and activities going on throughout the weekend. One is the 5K which is on Saturday, February 8th, at 8:30am. Participants should meet on the boardwalk for an invigorating (read: freezing) 3.2 mile run. The entry fee is $40 and comes with a t-shirt and other goodies for the weekend. There will be day-of registration.A few other events include Friday’s Pre-Plunge Party, the Pee Wee Plunge, a volleyball tournament, and of course, THE actual plunge at 2:30 on Saturday. As you can see, the weekend is jam packed with fun, frigid events for all ages and abilities. Check the schedule so you don’t miss out!If you’re not interested in plunging but want to help, there are many opportunities to volunteer. Be sure to fill out this form to find the right job for you.last_img read more

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South Huntington Teacher Charged With Child Porn Possession

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Francesco SantodonatoA 39-year-old substitute gym teacher in the South Huntington School District has been accused of having child pornography on his computer at his West Babylon home.Suffolk County police arrested Francesco Santodonato on charges of possession of a sexual performance of a child and promoting a sexual performance by a child.Computer Crimes Section detectives confiscated his computer and for a forensic examination that revealed pornographic pictures and videos of children.Police noted that they found no evidence of physical contact between Santodonato and students, but they are asking parents speak with their children about possible inappropriate contact with him.Santodonato will be arraigned Friday at First District Court in Central Islip.last_img read more

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The rise of credit unions in auto finance

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr As credit unions consolidate, their membership bases are growing. In 2017, the number of members per credit union grew to nearly 20,000, up from 13,700 in 2012.At the same time, credit unions increased total balances by 10% year-over-year, reaching $972 billion – or 7.7% market share – in 2017. As they grew, credit unions captured more market share in auto – at the expense of banks. Between 2013 and 2018, credit unions’ market share rose 8%, while banks declined at the same rate.To understand how credit unions surpassed banks in auto finance, we analyzed our consumer credit database and found credit unions adopted four strategies. continue reading »last_img read more

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Los Angeles coroner announces independent inquiry into police killing of Andrés Guardado

first_imgA decision to criminally charge Vega and possibly Hernandez will be in the hands of new district attorney George Gascón, who has met with relatives of people killed by police and “promised to reopen a number of controversial shooting cases involving law enforcement officers that [outgoing district attorney Jackie] Lacey declined to prosecute,” LA Times continued.Guardado’s family in June filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county, the sheriff’s department, Vega, and Hernandez, alleging they “not only used unreasonable and excessive force in fatally shooting the young man but were possibly acting in connection and in agreement with members of one or more LASD gangs of which they may be affiliated,” a release said. ”The complaint, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of Elisa and Cristobal Guardado, seeks to hold the defendants accountable for violating various civil rights as well as the California Bane Act that resulted in the execution of 18-year-old decedent, Andres Guardado.” The statement from the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said the inquest gives officials power to “subpoena relevant witnesses to testify and documents to present at the inquest,” after which retired Justice Candace Cooper “will make findings related to the cause and manner of death.” Cooper “will then forward her decision and recommendation to the Medical Examiner-Coroner,” the coroner’s office continued.News of the inquest is welcome news for Guardado’s family and advocates, who have slammed the secrecy and lack of transparency from the sheriff’s department following his killing in June. In just one instance, Sheriff Alex Villanueva placed a hold on Guardado’s case, which blocked his autopsy report from release. But in another “unusual move” from the coroner’s office, CNN reported, “Dr. Lucas opted to remove the security hold and make Guardado’s autopsy results public in July.”- Advertisement – Both the independent autopsy performed at the request of Guardado’s family and the coroner’s office autopsy found that the 18-year-old was shot five times in the back by the sheriff’s department. “These findings confirm what we have known all along,” his family said according to LAist, “which is that Andrés was unjustifiably killed by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy.”That officer, Miguel Vega, has faced previous accusations of misconduct, including “making false statements in an investigation,” the Los Angeles Times previously reported. Further damning information against the sheriff’s department is court testimony from a sheriff’s deputy identifying Vega and Chris Hernandez, the deputy with him when he shot and killed Guardado, as potential recruits for a racist and violent law enforcement gang. When it comes to Villanueva, his “handling of the shooting and attempts to block information from being made public are among a laundry list of criticisms he has faced in recent months,” the Los Angeles Times reports, “leading the county Board of Supervisors to narrowly approve a motion Tuesday to explore options that could lead to his removal from office.”- Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement –last_img read more

