See complete article at: http://southeastfarmpress.com/cotton/gallery-can-you-tell-difference-between-good-and-bad-stink-bug?NL=SEFP-01&Issue=SEFP-01_20160530_SEFP-01_421&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_2_b&utm_rid=CPG02000002166509&utm_campaign=9900&utm_medium=email&elq2=d29cb2dad1e140a987caa3c246fbc6af#slide-0-field_images-107661

(Gallery) Can you tell the difference between a

Jul 14, 2015

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Research Associate, IPM Innovation Lab


Working Title: Research Associate, IPM Innovation Lab

Department: OIRED – International Education

Location: Blacksburg, VA + travel

Employee Category: Research Faculty


Position Summary:

The Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab (IPM IL) is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and conducts applied IPM research on selected crops. The IPM IL is managed by the Virginia Tech Office of International Research, Education, and Development (OIRED), which currently oversees a portfolio of approximately $46 million in international research and development projects.

A Research Associate is being sought to provide assistance and expertise to the IPM IL Management Entity (ME) in Entomology/Plant Pathology for development of various components of IPM packages for tropical vegetables and other crops in project countries. The position reports to the IPM Innovation Lab Director within OIRED at Virginia Tech.

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting in the preparation of proposals for associate awards and other Request for Applications (from the donor agency).
  • Reviewing and participating in research programs in the IP IL host countries.
  • Contributing to scholarly publications based on project research.
  • Preparing Pesticide Evaluation Reports and Safe Use Action Plans (PERSUAPs) for the IPM IL projects.
  • Planning and participating in field days, workshops, country and regional meetings and conferences related to plant protection.
  • Coordinating with Virginia Tech, U.S. and host-country participating scientists
  • Performing other project–related responsibilities as assigned including helping prepare work plans, semi-annual reports, success stories, newsletters and other IP IL related publications as well as doing background research on program technical issues.


Required Qualifications:

  • PhD in Plant Pathology, Entomology, or Plant Protection related fields.
  • Experience in Integrated Pest Management.
  • Proficiency in technical writing and preparing reports and documents in a professional manner.
  • Good organizational, skills and an ability to complete assignments according to a deadline.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of computer software such as Word, Excel, Access and other data management software.
  • Ability to interact professionally with individuals from diverse, multi-cultural environments.
  • Willingness to travel overseas.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • International experience in agricultural research and development
  • Foreign language skills


To apply: http://listings.jobs.vt.edu:80/postings/66394


Discovery of new stem cell pathway indicates route to much higher yields in maize, staple crops

Braking signals from the leaves tell stem cells to stop proliferating

Cold Spring Harbor, NY – Biologists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have made an important discovery that helps explain how plants regulate the proliferation of their stem cells. The discovery has near-term implications for increasing the yield of maize and many other staple crops, perhaps by as much as 50%.

The newly discovered regulatory pathway, reported today in Nature Genetics, is notable in that it channels signals emanating from a plant’s extremities — emerging young leaves called primordia — to the stem cell niche, called the meristem, located at the plant’s growing tip.figure 6ADavid Jackson and colleagues have discovered that gently releasing a brake on stem cell proliferation in maize (and other plants) leads to slightly more stem cells and increases in yield up to 50%. The two maize varieties on the left combine to produce a high-yielding hybrid, center (B73/W22); hybrids grown from “weak alleles” of the FEA3 gene yield ears with significantly higher yields (the two ears on the right).

Plant biologists have long known of another pathway, called the CLAVATA-WUSCHEL pathway, that regulates stem cell proliferation from within a portion of the meristem itself, called the organizing center (OC). In this canonical pathway, “the receptor and ligand are [both] expressed in the stem cells, which send signals down to the cells just below, in the OC,” explains CSHL Professor David Jackson, who led the team that found the new pathway.

WUSCHEL is a transcription factor that alters gene expression, and in so doing promotes the proliferation of stem cells, which are totipotent — capable in plants, as in humans, of developing into cells of any type. In the canonical CLAVATA-WUSCHEL pathway, stem cells send back to the OC a negative signal, repressing the signal for proliferation.

A similar feedback is established in the newly discovered pathway, although its signal begins in leaves. Having a signal coming from the leaves is new, and exciting because it could act as a kind of environmental sensor, telling totipotent stem cells in the meristem to stop proliferating — a brake, applied from the older, more developed parts of the plant, for example in response to environmental cues such as available light, nutrients or moisture.

Jackson and colleagues identified the receptor for these “braking signals from the leaves” in cells in the lower part of the meristem. They named the receptor FEA3. They also discovered the ligand that interacts with the receptor, a protein fragment called FCP1.

Figure 1Mazie ears showing the impact of FEA3 mutations. Compared to wild-type ears (panels c, f), ears in FEA3 mutants (panels d, i) have enlarged, highly distorted meristems (false-colored yellow). This is due to loss of the FEA3-FCP1 braking signal, and results in stem cell overproliferation. Emerging ears turn out to be smaller than wild-type and have fewer seeds (panel j).

