Plants Outsmart Darwin

first_imgThere are wonders in plants that continue to be uncovered with the tools of science.  Two recent papers in PNAS lend support to the feeling that plants are smarter than assumed.Trash collection:  Humans usually only employ one trash collection service, but plants have two.  Four Chinese investigators found redundant pathways in plant cells for removing misfolded proteins.  Writing in PNAS,1 they characterized endoplasmic reticulum associated degradation (ERAD), “an integral part of the ER quality-control system that removes toxic misfolded proteins via ubiquitin/proteasome-mediated degradation” (see 11/24/2010).  They found two genes that “function redundantly” to ensure this essential process does not fail.  The genes are conserved (unevolved) in yeast, plants, and humans.Portable generators:  Humans know it is handy to have a power source, like a battery, when you’re away from the power grid.  Plants know that, too.  German scientists found that plants use potassium as a local energy source in their vessels.  Here’s what their abstract said in PNAS about how plants exploit the multi-functional potassium ion.2The essential mineral nutrient potassium (K+) is the most important inorganic cation for plants and is recognized as a limiting factor for crop yield and quality.  Nonetheless, it is only partially understood how K+ contributes to plant productivity.  K+ is used as a major active solute to maintain turgor and to drive irreversible and reversible changes in cell volume.  K+ also plays an important role in numerous metabolic processes, for example, by serving as an essential cofactor of enzymes.  Here, we provide evidence for an additional, previously unrecognized role of K+ in plant growth.  By combining diverse experimental approaches with computational cell simulation, we show that K+ circulating in the phloem serves as a decentralized energy storage that can be used to overcome local energy limitations.They called this the “potassium battery.”  They described how the model plant Arabidopsis “taps this ‘potassium battery,’ which then efficiently assists the plasma membrane H+-ATPase in energizing the transmembrane phloem (re)loading processes.”Neither paper explained how these systems might have evolved.  The paper on ERAD degradation of misfolded proteins only mentioned that the genes are conserved, and speculated in passing about the functional differences of the ERAD genes in plants vs humans.  Another PNAS paper by Harvard biologists, however, did speculate about misfolded proteins as a source of evolutionary innovation.3  Studying how yeast cells handle misfolded proteins, they recognized that there is a fitness cost involved, as if an oarsman suddenly disabled on a rowing team makes the others have to work harder.  What does this have to do with evolution?  Not much, apparently, and maybe less: it appears to constrain evolution, not advance it:These results underscore the distinct and evolutionarily relevant molecular threat of protein misfolding, independent of protein function.  Assuming that most misfolded proteins impose similar costs, yeast cells express almost all proteins at steady-state levels sufficient to expose their encoding genes to selection against misfolding, lending credibility to the recent suggestion that such selection imposes a global constraint on molecular evolution.Selection against misfolding is a form of stabilizing selection – a “running in place” process that tries to maintain the status quo, not the kind of evolution Darwin envisioned.  If most mutations lead to toxic misfolded proteins, plants need to be smart enough to get rid of them quickly and systematically, not tinker with them in random searches for new functions.    One can look in vain in this paper for any suggestions supporting old Darwinian ideas of progress, tinkering or innovation.  Quite the contrary: “Our study illustrates the value in isolating and quantifying the consequences of protein misfolding to understand their relative contributions to molecular evolution and cell biology,” they said in conclusion.  “The results support hypotheses that assume that misfolded proteins impose a selective cost independent of protein function and a model of protein quality control in which a small interacting set of proteins responds specifically to misfolded proteins in the eukaryotic cytosol.”  In the set of “hypotheses that assume that misfolded proteins impose a selective cost,” is there any reason to exclude intelligent design?1.  Su, Liu, Xia, Hong, and Li, “Conserved endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation system to eliminate mutated receptor-like kinases in Arabidopsis,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print December 27, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pas.1013251108.2.  Gajdanowicz et al, “Potassium (K+) gradients serve as a mobile energy source in plant vascular tissues,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print December 27, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1009777108.3.  Geiler-Samerotte et al, “Misfolded proteins impose a dosage-dependent fitness cost and trigger a cytosolic unfolded protein response in yeast,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print December 27, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1017570108.These papers have intelligent design shouting and Darwin whimpering.  Respect your garden by acknowledging the design so clearly evident, and honoring the Designer.  Don’t insult your plants by thinking they got where they are by unguided, directionless, chance processes of evolution.  It would be like insulting professionals for a job well done by shrugging your shoulders and saying, “Stuff happens.”(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

