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Plant biology professor Ray Ming and his colleagues discovered that papaya cultivation 4,000 years ago likely led to the evolution of hermaphrodite plants, which are favored by growers today.

Cultivated papaya owes a lot to the ancient Maya, research suggests

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:March 17, 2015

A genetic study of papaya sex chromosomes reveals that the hermaphrodite version of the plant, which is of most use to growers, arose as a result of human selection, most likely by the ancient Maya some 4,000 years ago.

Published Date: March 17, 2015


Animated videos teach survival gardening. From left: Carl Burkybile, agricultural director of Healing Hands International, worked with entomology professor Barry Pittendrigh, animator Benjamin Blalock, Center for African Studies assistant director Julia Bello-Bravo and animator Anna Perez Sabater to develop the videos, which HHI distributes around the world.

Survival gardening education goes global via cellphones

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:March 16, 2015

Subsistence farmers in Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean are learning how to construct raised planting beds and install drip irrigation systems to boost their agricultural productivity, conserve water and perhaps even halt the rapid advance of desertification in some drought-prone regions.

Published Date: March 16, 2015


Microbiology professor Steven Blanke is now a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Two Illinois professors elected to American Academy of Microbiology

Author: Austin Keating, News Bureau intern

Published Date:March 12, 2015

Two University of Illinois professors have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology. Steven Blanke and Bryan White are among the 79 microbiologists chosen by their peers for this honor.

Published Date: March 12, 2015


University of Illinois animal biology professor Rebecca Fuller and her colleagues found that killifish females that learn to avoid mating with other species also discriminate among members of their own species.

Female fish that avoid mating with related species also shun some of their own

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:March 5, 2015

A new study offers insight into a process that could lead one species to diverge into two, researchers report in The American Naturalist.

Published Date: March 5, 2015


A new anti-cancer compound, PAC-1, spurs cell death in cancer cells while sparing healthy cells.

Cancer drug first tested in pet dogs begins human trials

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:February 26, 2015

A new drug that prompts cancer cells to self-destruct while sparing healthy cells is now entering phase I clinical trials in humans. The drug, called PAC-1, first showed promise in the treatment of pet dogs with spontaneously occurring cancers, and is still in clinical trials in dogs with osteosarcoma.

Published Date: February 26, 2015


Soil microbes known as rhizobia supply much-needed nitrogen to legumes such as clover (Trifolium species). In return, legumes shelter the rhizobia in nodules on their roots and provide them with carbon.

Long-term nitrogen fertilizer use disrupts plant-microbe mutualisms

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:February 23, 2015

When exposed to nitrogen fertilizer over a period of years, nitrogen-fixing bacteria called rhizobia evolve to become less beneficial to legumes – the plants they normally serve, researchers report in a new study.

Published Date: February 23, 2015