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Civil groups work to help low-income citizens weather COVID-19 hardship

first_imgDoris Sianturi, 40, a street vendor from North Jakarta’s district of Pademangan, has stayed home for the last five days. The place where he usually works, the Ancol Dreamland amusement park, has been shut down by the Jakarta administration for two weeks to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).Most of Doris’ working life has been spent in the amusement park complex, selling toys and accessories, he said.The father of two is now struggling to find a place to sell his wares. “What can we do? It’s a disaster. Even if I choose to sell, where? Other places are just the same [closed],” he said, adding that it was rare for a man his age to find a new job. Luckily, Doris is a member of the Ancol Vendors Cooperative, and the cooperative itself is a member of the larger Urban Poor Linkage (JRMK) network and the Urban Poor Consortium (UPC).Security guards patrol Ancol Dreamland on Saturday following Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan’s order to close the amusement park to help contain the COVID-19 outbreak. (Antara/Aditya Pradana Putra)Gugun Muhammad, a community organizer for the UPC, said the organization was preparing a proposal for the regional administration on the distribution of affordable food to communities whose incomes have been impacted by the social distancing policy.“We hope that affordable staple foods can be distributed to the residents that do not have a KJP [Jakarta Smart Card]. Our goal is to help low-income residents get adequate supplies during periods like this,” he told the Post.The UPC, with help from its partners in other cities, distributes free herbal drinks and hand sanitizer for the people within their network.The Indonesia Disaster Awareness Movement (Graisena), an NGO based in Cirebon, West Java, provides aid for families whose breadwinners have experienced an interruption to their livelihoods as a result of coronavirus treatment or isolation.  The organization is ready to pay the families’ expenses for basic needs until the end of the pandemic.  Graisena chairman Agung Firmansyah explained that each of the families would receive Rp 20,000 (US$1.30) per day for each family member for a period of 14 days – the length of the quarantine – with a maximum allowance for 45 days of isolation.  “This initiative came as we feel concerned about the breadwinners who have tested positive for or are suspected of having COVID-19. If they are isolated, who will guarantee the daily needs of their families during their absence?” he said, adding that the funds came from the merchandise sales of Graisena’s community partners and other donations.In another part of Jakarta, the House of Humanitarian Solidarity of Jakarta, an NGO led by former Jesuit priest and activist Sandyawan Sumardi is providing help as well.  Starting on March 23, the organization will provide free, healthy food and masks to underprivileged communities in Jakarta.The food comes from donations from more affluent people, Sandyawan said. The organization will distribute the food in about five underprivileged areas to limit crowds at their headquarters in East Jakarta.Sandyawan acknowledged that the organization was having difficulty finding masks. For the time being, it was making its own masks. “We hope that there will be one or two companies that will make donations,” he said.Meanwhile, the Congress Alliance of Indonesian Labor Unions (KASBI) is teaching its members to maintain their health and stay vigilant during the coronavirus pandemic. “We are monitoring [our members] to ensure they do not experience termination of employment [PHK] and to ensure their rights are fulfilled,” said KASBI chairman Nining Elitos.  The Federation of Factory Workers has also urged the government to think about those who have to keep working in factories and sit close to each other despite the President’s social distancing suggestion. The federation asked the government to promise that workers would not lose their income if they had to stay home because of COVID-19.The Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (SBMI) is now focusing on Indonesian workers in three places abroad, namely Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. The SBMI has delivered masks to help protect migrant workers from the virus.“We have cooperated with local governments in Indonesia to send about 100,000 masks to our migrant workers overseas,” said SBMI chairman Hariyanto.The organization is developing pilot projects to educate returning workers about financial management at the village level.Calls for the government to impose a lockdown are mounting amid a spike in cases. A 2018 law requires the central government to provide for people’s basic needs if a lockdown is imposed.Low-income households would be the worst-hit by a lockdown given that most have not been able to put money aside for emergencies, Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF) researcher Eko Listiyanto said.The government must disburse direct and indirect assistance to informal workers by making use of existing data from the government-funded Family Hope Program (PKH), he said.Doris has some emergency savings but only enough for a maximum of two weeks. “If [the shutdown] is more than two weeks, I must find other ways to fulfill my family’s needs,” he said.Topics : On Friday, the provincial administration closed tourist sites in Jakarta, including the National Monument (Monas) and the Ragunan Zoo. It also suspended the city’s weekly car-free day for two weeks. The administration has urged people to limit movement and to avoid crowds – to use “social distancing” to contain the spread of the virus.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on the public to practice social distancing and work from home. As a result, the streets of Jakarta have become unusually empty, affecting the income of street vendors.As of Wednesday, the central government had confirmed 227 cases of the COVID-19 and 19 deaths nationwide, including 12 in Jakarta. The number continues to rise rapidly. As of Thursday morning, the Jakarta administration alone had reported 17 deaths and 208 cases.Doris is a lower-income Jakartan whose livelihood has been affected by the outbreak, but he has yet to get any aid from the government. Informal street vendors, factory workers and the urban poor community are particularly vulnerable to the direct and indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.last_img read more