South Africa celebrates Reconciliation Month

first_img14 December 2015South Africans should be encouraged during this year’s Reconciliation Month, running throughout December, to reach out to one another and help to build a united nation, according to the Department of Arts and Culture.This year’s Reconciliation Month takes place under the theme, “Bridging the divide: building a common South African nationhood towards a national developmental state”.Minister Nathi Mthethwa launched Reconciliation Month at the end of November at the War Museum in Bloemfontein, where he unveiled plaque in the Garden of Remembrance to honour men, women and children who perished in the concentration camps of the South African War – or Anglo Boer War – that was fought between 1899 and 1902.The minister also opened the Sol Plaatjie Exhibition space, which looks at the participation of black people in that war.“Reconciliation Month says that we ought to be walking this common road hand-in-hand, conscious of our past and confident of our future, no longer at the mercy of systems that divided us into black and white and men and women and saw no measure of equality between us,” he said.“Reconciliation Month reminds us that in 1994 with the first democratic elections, we set South Africa on the pathway towards a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous reality characterised by nation-building and social cohesion and a better life for all.”OriginsThe Day of Reconciliation is an annual public holiday observed on 16 December. It was previously known as Dingane’s Day and Day of the Vow. It is a significant day in South African history; its origins can be traced to the Battle of Blood River in 1838. The Voortrekker army defeated the Zulu army at the battle in the Ncome River, which was fought over land ownership.This year’s Reconciliation Month will focus on recognising and highlighting the trials and tribulations of the Khoi and San people and the role they played in the liberation struggles against colonialism and apartheid.Did you know !ike e: xarra //ke on the code of arms is a language of the /Xam people meaning “diverse people unite” #Reconciliationmonth— Arts & Culture (@ArtsCultureSA) December 4, 2015Source: Department of Arts and Culturelast_img read more

NBB Fair Trade Coalition succeeds in latest stage of biodiesel import cases

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Fair Trade Coalition won a preliminary countervailing duty determination from the Commerce Department regarding subsidized biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia. The Commerce Department found that Argentina and Indonesia provide subsidies to their biodiesel producers in violation of international trade rules. In addition, Commerce found “critical circumstances” to address the post-petition surge of imports from Argentina, paving the way for the imposition of retroactive duties, going back to May 2017.“The Commerce Department has recognized what this industry has known all along —that foreign biodiesel producers have benefited from massive subsidies that have severely injured U.S. biodiesel producers. We’re grateful that the Commerce Department has taken preliminary steps that will allow our industry to compete on a level playing field,” said Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer of the National Biodiesel Board.As a result of Commerce’s ruling, importers of Argentinian and Indonesian biodiesel will be required to pay cash deposits on biodiesel imported from those countries. The cash deposit rates range from 50.29 to 64.17% for biodiesel from Argentina, and 41.06 to 68.28% for biodiesel from Indonesia, depending on the particular foreign producer/exporter involved. Cash deposit requirements will be imposed when this preliminary determination is published in the Federal Register sometime. In addition, based on Commerce’s “critical circumstances” finding, these rates for Argentina will apply retroactively 90 days from the date of the Federal Register notice.The NBB Fair Trade Coalition filed these petitions to address a flood of subsidized and dumped imports from Argentina and Indonesia that has resulted in market share losses and depressed prices for domestic producers. Biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia surged by 464% from 2014 to 2016, taking 18.3% of market share from U.S. manufacturers. Imports of biodiesel from Argentina again jumped 144.5% following the filing of the petitions. These surging, low-priced imports prevented producers from earning adequate returns on their substantial investments and caused U.S. producers to pull back on further investments to serve a growing market.Between the preliminary and final determinations, the Commerce Department will audit the foreign producers and governments to confirm the accuracy of their data submissions. Parties will file briefs on issues arising from the agency’s preliminary countervailing duty determinations, and the Commerce Department will hold a hearing. Preliminary determinations in the companion antidumping investigations are due to be issued in October. Final Commerce determinations will be issued later this year, or in early 2018, with a final determination by the International Trade Commission soon thereafter.last_img read more

