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David WolfeFaculty stir up solutions at climate change forum [Cornell Chronicle 2013-04-02] – About 100 professors, graduate students and researchers affiliated with the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future gathered March 28 to exchanged ideas about projects and studies in energy, the environment and economic development in the era of climate change. “It was a great array of faculty and graduate students from fields ranging from the physical and natural sciences to economics and the humanities,” said David Wolfe (right), professor of horticulture and a conference organizer. “The creative energy in the room was almost palpable. I think this is what happens when we hear surprising and mind-opening perspectives from those in very different disciplines. Exciting ideas for future collaboration across these disciplines came forward.” … In addition to pitches, horticulture graduate students presented posters on current research. … Sonam Sherpa showed new approaches to soil carbon mapping and Semagn Kolech demonstrated potato variety resilience to drought being studied in Ethiopia.

Disease-resistant tomatoes fight lethal pests [Cornell Chronicle 2013-04-02] – In the battle against thrips, Cornell breeder Martha Mutschler-Chu has developed a new weapon: a tomato that packs a powerful one-two punch to deter the pests and counter the killer viruses they transmit.

Susheng GanModel Behavior [periodiCALS Spring 2013, Arabidopsis thaliana, page 17] – Susheng Gan (right), associate professor of horticulture, is interested in how leaves are programmed to die. Since their main function is photosynthesis, the longer leaves stay green, the more sugars and other nutrients the plant can synthesize to fill seeds, store as biomass, or help root nodules live longer to fix more nitrogen in the soil. Using arabidopsis strains lacking certain genes, Gan identified several genes that regulate senescence, or leaf yellowing. Disabling one of these genes in soybeans increased leaf longevity by more than one week, resulting in a 44 percent increase in seed yield and significantly increased soil sustainability

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