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PostPosted: April 1st, 2014, 9:00 am 
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What happens when a lichenologist and a molecular geneticist get together with their friends?

Scientists from the College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry in Syracuse NY have cobbled together a new strain of lichens that could make backcountry users very, very happy.

A multidisciplinary team including virologists, bacteriologists and entomologists have been using techniques of gene splicing and cloning to develop a strain of lichens that will attract and kill black flies. Currently, says the department's spokesman, Dr. Fritz Schultz, the control of back flies involves the tedious and expensive seeding of streams with bacteria that interfere with larval development. "They have to re-apply the bacteria every year. Our approach is to seed an area once only with a newly engineered chimera, a Xanthoparmelia lichens. Our organism will emit a pheromone that attracts black flies and then it kills them. The flies will stick to the lichen's surface and a chemical that jams its energy production system will poison it. It's that simple."

It's a technical milestone, says Schultz, because his team has had to splice black fly DNA that codes for the fly's pheromone (a powerful chemical attractant) into the lichen's genome along with other DNA from a species of Gecko for the sticky bio-material as well as the toxin, whose DNA was isolated from a mushroom known as the Angel of Death. In order to speed the growth and ecological spread of the lichen scientists have developed a mutant strain whose normal growth control factors have been suppressed. "We achieved this by eliminating a gene that codes for a protein that turns off a stretch of the organism's DNA. It was brilliant work", crowed Schultz.

Schultz's team will begin a pilot project in the Barrens, in moderately high-latitude Canada, specifically, in the Thelon River watershed. This is a region of low population and only a few paddlers ever go there. Crews will begin seeding the watershed in July by spraying billions of spores per square meter throughout the area. "By the summer of 2015 we should see a result", says Schultz.

Questioned as to the safety of introducing genetically modified and novel organisms into a delicate ecosystem Schultz waxed confident. "Trust me", he said, "I'm a scientist. This is a safe and harmless procedure that we'll be pioneering. No known problems have been identified by our team of experts".

Dr. Schultz went on to thank the WCA and MEC who have provided funding for the project over the years. Finally, thanks to the generosity of these organizations grants, man will be able to genetically manipulate entire ecosystems for his recreational benefit.


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PostPosted: April 1st, 2014, 9:40 am 
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Isn't today April 1st? :D

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PostPosted: April 1st, 2014, 10:54 am 
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Yes, it is... in other news, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources will be encouraging greater public participation during the no-license-needed Familiy Fishing Week, with Smelt Nights beginning this year at all provincial parks. A free firewood voucher and a tested-till-perfect recipe will be included.

Upon payment of the park fee, visitors will receive a handful of fresh smelt from park staff. You pay the park fee, you get your smelt.

:D

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PostPosted: April 1st, 2014, 12:19 pm 
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http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/beware-a ... -1.1753320

That's it. Enjoy your spring.. Winter 2014-15 starts Thursday. Enjoy your three days of summer

http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather- ... 2011-03-29



It's about time the metric conversion was complete

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PostPosted: April 1st, 2014, 6:44 pm 
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:rofl: :rofl:


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