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WSU News genetics

‘Sleep gene’ offers clues about why we need our zzzs

By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer

Jason GerstnerSPOKANE, Wash. – Washington State University researchers have seen how a particular gene is involved in the quality of sleep experienced by three different animals, including humans. The gene and its function open a new avenue for scientists exploring how sleep works and why animals need it so badly. » More …

Soybean nitrogen breakthrough could help feed the world

By Will Ferguson, College of Arts & Sciences

mechthild-tegederPULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University biologist Mechthild Tegeder has developed a way to dramatically increase the yield and quality of soybeans. » More …

Genetic mechanism found for fish adaptations to pollution

By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer

Kelley-J-2013-80PULLMAN, Wash. – A Washington State University biologist has found the genetic mechanism that lets a fish live in toxic, acidic water. The discovery opens new insights into the functioning of other “extremophiles” and how they adapt to their challenging environments. » More …

Harnessing wild yeasts to produce refined wines

By Scott Weybright, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

Xuefei-Wang-microscope-webPULLMAN, Wash. – Wine comes from grapes, but the alcohol comes from yeast. Most wine is made by fermenting grapes with specifically chosen species of yeast, leading to predictable wines for vintners. » More …

Rock Doc column: Wake up and smell the genes

By E. Kirsten Peters, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

peters-e-k-2010-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Like millions of Americans, my day starts by plugging in the coffeepot. In my case, it’s an old fashioned percolator. It clears its throat and brews my coffee while I rub sleep out of my eyes and brush my teeth. » More …

Finding holds implications for plant defense, medicines

By Scott Weybright, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

basil-80PULLMAN, Wash. – A new discovery in basil plants could help researchers understand how plants protect themselves from disease and pests and how they produce medicinal compounds. » More …

Center helps scientists measure light to find mutations

By Scott Weybright, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

False-color-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Plants use light during photosynthesis. But they also give off light, though in amounts so small we can’t see it. The amount of light changes based on the plant’s environment and genetic makeup. » More …

$1.45M grant: Preserving genome stability to fight disease

By Judith Van Dongen, WSU Spokane Office of Research

ChaiSPOKANE, Wash. – Molecular biologist Weihang Chai, an associate professor of medical sciences, has received a five-year $1.45 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the potential role of the CST protein complex in preserving genome stability. » More …