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first_img East Africa facing massive swarms of locusts Marjorie Liénard had a classic eureka moment in the summer of 2018 when, as a postdoctoral researcher, the experiment that could one day help fully probe the molecular details of insect vision finally paid off.“It didn’t work the first time, and it didn’t work the second time. Maybe it worked the fourth time — I don’t know,” said Liénard, who is now an associate with the Department of  Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB) and a researcher at Lund University in Sweden. “What I do know is that I did a happy dance in the lab at 11 p.m. Some students asked, ‘What’s happening to you?’ and I said, ‘It works! It works!’”The study led by Liénard and Harvard Professor Naomi Pierce is the focus of a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). In it, the researchers describe a novel method for isolating light-sensitive proteins found in the eyes of insects — called opsins — and detailing their molecular history, structure, and function to determine what colors an insect can see.The researchers used the method, which can be done in vitro via lab assays, to discover previously unknown opsins and their evolutionary history in the visual system of an iconic type of lycaenid butterfly, Eumaeus atala, also known as the Atala hairstreak.The team found a novel opsin that evolved from detecting the color green to perceiving red light that borders on near-infrared vision. The analysis uncovered that the opsin protein was altered (or tuned) to perceive the red light, which gives off a longer wavelength of light. The study also uncovered an opsin to make up for that change so the butterfly would still be able to detect green light. This opsin protein evolved from the duplicated copy of one that typically detects ultraviolet blue and was similarly tuned to be able to detect a longer light wavelength.In many insects, color plays a big role in matters such as mate choice or flower preference. Certain butterflies, for instance, tend to gather nectar from red flowers, and, in general, insects are known to be sensitive to a range of wavelengths of light. Researchers have long known the DNA sequences that code for opsin proteins involved in visual sensitivities. What’s been missing was a set of tools to precisely probe the functional aspects of those proteins so that they could determine what the insects actually see.The team’s findings and their tool give a clearer picture for understanding the evolutionary twists and turns that have shaped the insect visual system. Most notably, though, they allow scientists to study the full visual spectrum of all invertebrates, since the technique can express opsins that range from detecting short ultraviolet wavelengths of light to those detecting near-infrared, long wavelengths.“So far we have only tested this in insects, in particular butterflies and moths, but the interesting point is that all invertebrates share the same kind of opsin receptors,” Liénard said. “By characterizing these insect opsins, we can be reasonably confident that it will work in all invertebrates, whether it’s crustaceans, mollusks, spiders, and, of course, other insects.”The potential applications of this newly created system has the researchers excited (enough even to dance). It allows them to isolate and test the functional properties of insect opsins in cell cultures outside the individual test organism — in other words, without the interference of other eye components. And all of this will give them new insights into the evolutionary process.“Once we understand how the genes making up the light-sensitive opsins in insect eyes function, we can start to retrace the evolutionary transitions involved in adaptive color vision across lineages,” said Pierce, Hessel Professor of Biology in OEB and Curator of Lepidoptera in the Museum of Comparative Zoology.The new system pinpoints in an insect’s genome the specific base-pair changes that are responsible for fine-tuning their visual proteins and the visual light wavelengths to which they are sensitive.For instance, the group is now able to see how even a single amino acid change in an opsin protein can alter what an insect sees. It also allows them to determine how the vision genes have evolved over time.Similar tools existed to do this for short wavelengths of light in invertebrates, but not for longer red wavelengths of light. Other labs have tried to make such assays before, but they were unstable, the researchers noted.To study the evolution of red color vision in lycaenid butterflies, which are the second-largest family of butterflies in the world, the team characterized and purified all visual opsin genes for multiple species of butterflies in their assays. They then analyzed the opsin molecules in the Atala hairstreak looking for consistent patterns of base-pair changes. Next, they mutated the sequences of those opsins to test how they changed the color of light the butterfly captured.They discovered the opsin-absorbing red light in the Atala hairstreak was used to perceive green light, and how the butterfly maintained its broad visual spectrum when that opsin went from detecting green light to red. It was previously believed that the red-detecting opsin perceived green light. The analysis showed that another opsin, one that detected blue light, was duplicated and then became tuned to better detect green light.The new analysis makes clear genomes aren’t always what they seem.“The genome may tell you what opsin genes the butterfly has, but that still won’t tell you what butterflies actually see,” Pierce said. “The beauty of this system is that if you put the opsin into a cell construct, you can use it to tell you physiologically what the butterflies actually see.” Related Tracking an invasive ant species to its native land Harvard researcher’s work shines light on evolution, ways to deal with insect Creation of big data tool leads to new ideas on form and function of insect eggs center_img Researcher looks to sequence the pest’s genome as part of push to find a safer alternative to dangerous pesticides Debunking old hypotheses The publication marks the end of a four-year study and can be traced back to work on butterfly eyes in the 1970s and 1980s by Gary Bernard, one of the paper’s co-authors, when he was an assistant professor at MIT. Bernard is now a retired electrical engineer from the University of Washington.Other co-authors on the paper include Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute and MIT; Nanfang Yu from Columbia University; Michael Calonje from the Montgomery Botanical Center; Harvard Ph.D. students Wendy A. Valencia-Montoya, Richard Rabideau Childers, and Shayla Salzman; Harvard postdoctoral fellows Jean-Marc Lassance and Melissa Whitaker; and undergraduate researchers Siliang Song, Dajia Ye, and Adriana Stephenson.This work was supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.last_img read more