Grant and Elena Cardone on Confidence VS Arrogance and Why Anyone Can Sell Successfully – Episode #33

first_imgPodcast: Play in new window | Download (88.5MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Podcasts | RSSGrant Cardone has become a well known figure in the business world and most people you talk to either love him or hate him. Why? Because he’s willing to call things like he sees them. He’s happy to tell you that your game is not big enough. He’s eager to get in your face to push you to a higher level. And he’s perfectly content telling you that your main problem is you. On this episode Anthony gets Grant on the line to chat about what made him into the business success that he is, how he trains 4 year olds to sell successfully, and why confidence is something that can be built just like a muscle. Whether you love Grant or hate him, there’s great stuff for you to learn from this episode.If you want to change your life, you’ve got to have a different lane to switch to ~ Grant CardoneClick To TweetBeing self oriented is not a bad thing.Of course everyone needs to have the ability to care about others. But that’s not what Grant Cardone is talking about when he says that self orientation is a good thing. What he means is that everyone needs to be concerned for their own welfare, their own success, and their own ability to make something of their lives. It’s THAT drive that enables people to accomplish big things, great things, things that matter in the world. On this episode of In The Arena Grant Cardone is asked what he thinks of the people who say he’s arrogant and the tables get turned a bit, so be sure you listen to hear Grant’s insightful response.Confidence can be taught, just like a muscle.People have this strange idea that they are wired to be either confident or unconfident. But that’s not true. Grant Cardone stresses that confidence is something that can be grown, just like a muscle. It takes very hard work and a sense that what you have at present is not enough to make you as successful as you want to be and could be. Be sure to listen to this episode to find out how Grant says people have to go about building their confidence and becoming a success in life and business.The way to get comfort is to give up comfort to go for freedom ~ Grant CardoneClick To TweetAre you sold on your own product?Many salespeople give up on appointments with their prospects too early simply because they run out of belief that their product is the perfect solution for the prospect’s problems. Grant Cardone emphasizes how important it is for sales professionals to be sold on their own product before they even pick up the phone to prospect or set an appointment. It’s that confidence in the solution they have to offer that enables them to push past the objections and fears of their potential customers to help them see the answer that the product will bring to their situation.Why you should not want to be in the middle class.The middle class is not a safe place to be. Why? Because it’s the middle class that bears the burden of the failing economic system we live in. They are the ones who have to worry about meeting their bills. The middle class are the ones who are impacted by layoffs and market downturns. The middle class is stuck in the middle without much hope of getting out. That’s why Grant Cardone believes that the only way toward freedom is to move up and out of the middle class. Find out how Grant coaches people to move their game to a higher place so that they can experience the benefits of true freedom.I don’t want to be in the middle class. I don’t want my friends or employees to be there either ~ Grant CardoneClick To TweetOutline of this great episode Anthony’s introduction to Grant Cardone. Dealing with the randomness of a customer interview (and an interview with Grant Cardone). Why Grant doesn’t think being self-oriented is a bad thing. What happened to Grant between 10 and 25 that changed his life. The power of having vision about what you could be. How Grant Cardone is driven by fear (as all of us are). Mindset, attitude, fear, hustle, and how they lead to success. Why salespeople don’t want to take responsibility for their failures. The amazing things that happen when you are sold on your own product. Why building confidence is exactly like building muscle. How anyone (even a 4 year old) can be trained to successfully sell. Who is doing well in the economy today? Why money doesn’t make you secure and what you should do in response. The 3 biggest things Grant tells people to do in order to get out of the middle class. Your problem is not the top 1% of earners, you are your problem. How you can get Grant’s products.Resources & Links mentioned in this episodeCNBC show, “The Profit.”Grant Cardone Sales Call Video TrainingGrant Cardone video training a 4 year old to sellGrant CardoneFollow Grant on TwitterGrant’s killer YouTube channelGrant’s success newsletter1565114205The theme song “Into the Arena” is written and produced by Chris Sernel. You can find it on SoundcloudConnect with AnthonyWebsite: www.TheSalesBlog.comYoutube: www.Youtube.com/IannarinoFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/iannarinoTwitter: https://twitter.com/iannarinoGoogle Plus: https://plus.google.com/+SAnthonyIannarinoLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/iannarinoTweets you can use to share this episodeYou don’t get what you deserve, you get what you ask for ~ Grant CardoneClick To TweetMost people want to avoid fear and pain. That’s why they’re not willing to hustle ~ Anthony IannarinoClick To TweetIf I don’t take responsibility, I’m giving it to someone else, making myself a victim ~ Grant CardoneClick To Tweetlast_img read more

