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Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton has announced the creation of new four-year fellowships in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, made possible by a generous gift from William H. Danforth. Danforth hopes the new fellowships will attract highly motivated students to this field of study and foster a culture of intellectual entrepreneurship focused on research and innovation in plant sciences.MORE

Did domesticating a plant typically take a few hundred or many thousands of years? Genetic studies often indicate that domestication traits have a fairly simple genetic basis, which should facilitate their rapid evolution under selection. On the other hand, recent archeological studies of crop domestication have suggested a relatively slow spread and fixation of domestication traits. An article in "The Modern View of Domestication," a special issue of PNAS, tries to resolve the discrepancy.

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A review of recent research on the domestication of large herbivores for "The Modern View of Domestication," a special feature of PNAS, suggests that neither intentional breeding nor genetic isolation were as significant as traditionally thought. 

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Scientists often use things in nature as a model to make new things, such as using birds as models for airplanes. One WUSTL engineer is using a basic cell as a model to make genetically engineered bacteria that would produce biofuel or pharmaceuticals. Tae Seok Moon, PhD, has received a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation for his project, “Engineering Biological Robustness through Synthetic Control.”

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A recent interdisciplinary conference that led to the publication of a special issue of PNAS on domestication raised more questions than it answered. Washington University in St. Louis scientists Fiona Marshall and Ken Olsen, who participated in the conference and contributed to the special issue, discuss some of the key questions that have been raised about this pivotal event in human history.

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Alex Tinianow will receive this year's Harrison D. Stalker Award from the Department of Biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. The award is given annually to a graduating biology major whose undergraduate career combines outstanding scientific scholarship with significant contributions in the arts and humanities.MORE
A WUSTL team, consisting of sophomore Anthony Grebe, junior Patrick Lopatto and freshman Jongwhan Park, placed 10th out of 430 teams in the prestigious Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition. WUSTL students also earned the first perfect score in the Missouri Collegiate Mathematics Competition.MORE
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Susan Killenberg McGinn
Exec. Dir. of University News Service
(314) 935-5254
smcginn@wustl.edu
Diana Lutz
Senior Science Editor
(314) 935-5272
dlutz@wustl.edu