first_imgUruguay has left Luis Suarez on the bench for its opening World Cup game against Costa RicaWelcome to the LIVE coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2014, Group D clash between Uruguay vs Costa Rica from Arena Castelao stadium in Fortaleza, Brazil. Costa Rica came from behind to stun Uruguay 3-1 Saturday at the World Cup, opening the tough Group D with a major upset.MATCH COMMENTARY Costa Rica entered the tournament as one of the biggest underdogs to make it out of the group stage after being drawn with Uruguay, Italy and England, but showed no signs of being in awe as it scored three goals in the second half to seriously dent the South Americans’ hopes of advancing. Uruguay had to leave star striker Luis Suarez on the bench but went ahead when Edinson Cavani scored a penalty in the 24th minute. However, Costa Rica fought back after the break and lone striker Joel Campbell drive in a ball headed down by Celso Borges in the 54th to beat goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.Oscar Duarte dived past the outstretched foot of Uruguay’s Cristian Stuani to head in the winner for the Central Americans, and substitute Marcos Urena added the third with six minutes left, catching out Muslera to slot the ball in from a tight angle.It was Costa Rica’s first World Cup victory since beating China in the group stage in 2002.”What counted is that we stayed calm and kept creating opportunities against a very tough team,” Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto said. “We have great respect for Uruguay but we weren’t that impressed tonight and we able to play our game the way we wanted. So it was a big win for us.”advertisementUruguay started with striker Diego Forlan alongside Cavani but the 35-year-old made little impact and was substituted on the hour for Nicolas Lodeiro.Uruguay – the highest-ranked team in the group – ended their disastrous night with 10 men after Maxi Pereira was sent off for a clumsy injury time foul on Campbell. Pereira will be suspended from the next game against England.”They were simply very good. In the second half they just took over – and they took the tactical advantage,” Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said. “Football means that sometimes you have to lose. You can’t lose heart, you just have to improve … We made mistakes today that we haven’t made for a long time.”Suarez is still recovering from knee surgery and never came off the bench – indicating that the Liverpool forward is still far from match fitness.  Teams(from):Uruguay: Fernando Muslera, Diego Lugano, Diego Godin, Walter Gargano, Cristian Rodriguez, Diego Forlan, Cristian Stuani, Maxi Pereira, Egidio Arevalo, Edinson Cavani, Martin CaceresCosta Rica: Keylor Navas, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Michael Umana, Celso Birges, Oscar Duarte, Christian Bolanos, Joel Campbell, Bryan Ruiz, Junior Diaz, Cristian Gamboa, Yeltsin Tejedalast_img read more


first_imgTouch Football Australia (TFA) is seeking suitably qualified applicants for an opportunity in a Sport Operations Coordinator role in its WA branch office, Perth. Applications for this opportunity close at 5.00pm WST on Tuesday, 25 June 2013. For further information or to lodge your application, please email [email protected] or click on the following attachment to view the Position Description.   Related Filessops_sport_operations_positions_01-pdfRelated LinksCareer Opportunitylast_img


