Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

genes and means: US-based University of Utah biologists have discovered a gene that enables plant roots to tell the leaves to stop growing, presumably when water is scarce, soil is too compacted or during other adverse conditions. The findings will allow scientists to genetically engineer crops and other plants to be more productive in dry conditions -- if the genetic signal is inhibited with the help of biotechnology, crops will keep producing leaves (essential for growth) even during the drought.

a treatment recipe: The rice blast fungus, which causes losses of about 157 million tonnes of rice worldwide each year, can infect rice plants through their roots as well as their leaves, according to a research by scientists from the UK-based John Innes Centre. The finding could affect research on the fungus and influence future strategies to control the spread of the disease.

more terrorising than suspected: Fatal traffic accidents rise by 35 per cent three days after a terror attack, according to a study. The finding suggests terrorism can cause a delayed reaction in populations at large. Joshua Goldstein from the Princeton University in the US and Guy Stecklov of the Hebrew University in Israel studied traffic patterns and accidents in Israel from January 2001 to June 2002. Over that period, 63 terror attacks took place in which at least one person was killed. Fatal traffic accidents spiked three days after an attack. Non-rush-hour traffic dropped by about 10 per cent for three days after a serious attack (in which at least 10 people were killed).

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