UW researchers discover an evolutionary stepping stone to beet-red beets

Writing this week (Oct. 9, 2017) in the journal New Phytologist, University of Wisconsin–Madison Professor of Botany Hiroshi Maeda and his colleagues describe an ancient loosening up of a key biochemical pathway that set the stage for the ancestors of beets to develop their characteristic red pigment.

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Pregnancy loss and evolution of sex linked by cellular line dance

A researcher reports that meiosis takes a heavy toll on the viability of offspring — and not just for humans. Many creatures pay a price to undergo sexual reproduction.

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Longtime botany greenhouse director Mo Fayyaz to retire

When the Iranian government offered Mo Fayyaz a full scholarship to study horticulture abroad, a simple oversight meant the University of Wisconsin–Madison was not his top choice. “I didn’t even know there was a state called Wisconsin,” laughs Fayyaz, who is retiring in August after 33 years as the distinguished director of the botany department greenhouse and botanical gardens.

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Peanut family secret for making chemical building blocks revealed

As you bite into your next peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chew on this: The peanut you’re eating has a secret. It’s a subtle one. The peanut and its kin — legumes — have not one, but two ways to make the amino acid tyrosine, one of the 20 required to make all of its proteins, and an essential human nutrient.

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Rediscovered mosses document changing Wisconsin landscape

The Wisconsin State Herbarium at the University of Wisconsin–Madison has discovered a collection of more than 2,000 mosses from the turn of the 20th century, lost to time in a cabinet inside Birge Hall, where the herbarium is housed.

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With The Wisconsin State Journal: Fueling Discovery

"Fueling Discovery" is a joint effort of the UW-Madison College of Letters & Science and the Wisconsin State Journal. This special section features essays from faculty members across the college about their groundbreaking research. 

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NSF selects 18 UW-Madison students for competitive graduate research award

18 UW-Madison students - 6 from L&S - have been selected as recipients of the nationally competitive NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). The fellowship program, which provides three years of financial support for graduate study, aims to keep the nation a global leader in advancing science and engineering research and innovation, according to the NSF.

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Experiments test how easy life itself might be

On a lab benchtop, a handful of glass vials taped to a rocker gently sway back and forth. Inside the vials, a mixture of organic chemicals and tiny particles of fool’s gold are begging a question seemingly beyond their humble appearance: Where did life come from?

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UW helps schools update approach to science education

On a cold January morning, a few students cheer as three recent alumni of the Biology Core Curriculum honors program at UW–Madison enter a 4th grade classroom in Mazomanie, Wisconsin. These “Biocore Outreach Ambassadors” bear gifts: plastic containers, soil, fertilizer and seed from the university’s “Wisconsin Fast Plants” program.

These minimal props, combined with a basic light box — two milk crates lined with aluminum foil — are the raw materials for plant-growth experiments that Bree Wilhelmson’s students will pursue for almost two months.

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