Friday, April 22, 2016

What Are those Environmental Cues which Effect Gene Expression ???

Okay this is gonna be real easy. Especially for the folks with the modern day short attention spans. You folks who learn and understand only from Memes will understand all this hands down.
Diet! - Ever hear the expression, "You are what you eat" ???

Image: MyNetDiary
For Meme Lovers Only

Seriously, you people new this all along. You know the advantages of a healthy well balance diet as opposed to an unhealthy diet. You know the effects of having abundance as compared to the extreme circumstances of starvation. All of these are environmental cues which trigger variying epigenetic responses within the genes of different people. This is why the role of Gut Bacteria is so important, because what you take in your body by choice in the way of nutirtion can effect how your cut bacteria react, which also triggers signaling messages into your body's genome. These same rules apply to all the other lifeforms on the Earth as well. For example, when I wrote recently about a fungal species I use in forumations for plant root inoculations. While our nutrition intake is an internal one, plants on the other hadn have an external one which we could compare the symbiosis of beneficial fungi and bacteria which externally colonize the rootsystem, can be compared to our internal gut bacteria. Trichoderma was a subject I wrote about where the fungi not only processes nutrients, but also provides specific signaling messages to a plant's immune system to step up production.
How Many Beneficial Functions & Services can be found in just one Fungi Species ?

Climate/Weather - Micro/Macro - Heat/Cold

Image: Rainy Day - CIC Services
Image: Dry Climate - Incredible India
Image: Storage West
Image: American Grandparents Association

Elevation/Geography Environmental Cues
Image from Saguaro National Monument
Image: Himalaya Mountains -
Image: Lux Tonnerre - Palau Islands
Image: Great Plains - WorldWildlife-org
Image: Noah Elhardt - North/South Slopes
Toxic Pollution effects epigenetic gene expression - so think Endocrine Disruption & Nylonase - then we can dump the doctrine of  Random Mutation (otherwise known as copying errors which result in bad or lucky mistakes) and Natural Selection (otherwise known as Tinker Bell) is a mysterious intelligent animist type of god which is omnipotent, omnipresent and if you believe the latest literature out there, also omniscient. [I'm not kidding either folks. For all the talk of ridding mankind of their various beliefs in gods, the secular elements of our modern world are obsessed with creating their own version of gods in their image]

Image: Nylonase -
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ - Endocrine Disruption - Spooky
Seriously now, what more could I add to the list of environmental cue factors that trigger epigentic responses to gene expression ? How about hervivores, predators, nightime, daytime, caves, volcanoes, toxins, pollution, disasters (natural & human caused), wars, climate change etc, etc, etc.

Well, this wasn't so bad. Lots of Memes and Photographs with very little text! Environmental cues are everywhere and they influence how the informational content of genes are expressed. Survival, reproduction, health (good or bad), climate adaptability, all manner of ecosystem niches, etc, etc, etc.

A little Natural Selection humor here

BTW, just as a reminder of what natural selection is and isn't, retired Geneticist, Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Germany has a nice page on the history of the definition of "Natural Selection", it's problems and attempts at finding a more viable alternative for the outdated terminology in view of latest modern scientific discoveries.

Monday, April 18, 2016

News Updates on Bee populations, China's Industrial effects, Climate Change's effects and Bee Vectoring Technolgy

First, the not so encouraging News out of  China and it's less than ethical practices in pursuit of  Industrial Agriculture
Photojournalist Kevin Frayer / Getty Images

He Meixia, a 25-year-old farmer, pollinates each blossom on a
pear tree by hand in the Sichuan province, China
Traditionally, pollinating fruit trees was a job that was best done by all kinds of  bees. But there aren’t many bees in China these days, which forces farmers to find other solutions. In Hanyuan County, often called the pear capital of the world, human workers go tree to tree, hand-pollinating the white blossoms with brushes. But of course this begs the question, why ? What Happened ? The main reason the People's Republic of china are using humans to pollinate fruit trees, is because they have no large populations of pollinators to speak of. Back in the historical past of the 1950's the prevailing Science of the time determined sparrows were eating too much grain which would make the people go hungry. As always, the usual industrial scientific answer was to kill off and eliminate all of the sparrows. Sparrows were the enemy, not human ignorance of ecological mechanisms. Without the sparrows, huge locusts swarms destroyed their the grain crops. So they in turn decided to use the same stupid scientific rationalization and invent more synthetic chemicals to kill all the bad insects with pesticides. Now they basically have no good insect predatores and pollinators. While the major news has been the decline of honeybees which is troubling, the real concern bringing back a healthy balanced insect population. Here are some interesting educational links below of what happened to China from the 1950s to the present agricultural crisis. 
Some interesting historical reference links:
Decline of bees forces China's apple farmers to pollinate by hand
Will We Still Have Fruit if Bees Die Off?
After Bee Die-Off, Chinese Apple Farmers Resort to Hand Pollination
The Bee Photographer - Hand Pollination in China Images
The Red Chinese Cultural Revolution science-based legacy for the elimination of worthless Sparrows and the domino effect we have today in Nature
And if you think such scientific ignorance & arrogance is limited to China and a  thing of the past, think again:
Fabricating Unscientific Fables for Corporate Business Interests 