In a highly consequential extension of the work of discovery, Jackson’s team studied maize plants in which FEA3 – the receptor for the signal from the leaves – was dysfunctional, owing to a variety of mutations in the FEA3 gene.

When FEA3 receptors in the meristem are not able to function at all, “it is as if they are blind to FCP1,” says Jackson. The inhibitory signal FCP1 sends from the leaves to the meristem is not received, and stem cells proliferate wildly. The plant makes far too many stem cells, and they give rise to too many new seeds — seeds the plant cannot support with available resources (light, moisture, nutrients). In such FEA3 mutant plants, maize ears develop that exhibit a quality called fasciation; from their greatly extended meristems, too many baby kernels are generated, which form misshapen, and ultimately yield-poor ears.

But when Jackson’s team performed a genetic trick, growing plants with so called “weak alleles” of the FEA3 gene, function of the FEA3 receptor was only mildly impaired. This moderate failure of the braking signal from outside of the meristem gave rise to a modest, manageable increase in stem cells, and to ears that were significantly larger than ears in wild-type plants.

These ears, the product of maize plants grown from weak alleles of FEA3, had more rows of kernels, and up to 50% higher yield overall than wild-type plants.

Because the newly discovered FAE3-FCP1 pathway is highly conserved across the plant kingdom, the discovery by Jackson’s team holds the prospect of translating into significant increases in yield in all the major staple crops.

Before such translational work can proceed, Jackson and colleagues plan to test the newly discovered fea3 alleles in elite varieties of maize and other crops in agricultural trials.

This research was supported by: NSF Plant Genome Research Program; Dupont Pioneer; the Gatsby Charitable Foundation; Swedish Research Council; Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea.

“Signaling from organ primordial regulates stem cell proliferation and maize yields, via the FASCIATED EAR3 receptor-like protein” appears online in Nature Genetics on Monday, May 16, 2016. The authors are: Byoung Il Je, Jeremy Gruel, Young Koung Lee, Peter Bommert, Edgar Demesa Arevalo, Andrea L. Eveland, Qingyu Wu, Alexander Goldshmidt, Robert Meeley, Madelaine Bartlett, Mai Komatsu, Hajime Sakai, Henrik Jönsson and David Jackson. The paper can be obtained at: http://www.nature.com/ng/index.html

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program hosts more than 12,000 scientists from around the world each year on its campuses in Long Island and in Suzhou, China. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit www.cshl.edu.

Written by: Peter Tarr, Senior Science Writer | tarr@cshl.edu |

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Over the next three months Louise Labuschagne, Joint MD of Real IPM Kenya, will be attempting a world record. You are invited to watch the progress of her attempt to produce  #ZeroResidue roses and later tomatoes, on the Equator, where there are all year round growing conditions for pests and diseases – WITHOUT having to rely on chemical pesticides.  She will be bringing all the Real IPM biological control agents to bear on this formidable task.  Will she win – or will she lose? The rose greenhouse chosen for the attempt has been previously used for efficacy trials for chemical pesticides – so it has even had pests and diseases applied to the plants. As a result – the crop is very badly damaged and has high levels of pests and diseases.  The variety, Upper Class, is a beautiful rose but is susceptible to pests and diseases.  This is a very difficult scenario – but she is confident of success. Join us on Facebook and share her successes and failures.  Give us your advice as she struggles to keep pace with the pests and diseases.  How would you solve this problem biologically?


Agri-Smart, operating under the umbrella of the parent organization, Brooklyn Bridge to Cambodia (BB2C) has designed a pioneering rice planting device.  By providing solutions to outdated rice farming methods, we are changing the way rice is farmed in Cambodia and beyond. We do this by delivering profit-making, labor saving innovative technology.

The traditional rice planting method of manual transplanting is effective, but labor intensive.  With migration leading to labor shortages in Cambodia and other rural areas, many farmers are forced to use less effective planting methods such as throwing (broadcasting) seeds into the field. The market is changing and our technology is well-positioned to address this urgent need for a new method.                                                                                                                              BEFORE


Agri-Smart has developed an affordable, locally produced technology to address this challenge. With Agri-Smart’s Eli Rice Seeder, there is now a labor saving way to achieve the same results as the farmer’s time tested methods.



With our innovative device a team of two can plant a hectare in only two hours. This is a huge labor savings compared to the 40 labor-days required to manually transplant the same field. The seeder uses air pressure to seed the ground in rows, which allows each plant enough space to grow, and reduces the total amount of seed required by half when compared to current methods. Rows also allow for tool-assisted and chemical-free weeding, as well as more targeted and efficient fertilizing. Crop yields using our seeder meet or exceed the results of traditionally transplanted fields.


Saves farmers’ money on seed and fertilizer

  • Less labor intensive planting
  • Improved crop yields
  • Eliminates use of environmentally harmful herbicides
  • Income generation and economic development
  • Local manufacturing means benefits for small business
  • and entrepreneurs
  • Portable
  • Easy to maintain and repair
  • Agri-Smart’s field staff provides training and technical support


Contact: Paula Shirk

Brooklyn Bridge to Cambodia



KEW Royal Botanic Garden

State of the World’s Plants




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