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Governor Wolf Announces Resource Guide to Help Evacuees from Puerto Rico and Other Devastated Areas

first_img December 18, 2017 Education,  Human Services,  National Issues,  Press Release,  Weather Safety Harrisburg, PA – With thousands of people fleeing the aftermath of natural disasters earlier this year in the southeastern U.S. and Puerto Rico, Governor Tom Wolf today announced the release of a new resource guide from the departments of Education, Health and Human Services to help school districts and communities welcome and assist those who have been displaced.“After hurricanes devastated portions of the southeastern U.S. and Puerto Rico, communities across Pennsylvania have been opening their arms to help those who have lost everything,” said Governor Wolf. “That spirit of compassion is part of the fabric of our commonwealth and this new resource guide gives schools and local organizations the information they need to help the evacuees to get back on their feet.”Nearly three months after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, electricity is still out in some areas and thousands of businesses are closed, forcing tens of thousands of people to leave the U.S. territory, including thousands of students sheltering in Pennsylvania.“Many of the people fleeing Puerto Rico and other devastated areas are children who have lost everything,” said Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera. “Those children need and deserve a good education and schools across the state are up to the challenge. This guide provides a one-stop-shop of information about resources to help those school districts as well as the students and their families.”The Department of Education created the School Resource Guide for Disaster Evacuees in collaboration with the departments of Human Services and Health. The guide provides information for students from pre-kindergarten to postsecondary education on a wide range of topics from the Homeless Education Assistance and Pre-K Counts programs to nutrient, health care and the state university system.“This guide is a perfect example of the Wolf administration coming together to help individuals in need – a true testament to a government that works,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “As more displaced individuals enter the commonwealth, we must ensure that they have access to high-quality services and supports during this stressful transition.”“Pennsylvania stands ready to help families of evacuees,” Acting Health Secretary and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine said, “Pennsylvania has resources through our Women, Infants and Children (WIC) programs, as well as through our State Health Centers to make sure evacuees stay healthy.”The School Resource Guide for Disaster Evacuees is available online and has distributed to local education agencies across the commonwealth. The guide is available in both English and Spanish, and includes pamphlets that may be distributed to students and their parents.A second toolkit, which will include information from additional state agencies and will support Pennsylvanians outside of the school system, is forthcoming. That toolkit will include information on enrolling children in school, finding disaster assistance, feeding programs, or health information, as well as other community and state supports. Governor Wolf Announces Resource Guide to Help Evacuees from Puerto Rico and Other Devastated Areascenter_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

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Wolf Administration Continues Implementation of Methane Reduction Strategy by Releasing New Natural Gas Permits to Reduce Air Pollution