"Chinese peasants were encouraged to shoot sparrows out
 of the sky during the Four Pests Campaign"

Youtube: The Great Sparrow campaign documentary
The Great Leap Forward, 1958-61
When China Wiped Out the Common Sparrow And Slit Its Own Throat (1958)
Four Pests Campaign
 Fast Forward to Modern Times & Sparrows are in sharp decline all over the globe
USA Today: Researchers stumped over decline of sparrow population
Where have the sparrows gone? - The Hindu

Yeah, you're not the only one. We can't believe the pervasive apathy either Mr Sparrow!
Climate Changes brought on by rising CO2 levels reduce protein in crucial pollen source for bees

Photo by Ivar Leidus
Interesting research about goldenrod pollen containing much less protein because of increasing CO2 levels. Bees are taking hits at every turn, they just can't seem to get a break. As usual, I found the article while interesting and informative, but I walk away with far more questions which have to do with the peripheral view of things. While Goldenrod the plant is studied, what about other plants ? What effect does less protein content have with plant reporduction for future generations of various plant species ? Where does epigenetic or genomic imprinting fit into all of this ? Will the genes of these newer seeds produced under the new  abnormal conditions make them weaker than previous plants ? As a result will these, though wild, be more suseptible to insect and pathogen attacks ? Okay, sure, I'm full of "Yeah buts ???"
Quotes from the Purdue University article 
"Researchers found that the overall protein concentration of goldenrod pollen fell about one-third from the onset of the Industrial Revolution to the beginning of the 21st century."
"Previous studies have shown that increases in carbon dioxide can lower the nutritional value of plants such as wheat and rice -- staple crops for much of the global human population -- but this study is the first to examine the effects of rising CO2 on the diet of bees. "
"Native bee species and honeybees rely on flowering plants for energy and nutrition. While nectar is the primary energy source for bee colonies, pollen is the sole source of protein for bees. Pollen is essential for the development of bee larvae and helps maintain bees' immunity to pathogens and parasites."
(Source - Purdue University) 
Of course all along some have assured us that trees, shubs and most other plants will benefit by the higher levels of CO2s. The reasoning of course was that plants breathe CO2s while exhaling oxygen. The reverse opposite of us and other animals. And what about the effects on us if plants nutrition goes down ? That's okay, the biotechs say they will fix all the seeds. Funny, not one of them has clue one about how to reverse climate change, but they know how to counter it. They also refuse to admit they are a huge part of the bigger problem which brought us climate change.
""The impact of carbon emissions on the nutritional value of our food supply is something people need to be aware of. This issue isn't just relevant to honeybees and people -- it will probably affect thousands or even millions of other plant-eating species around the world. We don't yet know how they'll deal with it."
Not exactly new findings. Here is a study from the Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science in 2014 
Using bees to help deliver biological control agents to eliminate crop diseases could potentially sicken or kill couriers or nontarget insects and plants
And you people wondered where Hollywood got all their Sci-Fi World ideas!


One strategy for keeping farm crops healthy involves treating them with biological control agents such as bacteria, viruses or fungi that incapacitate pests or diseases. Some producers have begun using bees to help deliver control agents to crops by having them walk through powder containing the agents before heading out on their flower-foraging flights. The extent to which the approach could sicken or kill couriers or nontarget insects and plants is currently largely unknown. But here is some interesting news which may provide an organic approach, but no one knows for sure. I would like to hope that this could work. It evenhas potential for the Organic Farming practices industry. Unfortunately in the shadows lurks the usual industrial suspects spying out this technology which is being touted for its ability to work with Mother Nature and more than likely end up as just another tool of some giant agro-industrial complex. On an interesting side note, I do recognize many of the biological controls listed, some being mycorrhizal. Especial Trichoderma on Strawberries could help if the chemicals could be eliminated. Strawberries are one of the most synthetically sprayed crops.
Update April 26, 2016
Brilliant new beehive harnesses solar energy to exterminate the colony’s worst enemy