first_imgAgent of AC Milan midfielder Locatelli says he’s happy at Sassuoloby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveThe agent of AC Milan midfielder Manuel Locatelli says he’s happy at Sassuolo.Locatelli joined Sassuolo on loan last summer with an obligatory purchase option.“He had the courage to leave Milan,” Stefano Castelnovo told Gazzetta dello Sport.“It wasn’t a choice for everyone, but in my opinion it was a winning one. He’s grateful to his former team, but it was right to look forward.“Sassuolo will buy him for €12m. After that we’ll see, but I really believe he’ll stay for at least another season.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img


first_imgBaker Mayfield runs the ball against Georgia.(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)Baker Mayfield likes to dance. In late May, a video was posted of the Oklahoma quarterback showing off his “Whip.” It wasn’t bad. The OU quarterback was back at it recently. This time, he was dancing inside the Sooners’ Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Again, he was impressive. Also here’s a fun video I took of Baker Mayfield and friends. So, BOOMER. @BM_ShakeIT11 pic.twitter.com/b23VQ50G2e— Caroline Kemp (@caroline_kemp) July 18, 2015If Mayfield’s QB skills are anything close to his dancing skills, he’ll probably be Bob Stoops’ starter this fall.last_img


first_imgShe said she does not think it was a good idea to ban oil-tanker traffic on the northern B.C. coast, wants to see Trudeau do more to push the construction of pipelines and would like to see Canadian oil and gas promoted as a comparatively clean source of energy around the world.Canadian voters are thinking about climate change and the environment more than ever before, according to most public opinion polls, with scientific findings and personal experiences with extreme weather-related events bringing the issue to the fore.Still, Elections Canada warned some environmental advocacy groups this summer that any paid communications about the truth of climate change could be considered a partisan issue once the election is called, because Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada, is promoting a platform that denies climate change is caused by human activity.The Canada Elections Act restricts third-party advertising during campaigns, affecting any ads about issues that any political party brings up once the election is called. The rules do not prevent third parties from talking about the issues, but if they spend more than $500 on an ad then they have to register as a third-party advertiser trying to influence how people vote.Miller said the women behind the registered third-party group did not create it to push their own agenda.“Everybody has their own issues, and we want them to share their issues, so we don’t want it to be all about us,” she said.“Mostly, we want women to be involved,” she said. “We want them to feel they have a safe platform to discuss things that are important to them, without being judged.”—Follow @smithjoanna on TwitterJoanna Smith, The Canadian Press “They came together because they were concerned about what’s been happening in the country over the last four years,” said Miller, the spokeswoman for the group, who noted the carbon tax brought in by the Liberal government Justin Trudeau was one of the shared concerns.“We had our own personal things that we were looking at, but then we started to say, ‘I wonder how the rest of Canada is feeling? What are other women thinking?’ ” she said. “Maybe this conversation should be bigger.”The organization is launching its campaign in Calgary next week, encouraging women to take part in an online conversation by following the hashtag #canadapoweredbywomen, promoted by a similarly named Instagram profile.That account, which had about 2,100 followers as of Tuesday evening, has already begun posting things like tips for how to consume political news, a question asking women to share what their ideal lives would look like in four years, and images of both Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer with their families on the first day of school.The group will also be releasing a report it commissioned from Leger Research, which suggests women are lagging behind men when it comes to how confident they feel talking about important issues in social settings, or trusting their own judgment when it comes to casting their votes.Miller, who sits on the board of directors at Tourmaline Oil Corp., made it clear that the environment — and the ways in which she disagrees with how the Liberal government has been handling the file — is an issue that is important to those who started the group.center_img OTTAWA — A group with roots in the oil and gas industry is encouraging women to talk about politics this fall, even if they hold widely different views.The non-profit organization, called Canada Powered by Women, registered as a third-party advertiser with Elections Canada last month,and has received $32,500 in contributions from several Calgary-based people and businesses so far. That includes $25,000 from Susan Riddell Rose, the CEO of Perpetual Energy Inc., a natural-gas company.Lucy Miller, a former head of the United Way of Calgary, said the idea for the group began when some women got together over the summer and started talking about the Oct. 21 election.last_img read more


