By Cat HolmesUniversity of GeorgiaSince Charles Darwin heralded evolution more than 150 years ago,scientists have sought to better understand when and how the vastvariety of plants today diverged from common ancestors.A new University of Georgia study, just published in “Nature,”demonstrates key events in plant evolution. It allows scientiststo infer what the gene order may have looked like in a commonancestor of higher plants. And it shows one way plants may havedifferentiated from their ancestors and each other.”By studying the completed sequence of the smallest floweringplant, Arabidopsis, we showed that most of its genes wereduplicated about 200 million years ago and duplicated again about80 million years ago,” said Andrew Paterson, a UGA plantgeneticist and director of the study. “The ensuing loss of ‘extragenes’ caused many of the differences among modern plants.”Double genes in a little weedTwo years ago, scientists finished the genetic sequencing ofArabidopsis, a small, weedy plant. It was a major event, the firstplant to be completely sequenced. Arabidopsis had been chosenwith the assumption that it would be fairly easy, since it wassmall.Sometimes small packages aren’t so simple.Seeded throughout its five chromosomes were thousands of genesthat seemed to be “junk.” When UGA scientists compared all of thegenes, they found evidence of duplicated “blocks” of similar setsof genes in two, four or eight different places along thechromosomes.It’s well known that many plants contain two or more copies ofmost genes. But why these copies exist and when they occurred hasbeen unknown. Their surprising abundance in the tiny,well-studied Arabidopsis indicates that genome duplications mayhave played a bigger evolutionary role than was previouslythought.Compare and contrastWhy were these blocks of genes duplicated? When did this happen?Answering these questions involved a lot of computerizedcomparing and contrasting.The scientists repeatedly compared related pairs of Arabidopsisgenes with genes from other plants to figure out which genes hadbeen “hanging out with each other,” said UGA graduate studentBrad Chapman, who coauthored the study, along with John Bowers,Junkang Rong and Paterson.”Genomes with similar blocks of duplication, ‘spelled’ in similarways, had been hanging out together for longer periods of time,”Chapman said.”We tested many, many combinations,” Paterson said. “We testedArabidopsis with cotton, cauliflower, alfalfa, soybeans,tomatoes, rice, pine trees and moss.”BreakpointsAfter more than 22,000 such comparisons, the results were pooled,and the scientists looked for breakpoints. The breakpointsindicate duplication events, Paterson said. And the study showsthat Arabidopsis has duplicated at least twice, and perhaps athird time.Each time a duplication event occurred, the entire geneticsequence of Arabidopsis doubled. The plant lived on with sparecopies of all of its genetic material. And over time, the “extragenes” were shuffled around or lost. It is suspected that thismay be one explanation for how different species emerged.”The duplication event that occurred 200 million years agooccurred in virtually all plants,” Paterson said. “Theduplication event 80 million years ago affected a lot of plants,but not as many.”Significant economicallyThe study is attracting attention in the scientific community,because it combines an evolutionary approach with genomic data tolearn more about the natural world.This information will have a significant economic impact becauseit permits scientists to make better use of the Arabidopsissequence. It will allow them to study and improve other plantswhose DNA hasn’t yet been completely sequenced, such as peanuts,cotton or wheat, saving both time and money.”For example, we can take the 2,000 genes known on the cottonmap, compare them with the Arabidopsis sequence and, with thisanalysis, make good, educated guesses about where the other48,000 cotton genes are,” Paterson said.
For the first time ever, University of Vermont President Daniel Mark Fogel, PhD, will confer medical degrees upon graduates in the UVM College of Medicine’s Class of 2011 during the school’s Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 22, at 2:30 pm in UVM’s Ira Allen Chapel. Marcia Angell, MD, senior lecturer in social medicine at Harvard Medical School and the first woman to serve as editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, will deliver the keynote address.Dean Frederick C. Morin III, M.D., and Melinda Estes, M.D., president and CEO of Fletcher Allen Health Care, will provide a welcome and President Fogel will present remarks prior to Angell’s address. Senior Associate Dean of Research Ira Bernstein, M.D., will recognize the 14 Graduate College students earning M.S. and Ph.D. degrees and Associate Dean of Student Affairs G. Scott Waterman, M.D., will announce Class of 2011 awards and honors. Following remarks from Class of 2011 student Ari Garber, Ed.D., Fogel will confer an honorary degree, as well as the medical degrees upon 110 members of the Class of 2011.Below are snapshots of some of the Class of 2011’s soon-to-be-doctors:â ¢ Taking action to bring about change is medical student Matthew Meyer’s motto. A Shelburne, Vt., native, Champlain Valley Union High School and Middlebury College graduate, he served in the Peace Corps in Tanzania before enrolling in medical school. As a first-year student, Meyer co-founded the College of Medicine Marathon Team ‘ a group of Vermont City Marathon runners who fundraise for pediatric cancer research ‘ and later organized health care policy forums with Vermont candidates. Fresh from completing a two-month Centers for Disease Control-Hubert Fellowship spent coordinating tuberculosis surveillance in Kenya and East Africa, Meyer counts seeing “my first birth and death and participating in my first surgery and code” among his best med school educational experiences. He will serve a surgical residency at Brown University.