It has been called the Mount Everest of the genome world, and it has just been scaled. A consortium of more than 200 scientists published the first fully annotated sequence of the wheat genome, a feat they hope will eventually reduce the risk of food scarcity on our planet. Experts said the publicly available research will help breeders improve the nutritional value and disease resistance of the grain, which is the world’s most widely grown crop, contributing about 20 percent of the total calories consumed by humans across the globe. The wheat genome — five times longer than the human genome — is the most complicated plant genome sequenced to date, said Kellye Eversole, director of the International Wheat Genome Consortium.
Tracking birds, animals from space
Spacewalking cosmonauts set up an antenna for tracking birds on Earth and sent a series of tiny satellites flying from the International Space Station. The project is meant to give researchers a way to better understand animal behavior through lifelong monitoring. It will start out tracking blackbirds and turtle doves outfitted with small GPS tags, then move on to other songbirds, fruit bats and bigger wildlife. Researchers also have ear tags for big mammals like gazelle, jaguars, camels and elephants.