The Vegan Society EU ban on meaty names for veggie food products

first_imgThe Vegan Society has highlighted the proposed measures will not only impact vegans, but also public authorities that currently serve vegan food, such as government departments, health providers, education establishments, police forces and prisons.It has legally challenged the plans in a formal letter to EU officials, signed by its CEO and prepared by a legal expert, on the grounds of breaching fundamental human rights of vegans that are set out by the Union.The letter states the proposed measures contravene the EU consumers’ right to be informed adequately as to how goods can be used and denies the vegan community the benefits offered by EU law on clear labeling.If the proposals are voted into effect next month, vegan and veggie burgers could become ‘discs’, and sausages ‘tubes’ among other products.George Gill, CEO at The Vegan Society who signed the letter, said: Dr Rowley quotes in the letter the European food labeling laws that state “food information should … enable consumers to identify and make appropriate use of food” and argues the use of ‘meaty’ names informs the consumer how the plant-based products can be cooked and used. The 14-page letter includes an appendix with over 100 examples of plant-based food descriptors being used in the public and private sectors, suggesting many institutions would be affected.Public authorities are obliged to provide plant-based food to vegans in their care as veganism is a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010.Excessive amounts of time and money would have to be unnecessarily spent on revising menus in public sector institutions if the proposals are accepted.Dr Jeanette Rowley, Vegan Rights Advocate at The Vegan Society, said: This proposed measure is not aligned with EU policy on respect for diversity.It is not in the public interest and, if implemented, would have a disproportional impact across society by affecting the normal daily functioning of all public and private entities that provide food.This EU measure threatens to cause widespread administrative chaos, confusion and time wasting trying to understand how to plan a meal that includes a veggie disc or a veggie tube!The widespread impact of this unreasonable and costly proposal should not be underestimated.” Apr 23 2019A vegan charity has warned the proposals to ban the use of traditional names like ‘burger’ and ‘sausage’ for vegan and veggie food products will result in “excessive administrative burdens” to all public entities. As consumers are increasingly moving away from eating animals, the demand for vegan products is growing. There’s no denying that meat, dairy and egg industries are feeling threatened by this and desperately trying to restrict the marketing of vegan products.These proposals have little to do with consumer protection and instead are motivated by economic concerns of the meat industry. We are calling on EU officials to reject these irrational measures for vegan meat alternatives to be banned from using the qualified conventional terms everyone has been using for decades.” Related StoriesAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaSmarter, more educated people get a cognitive ‘head start’, but aren’t protected from Alzheimer’sVegans are often deficient in these four nutrientsThe Vegan Society dismissed what it sees as unlawful proposals, calling them “an attempt to bolster a depressed agricultural economy” and warned they would “create confusion across the EU” if put in place.It argued the proposed measures do not achieve the required threshold for implementation as the EU rules recognize that “any limitation of fundamental rights must respect the principle of proportionality and meet objectives of general interest”.The rights and equality provisions available to the vegan community have not been included in the assessment of the validity of the proposed measure, which has not, according to the charity, taken into account all relevant stakeholders in the EU community.Alternative vocabulary put forward such as ‘vegetable disc’ does not constitute clear food labeling under EU consumer law because such terms do not describe or facilitate ease of interpretation, nor make it easy to perceive the food item in question.The EU has 21 days to respond to the letter, after which the matter will be escalated by The Vegan Society.Source: https://www.vegansociety.com/whats-new/news/eu-ban-%E2%80%98meaty%E2%80%99-names-would-financially-impact-public-sector-not-just-veganslast_img read more