â ¢ Barre, Vt., native Alan Frascoia came from a long-line of stone cutters and worked in the granite industry as a sculptor himself before switching gears to medicine, volunteering at the People’s Health & Wellness Clinic in his hometown, and completing a post-baccalaureate premedical program at UVM prior to enrolling. Fast-forward four years and Frascoia is now readying himself for life on a different coast as a psychiatry resident at Los Angeles, Calif.-based Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.â ¢ A UVM undergraduate molecular genetics major, Michelle Shepard, Ph.D., of Hardwick, Vt., didn’t expect her career path to lead to pediatrics when she enrolled at the UVM College of Medicine. One of five M.D.-Ph.D. students who will receive their medical degrees on May 22, she studied the immune system during pregnancy for her doctoral thesis and expected to go into obstetrics/gynecology (Ob/Gyn). Two critical clinical experiences ‘ one in Ob/Gyn and an Acting Internship in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit ‘ led to a new-found interest in the miracle of birth and child development. Shepard, who hopes to do a genetics fellowship after her residency, will complete a residency at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth.A graduate of Boston University School of Medicine, Angell trained in both internal medicine and anatomic pathology and is a board-certified pathologist. She joined the New England Journal of Medicine in 1979, became executive editor in 1988, and editor-in-chief in 1999. A frequent contributor to professional journals and the popular media on a wide range of topics, particularly medical ethics, health policy, the nature of medical evidence, the interface of medicine and the law, and care at the end of life, Angell is the author of Science on Trial: The Clash of Medical Evidence and the Law in the Breast Implant Case (W. W. Norton & Company, 1996), The Truth about the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do about It (Random House, 2005), and a co-author of the first three editions of the textbook Basic Pathology. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. In 1997, Time magazine named her one of the 25 most influential Americans.President Fogel will confer an honorary Doctor of Science degree to a family member of the late Thomas Sullivan, M.D., an alumnus from the College of Medicine’s Class of 1966, in recognition of his relentless passion for improving health care and health education and his transformative gifts in support of the education he valued so greatly.Faculty members William Raszka, M.D., professor of pediatrics, course director of Attacks and Defenses, and Class of 2011 Foundations Teacher of the Year, and William Hopkins, M.D., associate professor of medicine, course director of Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Renal Systems, and Class of 2011 Clinical Teacher of the Year, as well as Dr. Estes, will participate in hooding the graduates. In addition, some students will be hooded by their faculty mentors. College of Medicine graduates will take their professional oath at the conclusion of the degree-conferring portion of the ceremony.Beginning in mid-June, these new physicians will begin residencies in a wide range of subspecialties, including emergency medicine (18 students), internal medicine (14 students), pediatrics (14 students), and general surgery (11 students), at teaching hospitals across the country.A webcast of The University College of Medicine Commencement Ceremony will be available online on May 22 at www.med.uvm.edu(link is external). For more information about the College’s Commencement ceremony, visit www.uvm.edu/~cmncmnt/?Page=com.html&SM=submenu1.html(link is external) .###
YU, which is a fully owned subsidiary of Micromax, has listed two phones — Yunique Plus and Yureka S on its website with price of Rs 6,499 and Rs. 12,999, respectively. While the Yunique Plus can be seen only on the company’s official website, Yureka S is also shown as available on e-commerce company eBay at a price of Rs 13,299.The Yu Yunique Plus comes with a 4.7-inch IPS display with 720×1280 pixels resolution. The phone is powered by quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8916 410 processor coupled with Adreno 306 GPU clocked at 1.2 GHz. The processor is supported by 2GB RAM and 8 GB internal storage, which is expandable up to 32GB via microSD card. The smartphone flaunts an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED Flash technology and an f/2.0 aperture. Yunique Plus is backed by a 2000mAh battery. The phone also carries a 2-megapixel camera on the front. Yunique Plus comes with dual-micro SIM slots, both SIM supporting 4G. The phone also supports GPRS/ EDGE, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi connectivity options.Also Read: Yu Yunicorn review: Loses online but may win offlineYureka S, which will cost the buyer Rs 12,999, is a 5.2-inch display smartphone with a 1080×1920 pixel resolution and Gorilla Glass 3. The phone runs on Android 5.1.1, Lollipop OS and is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor clocked at 1.1GHz. It comes with 3GB RAM and an inbuilt storage of 16GB. Yureka S sports a 13MP rear camera with f/2.2 aperture.Both the phone which are expected to hit the Indian market soon, will be seen competing against brands like Xiaomi, Lenovo and Asus.advertisementWhile within the Rs 6,499 price bracket, Yunique Plus will see a tough fight against the phone like Jio-enabled Lyf phones and Lenovo vibe C, Yureka S will compete against phones such as Lenovo Vibe K5 Note and Redmi Note 3.Also Read: YU Yunique review: The little champ