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Flavonol Profile as a Sun Exposure Assessor for Grapes

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a solar radiation assessment method for grapes that uses a flavonol profile. This method can be done using either HPLC or through the computer processing of the absorption spectra of a purified flavonol extract via a purification kit.

Livestock Triggered Mechanical Valve

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a novel mechanical valve to disperse water for the purposes of cooling livestock. This simple and easy to fabricate valve is actuated by the animal, thus saving water.

Generation of Non-Transgenic, Heritably Gene-Edited Plants

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a guided nuclease based expression system to introduce genetic modifications into plants without the need for tissue culture.

Novel Steroid Hormone Assay

Researchers at the University of California have identified in insects that the membrane transporter, Ecdysone Importer (EcI), is involved in the cellular uptake of the primary steroid hormone ecdysone. Specifically after transport through Ecl, ecdysone’s active form (20-hydroxyecdysone or 20E and related ecdysteroids) enters its target cells and binds to the ecdysone receptor (EcR), which forms a heterodimer with another nuclear receptor and activates transcription of multiple genes involved in molting and metamorphosis. This new discovery of Ecl’s role counters the prevailing consensus that steroid hormones diffuse through cell membranes.  This will enable the screening of new compounds that interact with Ecl.  Such new compounds may be used for insect pest control. Fig. 1 membrane transporters (blue) guide steroid hormones (blue dots) into cells. This new discovery counters the conventionally held scientific consensus that steroid hormones passively diffuse through cell membranes.   Fig. 2 EcI mutants (bottom) were not able to enter into metamorphosis when compared to the control (top).

The Bic Inhibitor Of Cry-Cry And Cry-Cib Oligomerization/ Clustering

UCLA researchers in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology have discovered two Arabidopsis proteins, BIC1 and BIC2, that are capable of inhibiting light-dependent dimerization of cryptochrome (CRY) molecules. These BICs can be used as an improved drug screening platform through controlled, titratable, label-free and reversible protein – protein interactions.

Plants Resistant to Fungal Disease

University of California, Riverside researcher Prof. Hailing Jin and her colleagues have developed plants that are resistant to Botrytis cineria and Verticillium dahlia. These plants are genetically engineered to silence fungal pathogens that transfer “virulent” small RNA effectors to the plant that cause disease.  This has led to the development of plants that are resistant to Botrytis cineria and Verticillium dahlia. Fig. 1 shows fruits (bottom) with dramatic reductions in gray mold disease. Gray mold disease is caused by Botrytis cineria. The bottom fruits were sprayed with small RNA (sRNA) against Botrytis cineria pathogens dicer-like 1 & 2 (BcDCL). The top fruits were sprayed with water and this conferred no protection against gray mold disease. Immunity to pathogens may be genetically engineered into plants to express BcDCL-1 and BcDCL-2.

Rapid, Sensitive Detection of Nucleic Acid Sequences in Environmental Samples

UCLA Researchers at the California NanoSystems Institute have developed a methodology that permits PCR-based detection of nucleic acid sequences in soil that does not require the isolation of DNA.

Early Diagnosis and Treatment for Citrus Greening Disease

University of California, Riverside researcher, Prof. Hailing Jin, has shown that several citrus small RNAs are induced upon infection by Candidatius Liberibacter asiaticus (Las).  These miRNAs and siRNAs would enable the early diagnosis of HLB in citrus trees and nursery stocks.  In addition to the identification of the miRNA biomarker, Prof. Jin also discovered that treating Las infected trees with phosphorus oxyanion improved fruit production.  These studies of the improvement in yield in HLB infected citrus was demonstrated in a 3-year field trial in Florida.  Fig. 1 shows the relative expression levels of miRNA399 in HLB infected citrus. Infected trees express high levels of miRNA 399. Fig. 2 shows leaves from trees that did or did not receive phosphorus oxyanion treatment over a one year period. Leaves treated with phosphorus oxyanion are healthier than leaves from untreated trees.

Method to Develop a Stable Pluripotent Bovine Embryonic Stem Cell Line

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a method to produce stable pluripotent bovine embryonic stem cells.

Fish Tank Effluent Sampling System

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a valve system to collect effluent waste from fish in a closed recirculating aquaponic system (RAS).

Gene Drive System to Control D. suzukii Flies

Prof. Omar Akbari and his lab at UCR have developed a gene drive system using a synthetic maternal effect dominant embryonic arrest element (Medea) to control D. suzukii.  The engineered Medea element is a maternal toxin coupled to a tightly linked embryonic “antidote”.   Female D. suzukii transformed with the Medea element and antidote deposit a toxin into all oocytes.  Should the embryo inherit a Medea element, it may inhibit the toxin’s lethality by expressing miRNAs as an antidote that targets the toxin.  Embryos without a Medea element are not able to counter the effects of the toxin and do not survive past the embryonic stage.The lab has also tested the transgenic D. suzukii Medea in eight geographically distinct populations and showed that the overall transmission rate of the Medea element in each population was 94.2%.  This suggests that D. suzukii Medea should be able to drive robust population replacement and cause a population crash by spreading Medea through a population and making it infertile.

A Highly Error-Prone Orthogonal Replication System For Targeted Continuous Evolution In Vivo

Inventors at UC Irvine have engineered an orthogonal DNA replication system capable of rapid, accelerated continuous evolution. This system enables the directed evolution of specific biomolecules towards user-defined functions and is applicable to problems of protein, enzyme, and metabolic pathway engineering.

Bacteria from Medicago Root Nodules as Potentialy Useful PPB (Plant Probiotic Bacteria) for Agriculture

UCLA researchers in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology have discovered new species of plant probiotic bacteria to enhance plant growth for agricultural purposes.