Bee Vectoring Technology (BVT)
Springer Link: Entomovectoring in plant protection
Youtube: BVT Explained
BICOPOLL: Managing bees for delivering biological control agents and improved pollination in berry and fruit cultivation
For a fun read on flowers pollinators and other insects, try this blog like by Chateau Moorhen - Millymollymandy

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Golden Opportunities for Habitat Restoration after Wildfires in Deserts

Many conservation & habitat restoration ideas which are badly needed, would also provide work employment for many after such wildfires, but such mergency readiness planning is just too logical and that's not exactly how this world works. The outdoor jobs would also be a welcomed solution particularly for today's modern  youths who are ecologically challenged which is a condition brought on by Nature Deficit Disorder.

This photo provided by the Mohave Valley Fire District shows a fast
moving brush fire in Mohave Valley, Ariz., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.
 (Photo: Aossciated Press)

I woke up and read the News headlines in today's online San Diego Union Tribune about the potential for major fire hazard this year in San Diego County in California where El Nino didn't exactly go so well in SoCall as Scientists had predicted. The journalist mentioned how rains which brought averages to normal did nothing but make the brush wet and annual weeds grow big everywhere. This was followed by my reading updates on the Oklahoma/Kansa fire which is still going. But then there was yet another massive fire in the news and it was a desert wildfire at Topock Arizona which started early in the morning and jumped across the wide and wet Colorado River to the California side. Temps were in the 90s F (30s C), but winds were only 10 to 15 mph. Not exactly Santa Ana huricane type winds, but then fire also creates it's own wind storms within. Still, jumping the wide Colorado is incredible. Here are some pics below of the 1,438 acre wildfire. 

A wildfire flareup near Needles, Calif. on Wednesday.
San Bernardino County Fire Department photo via the
 Associated Press

These falmes are huge and burning in almost strictly moncultured invasive Tamarisk forests which have pushed out all other native vegetation along both sides of the Colorado River and backwater lagoons. For over two decades when I worked down in both Imperial and Coachella Valleys and also along the Colorado River at Yuma AZ and Bythe CA, I would see how easily a Tamarisk Wildfire would explode in the desert and rival anything people accused native chaparral of doing during fire storms. Here is some AP fire video footage with no sound: 
AP - Raw: Big Wildfire Near Arizona-California Border

A wildfire began in the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge.
 (Source: Mohave Valley Fire District)

This event for me was reminiscent of what took place this past August 2015 near the same region at Topock AZ and Needles CA. That fire was much bigger and had higher winds pushing the flames north through intense overgrown invasive Tamarisk forests. 

ABC 15 News
Here is a ABC15 news map of the fire which started on the Arizona side across from Needles California at Topock and burned in a northeasterly direction towards Oatman Arizona on old Route 66.

(Source: Mohave County Division of Emergency Management)
I have provided some vidoes at the bottom which will explain why Tamarisk fires burn so fiercely. More than other native desert shrubs they create huge build up on dander underneath their canopies which easily catch fire. Might as well be another invasive called Cheatgrass.

Mojave Fire aftermath August 2015
After wildfires are golden opportunities that should not be passed up. I won't write any more on this as I have done so from the passed few years alreaady, but I have provided info in the links below.

Potential for extreme Wildfire with Tamarisk Forests
Wildfire on Arizona-California border grows to 1,400+ acres; 2 RV parks evacuated
Aug 11, 2015: Wildfire Evacuation Order Lifted For 900 Homes In Arizona

Important references and videos on Tamarisk (Salt Cedar) removal and desert riparian habitat restoration
Mesquite Dunes: Practical Solution to Tamarisk Removal & Replacement

Turning Badlands & Wastelands into Productive Wonderlands
Wastelands to Wonderlands - Part II
Lessons From a Mesquite Dune Project
Deep Irrigation Methods for Training Deeper Rooting networks

Removal and Control of Tamarisk Forests
AgriLife Research expert: Salt Cedar beetle damage widespread after warm summer
Video: Salt Cedar Beetle damge in the High Plains
Video: IPM: Salt Cedar Project
Video: Salt Cedar Beetles (10/26/13)