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Climate change likely drove the extinction of North America’s largest animals

A new study suggests that the extinction of North America’s largest mammals was not driven by over-hunting by rapidly expanding human populations following their entrance into the Americas. Instead, the findings, based on a new statistical modelling approach, suggest that populations of large mammals fluctuated in response to climate change, with drastic decreases of temperatures around 13,000 years ago initiating the decline and extinction of these massive creatures.

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Harvard alumna and researchers ID gene critical to floral nectar spurs

Scientists discover gene that directs spur development, name it after NBA Spurs coach. In the paper, the scientists identify the gene critical to controlling the development of these spurs in the common columbine, or Aquilegia. They found it acts as a master regulator that appears to control the creation of the spurs by regulating the activity of other genes, the way a coach decides who plays and when.

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Short-term moisture removal can eliminate downy mildew of spinach

Scientists at the University of Arkansas explored the relationship between available moisture and disease establishment and in a recent article they demonstrated that removing moisture decreased both spore survival and disease. Even a 30-minute dry period reduced spore germination to almost zero. Spores were unable to recover and cause disease on spinach.

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