My laptop and the brains of those around me liked moving the rook over to h2. From there, it would stare down the juicy far-right column (h-file in chess parlance), which provides a useful conduit into black enemy territory and could have come wide open if some pawns were exchanged. Carlsen did, more or less, the opposite. He moved his king down a square, to g2.Carlsen may have thought that the game was a dead draw and that any move would be a means to that end. He was wrong. The white king on g2 blocked the white rook’s access to the right edge of the board and, possibly, to black’s king. This swung the pendulum swiftly in Karjakin’s favor. “Carlsen played with his hand and not with his brain,” Robert Hess, a grandmaster and chess.com contributor, told me.The Norwegian champ agreed with Hess. “King to g2 is a huge blunder,” a visibly upset Carlsen said at the postgame press conference. Up to this point in the match, Carlsen had generally seemed calm and comfortable, but after this game, he sat disturbed, face in hand, brusquely and testily answering questions. He’d have been halfway to his hotel already, one felt, were it not for his contractual obligations.This blunder may have been due to a clerical error by Carlsen, NRK, Norway’s national broadcaster, reported after the game. Tournament players are required to record on a scoresheet all the moves played during a game. Carlsen, who’s done this many thousands of times, told NRK that he forgot a move earlier in the game. Once a player makes his 40th move, he receives 50 minutes of additional time on his clock. Carlsen received his extra time but initially seemed confused as to why. The king-to-g2 blunder came immediately after, on his 41st move.After Carlsen’s mistake, the players had a full role-reversal, with the Norwegian playing Houdini and the Russian the stifled aggressor. But as the game progressed, Karjakin’s advantage fizzled, Carlsen’s defenses held, and the players agreed to a draw after 51 moves over five hours. The score is tied 2.5-2.5 in this race to 6.5.1Wins are worth 1 point, draws are worth half a point for each player, and losses are worth 0 points.It’s been an impressive streak of draws, but there have been more to open a world championship. Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand fought to eight in a row in 1995, the last time the championship was in New York. But those — only one was longer than 30 moves — pale in comparison to the legendary draws this year. “Gonna be a draw,” a grandmaster texted me as the setting sun cast a red tinge on the East River off lower Manhattan. It was around 5 p.m. on Thursday, and my attention was split between the light filtering through the masts of the tall ships at the pier outside the window and the crucial but lumbering game of chess being played by two geniuses on the other side of the hall. Shortly after 6 p.m., a commotion broke the calm. An official with the World Chess Championship rushed into the press room. The game would end soon, he said, and we should be ready. Sergey Karjakin, the Russian underdog, was winning.This was exciting news indeed. The first four games of the match had ended in draws — two of them epic — between Karjakin and his opponent, the defending world champion and No. 1-rated Magnus Carlsen of Norway. In Thursday’s fifth game, it seemed, there would be blood.In the previous three games, the two players had opened the game with a set of moves called “the Ruy Lopez” — also known as “the Spanish.” On Thursday, they moved across the Mediterranean to play the “Giuoco Piano,” also known as “the Italian.” “Giuoco piano” means “quiet game,” but the opening is known for creating a tense, maneuvering contest. White aims to control the board’s center while black tries not to lose the battle for space.Karjakin, handling the black pieces, came out of this opening battle slightly ahead, according to the computer chess engine Stockfish and a preponderance of onlookers in New York. This was a rarity, as the Russian had previously been relying on costive, defensive goal-line stands simply to stay alive in the championship match.But on the 20th move, a minor theme of the previous games re-emerged, blunting Karjakin’s edge. He faced the following position: Stockfish thought the better play for Karjakin was to move the black bishop back a square, from f5 to g6, which would reveal the black rook and apply further pressure on an already strained board. Karjakin’s human brain, however, preferred trading a bishop for a knight by capturing on c5. As in previous games, Karjakin played more passively than might have been optimal, going with the move that released some of the game’s tension but also perhaps some of his advantage along with it.Nevertheless, the Russian would get another unexpected crack at victory. The game proceeded, quite level, for another 20 moves — solid grandmaster chess — and another draw seemed inevitable. (Hence the text and my staring at the ships.) Eventually, however, Carlsen (playing white) erred when facing the following position on the 41st move: Viswanathan Anand contemplates his move against Gary Kasparov at the World Chess Championship in 1995. JON LEVY / AFP / Getty Images I’d witnessed some 18 hours of play over the previous three game days. On the train on my way home from the venue, the man sitting next to me was staring at his smartphone. He was playing chess.Game 6 begins Friday afternoon. I’ll be covering the rest of the games here and on Twitter.CORRECTION (Nov. 18, 10:47 a.m.): An earlier version of this article misstated the amount of additional time players receive after their 40th move. It is 50 minutes, not an hour. read more