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Energy,  Environment,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell today announced the issuance of new general permits for unconventional natural gas wells and compression, processing, and transmission facilities that will reduce air pollution and establish a control threshold on methane emissions.“These permits represent the first step of my Methane Reduction Strategy and my administration’s continuing commitment to cleaner, healthier air across the commonwealth,” said Governor Wolf. “Cleaner air means healthier communities – for our citizens, and especially for our children. These new permits are one example of a way that we can have positive economic development without compromising public health. These permits are a win-win, helping industry control methane emissions that cost them money, while also helping defend our children and keep our communities healthier through cleaner air.  We’ve arrived at these permits through a comprehensive process that included feedback and input from both industry and the environmental community, and I am proud of the finished product that we are unveiling today.”Methane, the primary component of natural gas, has been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the second-most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the United States from human activities.“Pennsylvania is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the nation behind Texas,” said Governor Wolf. “We are uniquely positioned to be a national leader in addressing climate change while supporting and ensuring responsible energy development, while protecting public health and our environment.“These permits incorporate the most current state and federal regulations for controlling air pollution,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “The permits for new unconventional natural gas wells and new compression, processing and transmission stations along pipelines are some of the first in the nation to comprehensively address methane emissions from all equipment and processes, and they also address other types of air pollution that contribute to poor air quality.”The newly revised general permits, GP-5 and GP-5A, will be required for new compression, processing and transmission stations along pipelines, and new natural gas wells, respectively.In addition to the methane controls, the permits also set thresholds on other types of air pollution, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Operators will be required to meet federal new source standards and state Best Available Technology (BAT) included in the permit conditions for equipment and processes to control pollution emissions.“Reducing air pollution from gas wells and compression, processing and transmission facilities is key to responsibly developing Pennsylvania’s natural gas resources,” said McDonnell. “Everything we can do to reduce air pollution will improve public health.”DEP held multiple comment periods on the permits, which attracted more than 9,000 comments in total. The permits will go into effect on August 8, 2018.More information about the new permits can be found at http://www.dep.pa.gov/Business/Air/Pages/Methane-Reduction-Strategy.aspx June 07, 2018center_img Wolf Administration Continues Implementation of Methane Reduction Strategy by Releasing New Natural Gas Permits to Reduce Air Pollutionlast_img read more

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Undersupply of apartments draws Perth developer to the Redlands

first_imgAn aerial shot showing the location of Edgewater Apartments at Redland BayA new waterfront apartment complex will be built overlooking Moreton Bay and Stradbroke Island, with five of the 28 residences already sold off-the-plan. Construction of the five-storey Edgewater Apartments at Redland Bay is expected to start in January, with the two and three bedroom apartments tipped to “set a new benchmark” in luxury waterfront living in the Redlands. A render showing Edgewater Apartments, which will be built at Redland Bay.Perth-based developer Sunfire Assets chose the site due to the area’s population growth, demographics and lack of smaller dwellings such as units and townhouses. Sunfire director Ralph Nunis said he was drawn to the area due to its proximity to the water’s edge.“Coming from the west, you just can’t get land that close to the water,” he said. “I remember standing on the balcony of one of the nearby houses and thinking, it’s like being on a holiday.”Five apartments – ranging in price from $550,000 to $750,000 – have already sold, with remaining apartments priced between $490,000 and $790,000.Each apartment has been designed by Brisbane-based firm, ThinkTank Architects, and will be built by local building firm, Contrast Constructions. Ray White Redland Bay agent Shaun Lennon, who is marketing the apartments on behalf of the developer, said he was currently in negotiations with three other potential buyers. “The vast majority of interest has come from locals living within a 5km radius of the development,” he said. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus23 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market23 hours ago“They are looking for a lower maintenance property with a lifestyle by the water.”One purchaser bought an apartment for her mother. A render showing the ensuite in one of the Edgewater Apartments, which will be built at Redland Bay.Edgewater Apartments will be located just 40 minutes from the Brisbane CBD, and is a short stroll to the local shopping centre, cafes, restaurants and the Redland Bay Golf Course.Construction is expected to be completed by January 2019.Mr Nunis said his company was now looking at further development opportunities in the Redlands area.CoreLogic property data shows 82 units sold in Redland Bay in the 12 months to August, with townhouses, villas, units and apartments making up just 1.9 per cent of all dwellings in the area.The population of Redland Bay grew almost 10 per cent between the 2011 and 2016 Census, with the median unit price rising just 0.9 per cent over the same period. Mr Lennon expects that to change, predicting the area is coming of age. A render showing the main bedroom in one of the Edgewater Apartments, which will be built at Redland Bay.Of the 28 apartments, 26 have water views. Each one boasts an open plan living space extending out on to a large balcony. A render showing the kitchen and dining area inside one of the Edgewater Apartments, which will be built at Redland Bay.Quality finishes and designer appliances have been included, with each apartment coming with a single or double car park. last_img read more

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