Plants & Animals

  • 6 Apr 2000

    Rice research got a boost earlier this week when the biotech company Monsanto announced that it is 2 weeks away from finishing a rough draft of the genome for rice, a crop that feeds half the world's population. For many, the fact that the St.

  • 5 Apr 2000

    WASHINGTON--Wading into one of the most politically charged of scientific issues, a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel today called for fine-tuning the regulation of plants genetically modified to repel pests.

  • 4 Apr 2000

    Next time you scarf down a handful of M&Ms, don't take them for granted. The little morsels don't grow on trees. But the beans that produce chocolate do--at least right now. Cacao trees in Latin America, the prime source of U.S.

  • 22 Feb 2000

    WASHINGTON, D.C.--Suppose you could fuel up your car by dipping a hose into your garden pond. That's roughly the idea behind a decades-old dream of using algae to split water into oxygen and hydrogen, the cleanest fuel there is.

  • 24 Jan 2000

    Scientists have engineered tobacco plants to thrive in heat that would wilt the hardiest strains alive today.

  • 18 Jan 2000

    Dolphins, whales, and other marine mammals keep warm with a thick layer of fat under their skin. This blubber also improves their buoyancy. Now, studies of trained dolphins suggest an additional function: Blubber turns the dolphin's tail into one long spring that helps it swim efficiently.

  • 14 Jan 2000

    While it may be a travesty to colorize Man Ray's classic black-and-white photos, imagine trying to appreciate the work of Jackson Pollock or Piet Mondrian without the benefit of color vision.

  • 23 Nov 1999

    Too many turkeys end up on the table as parched white meat sopped in gravy. The reason is that the breasts dry out before the rest of the bird is cooked through. Leg muscles, for example, are reinforced with connective tissue, tendons and ligaments--gristle, to the tongue.

  • 27 Oct 1999

    The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) last week unveiled an online cornucopia for plant taxonomists: 2500 crisp digital photos of specimens from four vascular plant families.

  • 28 Sep 1999

    PHUKET, THAILAND--Three U.S. agencies will award grants totaling $12.3 million to help speed an international effort to sequence the rice genome. The new support, to be announced next month but outlined last week by U.S.

  • 27 Sep 1999

    Autumn brings heaps of apples, pumpkins, and other crops. Now another harvest is on the horizon, more akin to the plastic fruit on your grandmother's sideboard: Scientists have engineered plants to grow a biodegradable plastic from nothing but sunshine, water, and CO2.

  • 17 Sep 1999

    Today is the 322nd anniversary of the birth of Stephen Hales, an English clergyman known for his careful biological research, particularly on the physiology and growth of plants.

  • 17 Sep 1999

    The leading crop killer and a growing threat to people with weakened immune systems, fungi--particularly some of the more vicious species--can drill into another organism's tissue with astonishing force.

  • 14 Sep 1999

    A new lab procedure may someday eliminate the risk of accidentally creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria during the development of transgenic plants.

  • 9 Sep 1999

    Today is the 262nd anniversary of the birth of Luigi Galvani, an Italian anatomist known for his discovery of electrical conductivity in animals. Galvani made the chance observation, described in 1791, that a frog will twitch if laid out for dissection on a table with a generator.

  • 13 Aug 1999

    Sunday 15 August is the birthday of Sir Arthur George Tansley, an English botanist born in 1871 who was a trailblazer in ecology.

  • 4 Aug 1999

    BALTIMORE--When resources are scarce, plants dole out precious sugars to the cells that need them most. This rationing, scientists have discovered, is influenced by hormones called cytokinins.

  • 20 Jul 1999

    The rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV), endemic in Africa, can destroy just about every plant in a field. Although native African rice strains are resistant to the virus, it can wreak havoc in fields of higher yielding varieties imported from Asia, which have no natural resistance.

  • 13 Jul 1999

    The latest in a rash of attacks on agricultural biotechnology has felled the only genetically modified trees in the United Kingdom. In an ironic twist, the 5-year-old poplars had been engineered to help lessen the amount of chlorine needed to bleach paper.

  • 2 Jun 1999

    Orchids use a crafty blend of pheromones to lure pollen-laden male bees to their flowers, biologists report in tomorrow's Nature. The findings suggest that, like ad agencies the world over, plants have found that sex sells.

  • 21 May 1999

    The man who invented the electrocardiogram was born on this day in 1860.

  • 18 May 1999

    Today would have been the 96th birthday of Frits Went, a Dutch-born American botanist who discovered the role of the plant hormone auxin and paved the way for the development of weed killers, fertilizers, and genetically engineered crops.

  • 17 May 1999


    is the birthday of Elvin Stakman, a U.S. plant pathologist born in 1885 who developed ways to combat crop diseases and helped spur international cooperation in this area.