OSU redshirt sophomore middle blocker Blake Lesson goes to serve in the set against No. 4 Long Beach State. OSU won 3-1. Credit: Aliyyah Jackson | Lantern ReporterIn the No. 1 Ohio State men’s volleyball team’s journey to rewrite the record books, all roads lead through No. 12 Ball State.When the Ohio State men’s volleyball team lost in five sets on Feb. 6, 2016, no one thought much of it. It was a close-fought match between two top 15 opponents.That was it.At that point, not many thought OSU would win the national championship. Even fewer thought that the Buckeyes would threaten a school record that has stood for almost half a century.On Thursday in Muncie, Indiana, No. 1 OSU goes for win No. 33 to set the longest win streak in program history when it takes on No. 12 Ball State — the same team that gave the Buckeyes their last defeat.Ball State and OSU’s rivalry goes back to the creation of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. The two teams are the only two that still exist from the beginning of the conference. Ironically enough, after going 24-0 in the 1969 season and 8-0 to start the 1970 season, the Buckeyes were defeated by the Cardinals to end their 32-win streak.“When you’ve got that much history, there’s a rivalry there for sure, naturally,” said OSU coach Pete Hanson. “Ball State — I’m sure they circle the Ohio State matches on their calendar every year and I think our guys do too.”OSU comes into the matchup against Ball State with 15 wins over opponents ranked in the top 12 nationally, with six of those wins over teams in the top 5. In this season alone, the Buckeyes have topped teams currently ranked No. 2, No. 3, No. 7 and No. 15 in the country.Hanson credits the team’s success and win streak to the team’s growing maturity over the past two seasons.“What I saw — after that loss to Ball State — I saw somewhat of a renewed commitment by a lot of those older guys — by Gabriel, Miles, Christy — to say we didn’t like this feeling and we’re going to work very hard to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Hanson said. “Just through their efforts every day in practice and in the weight room, how they approach matches, the attention to detail on the game plan — those are things veterans do that kind of go unnoticed by, as a coaching staff you notice them.”Offensively, OSU will need continued attacking success from team leaders, senior opposite hitter Miles Johnson and senior outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen, to overcome the highly ranked blocking efforts from Ball State’s junior middle hitter Matt Walsh. Walsh ranks second nationally in blocks per set with 1.29. In last season’s losing affair, the Buckeyes won the first two sets by a combined 20 points, only to lose the match in the fifth set, 16-14.“We all looked at that loss and obviously, no one liked it,” Johnson said. “I think that prior to that loss we were on a good winning streak and then that happened. So, then we had to figure out ways where that wouldn’t happen again.”The team found ways to prevent losses over the 23-game win streak, which contained an avenged win against Ball State as well as MIVA and NCAA titles, to close out the 2016 season.In addition to tying the school record for consecutive wins, two other Buckeyes etched their names in school history as both Johnson and Szerszen sit atop the career serving aces list. They are tied at 124.The Buckeyes will be looking to keep make school history against Ball State on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Worthen Arena. read more


first_imgSami Khedira suffered a knock to his knee and was later substituted in the game between Germany and Spain, which has led many people to believe there is a serious issue with his well-being.However, he himself shared that it was just a precautionary measure and there is no reason to worry about anything at all.Franck Ribery, FiorentinaFiorentina owner: “Ribery played better than Ronaldo!” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso was left gushing over Franck Ribery’s performance against Juventus, which he rates above that of even Cristiano Ronaldo’s.Khedira, who is currently a Juve midfielder, provided the assist for Thomas Muller’s goal at the beginning of the second half. He then had a clash with Thiago Alcantara, which is the discussed event. Just a couple of minutes later, in the 53rd one, he was substituted by Ilkay Gundogan, but then went on to calm everybody down via his personal social media.“It’s been a good match against a very tough opponent. We know that it’s never easy against Spain!” Khedira shared in his twitter account, according to Goal. “By the way, don’t worry about my sub: it was only a precautionary measure after I felt a small induration [sic]. But now everything is fine again!”last_img read more

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