Breast Milk as a Source, Incubation/Storage Medium, and Delivery System for Infant Mucosal Immunity Bacteriophage

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a method to harvest and enrich symbiotic bacteriophage to promote bacterial immunity.

Personal Use Colorimetric Fumigant Sensors

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed paper based sensors that rapidly detect low concentration of fumigants in the air.

Novel Method to Identify Unknown Viruses

Prof. Shou-wei Ding and colleagues at UCR have developed a new method for virus discovery that is independent of either amplification or purification of viral particles. Virus-derived siRNAs and piRNAs are produced by the host immune system as an antiviral response to viral infection. These viral siRNAs and piRNAs are overlapping in sequence and can be assembled back into long continuous fragments of the infecting viral RNA genome. A researcher may sequence the total small RNAs of 18 to 29 nucleotides in length in a disease sample and search a public database of viral sequences using the contiguous sequences assembled from the small RNAs to identify a new or known virus with homology to all or part of a known viral genome in the database.

Detection of Concealed Damage in Raw Nuts

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a nondestructive method for identifying raw nuts with concealed damage.

Production of Glycolipid PEFAs from Yeasts

Method of using basidiomycetous yeasts to convert carbohydrates to glycolipid biosurfactants

Method to Control the Spread of Mosquitos Carrying the Zika Virus by a Split Trans-Complementing Gene-Drive System for Suppressing Aedes aegypti Mosquitos

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is known to transmit dengue fever, yellow fever, chikungunya virus, and Zika virus which have a worldwide impact on people’s health. Moreover, both Chikungunya and Zika virus were recently introduced into the western hemisphere and are poised to sweep throughout the areas in the range of mosquitos with the potential of infecting people who live in these broad areas. Attempts to eradicate these diseases by eliminating the Aedes aegypti mosquito by conventional use of spraying insecticides has met with limited success. So, in the absence of effective mosquito abatement, vaccines may provide the best strategy of preventing disease. Currently, there are vaccines for Yellow Fever and Dengue Fever (undergoing further testing); no vaccines exist for either Chikungunya or Zika virus at present. In the absence of such vaccines, UC San Diego researchers have developed a novel approach to control the spread of mosquitos.

Development Of Pheromone-Assisted Techniques To Improve Efficacy Of Insecticide Baits Targeting Urban Pest And Species

Background: The pest control industry incurs an estimated $1.7B in damages every year. Current pest management techniques result in insecticide runoff and environmental contamination, which calls for improved bait technologies. Since most urban pests of interest use pheromones for organization and coordination of their colonies, many researchers have explored the possibility of using synthetic trail pheromones as an alternative strategy to mitigate this issue.   Brief Description: UCR Researchers have developed insecticidal baits that use highly target-specific control technologies. This novel pheromone-assisted technique (PAT) has little impact on the environment and non-target organisms. By combining the attractant pheromone of ants and existing bait matrices, they increased discovery and consumption of the baits by foraging ants, thus maximizing efficacy of the baits applied. Moreover, they have produced significant results at extremely low concentrations of the pheromone-assisted bait in comparison to the ones that are currently being used.

Novel Synthesis of 2,5- Dimethylfuran from 5- (Chloromethyl)furfural

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed an efficient synthesis of 2,5- dimethylfuran (DMF) from 5- (chloromethyl)furfural (CMF).

Genotype Screening of Livestock Animals to Predict Desirable Traits for Meat and Milk Production

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a method for using single polynucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for screening livestock animals to predict which animals will have desirable carcass, feedlot traits as well as fatty acid composition in the milk and carcass. Identifying these traits will allow producers to selectively breed and manage animals based on desired characteristics, thereby maximizing productivity and profitability in commercial meat production operations.

Small RNAs From Fungal Pathogents Act As Effector Molecules To Suppress Host Immunity

Background: Plant-pathogen relationships have been studied meticulously for many years because fungi are notorious for causing detrimental yield losses. Many have taken a biotechnological approach to combatting fungal infections by genetically engineering fungal-resistant genes into plants. The market segment of genomic-enabled products is projected to grow 10% annually and reach $38.6B by 2019.    Brief Description: UCR Researchers have discovered the underlying mechanism of action of Botrytis cinerea, a fungal pathogen that causes grey mold disease in various plants and crops. They’ve identified novel non-protein effectors, small RNAs, that silence specific genes in the host. These fungal sRNAs are transferred into the host cells to suppress its immunity and achieve full infection. With this insight, we can genetically engineer plants to successfully combat harmful pathogenic attacks by inhibiting small RNA effectors.  

Novel Herbicide Fungicide

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have identified a novel compound that acts as both a herbicide and a fungicide.

Novel Diagnostic Methods for Citrus Stubborn Disease

Background: Citrus greening disease, also known as huanglongbing (HLB), is a stubborn bacterial disease caused by insect-transmission and phloem-limited bacterial pathogens. It has been a serious threat to the US citrus industry, decimating many citrus trees and costing the economy $11B in damages annually. The most commonly used method of nucleic-acid based pathogen detection has issues with low-titer (low concentration of antibodies to antigen) and cannot handle the erratic distribution of the pathogens.   Brief Description: UCR researchers have developed a proof-of-concept for using secreted proteins of bacterial pathogens to detect bacterial diseases. These abundant and stable secreted proteins serve as robust detection markers for immunoassay-based diagnostics. Compared to current methods, this novel method is more high-throughput, economical, and able to monitor the pathogens dispersed throughout the plant transportation system.

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