Intermittent fasting may protect against type 2 diabetes

first_imgUnder certain genetic conditions, the accumulation of fat in the pancreas may play a decisive role in the development of type 2 diabetes.”Professor Tim J. Schulz, head of the Department of Adipocyte Development and Nutrition Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 2 2019Intermittent fasting is known to improve sensitivity to the blood glucose-lowering hormone insulin and to protect against fatty liver. DZD scientists from DIfE have now discovered that mice on an intermittent fasting regimen also exhibited lower pancreatic fat. In their current study published in the journal Metabolism, the researchers showed the mechanism by which pancreatic fat could contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.Fatty liver has been thoroughly investigated as a known and frequently occurring disease. However, little is known about excess weight-induced fat accumulation in the pancreas and its effects on the onset of type 2 diabetes. The research team led by Professor Annette Schürmann and Professor Tim J. Schulz of the German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE) has now found that overweight mice prone to diabetes have a high accumulation of fat cells in the pancreas. Mice resistant to diabetes due to their genetic make-up despite excess weight had hardly any fat in the pancreas, but instead had fat deposits in the liver. “Fat accumulations outside the fat tissue, e.g. in the liver, muscles or even bones, have a negative effect on these organs and the entire body. What impact fat cells have within the pancreas has not been clear until now,” said Schürmann, head of the Department of Experimental Diabetology at DIfE and speaker of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD).Intermittent fasting reduces pancreatic fatThe team of scientists divided the overweight animals, which were prone to diabetes, into two groups: The first group was allowed to eat ad libitum – as much as they wanted whenever they wanted. The second group underwent an intermittent fasting regimen: one day the rodents received unlimited chow and the next day they were not fed at all. After five weeks, the researchers observed differences in the pancreas of the mice: Fat cells accumulated in group one. The animals in group two, on the other hand, had hardly any fat deposits in the pancreas.Pancreatic adipocytes mediate hypersecretion of insulin In order to find out how fat cells might impair the function of the pancreas, researchers led by Schürmann and Schulz isolated adipocyte precursor cells from the pancreas of mice for the first time and allowed them to differentiate into mature fat cells. If the mature fat cells were subsequently cultivated together with the Langerhans islets of the pancreas, the beta cells of the “islets” increasingly secreted insulin. “We suspect that the increased secretion of insulin causes the Langerhans islets of diabetes-prone animals to deplete more quickly and, after some time, to cease functioning completely. In this way, fat accumulation in the pancreas could contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes,” said Schürmann.Significance of pancreatic fat for diabetes preventionCurrent data suggest that not only liver fat should be reduced to prevent type 2 diabetes. Related StoriesUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useNew biomaterial could encapsulate and protect implanted insulin-producing cellsSome people treated for type 1 diabetes may have monogenic diabetes, study findsIntermittent fasting could be a promising therapeutic approach in the future. The advantages: it is non-invasive, easy to integrate into everyday life and does not require drugs.Intermittent fastingIntermittent fasting means not eating during certain time slots. However, water, unsweetened tea and black coffee are allowed around the clock. Depending on the method, the fasting lasts between 16 and 24 hours or, alternatively, a maximum of 500 to 600 calories are consumed on two days within a week. The best known form of intermittent fasting is the 16:8 method which involves eating only during an eight-hour window during the day and fasting for the remaining 16 hours. One meal – usually breakfast – is omitted.Islets of LangerhansThe islets of Langerhans – also referred to as islet cells or Langerhans islets – are islet-like accumulations of hormone-producing cells in the pancreas. A healthy adult has about one million Langerhans islets. Each “islet” has a diameter of 0.2-0.5 millimeters. The beta cells produce the blood glucose-lowering hormone insulin and make up about 65 to 80 percent of the islet cells. When blood glucose levels are elevated, these secrete insulin into the bloodstream so that the levels are normalized again. Source:Deutsches Zentrum fuer Diabetesforschung DZDJournal reference:Schulz, T.J. et al. (2019) Pancreatic adipocytes mediate hypersecretion of insulin in diabetes-susceptible mice. Metabolism. doi.org/10.1016/j.metabol.2019.05.005.last_img read more