agriculture

Investigating the Molecular Defense Tactics of Plants

April 11, 2018
In a study appearing in Cell Host & Microbe, UC Davis graduate student Neeraj Lal, Professors Savithramma Dinesh-Kumar and Andrew J Fisher and their colleagues reveal the versatility of plants’ molecular defenses. The findings provide a strategic map revealing how plants allocate resources and have the potential to help bolster crop immune systems and improve their development and growth.

Feeding the Future

UC Davis researchers are exploring the survival strategies of wild and parasitic plants to help cultivate the climate-resistant food crops of tomorrow by Greg Watry To meet a projected population of 9.8 billion by 2050, global food production needs to grow an estimated 70 percent. Rising patterns of extreme weather are challenging food security. To adapt and feed the world, we need stronger crops. A Shifting Environment

Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, wildfires are blazing and droughts are intensifying. Our earth is in an alarming state of flux.

Harnessing Plant Microbiomes to Promote Agricultural Growth

February 28, 2018
In a paper appearing in PLOS Biology, Joseph Edwards, ’17 Ph.D. in Plant Biology, Professor Venkatesan Sundaresan, Departments of Plant Biology and Plant Sciences and their colleagues tracked root microbiome shifts throughout the life-cycle of rice (Oryza sativa). The research could help inform the design of agricultural probiotics by introducing age-appropriate microbes that promote traits like nutrient efficiency, strong roots and increased growth rates in rice plants.

ID of Pest Reproduction Pheromone May Help Fight Citrus Greening Disease

December 05, 2017
The Asian citrus psyllid, the most devastating threat to the worldwide citrus industry, may have met its match. In a ground-breaking discovery encompassing six years of research, an international team of scientists led by UC Davis chemical ecologist Walter Leal announced they've identified the sex pheromone of the pest, which feeds on citrus and transmits the bacteria that causes the deadly citrus greening disease known as Huanglongbing (HLB).

Cow Gene Study Shows Why Most Clones Fail

December 13, 2016
It has been 20 years since Dolly the sheep was successfully cloned in Scotland, but cloning mammals remains a challenge. A new study by researchers from the U.S. and France of gene expression in developing clones now shows why most cloned embryos likely fail.

Why Insect Pests Love Monocultures, and How Plant Diversity Could Change That

October 17, 2016
Left to its own defenses, a farm field growing a variety of plants tends to attract fewer insect pests than a field growing just one type of crop. While scientists and farmers have noted that difference for years, the reasons behind it have been poorly understood. A study led by the University of California, Davis, and published Oct. 12 in the journal Nature explains that much of the discrepancy may have to do with the nutritional needs of insects.

UC Davis Scientists Explore the Microbiome

May 13, 2016
Today’s White House announcement of the National Microbiome Initiative will bring new funding and attention to better understand the billions of microbes that swarm around in and around us and probably play an important role in our health, food and environment. At UC Davis, many scientists are already exploring this hidden world. Here are a few of them.

UC Davis Cracks the Walnut Genome

December 10, 2015
Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have for the first time sequenced the genome of a commercial walnut variety. The information should accelerate the rate of breeding and variety improvement in walnuts and help breeders select for desired traits such as insect and disease resistance, and drought tolerance.