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Plant protection: researchers develop new modular vaccination kit

Simple, fast and flexible: It could become significantly easier to vaccinate plants against viruses in future. Scientists at Martin Luther University, the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry and the National Research Council in Italy have developed a new method for this purpose. It enables the rapid identification and production of precisely tailored substances that combat different pathogens. The researchers discuss their work in the journal "Nucleic Acids Research".

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Physicists Develop “Time Machine” for Materials Science

Physics experiments are often time-consuming and expensive. Sometimes scientists do not realize until the very end that they have been using the wrong calibration for measurements the whole time. What if there were a way to go back in time to the start of the experiment and re-examine the data? Researchers at Martin Luther University, Freie Universität Berlin, and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) hope to create a machine that would make that possible. They plan to develop their "time machine" for the large-scale research equipment at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB), which would mean a helpful improvement for the facility.

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Why humans in Africa fled to the mountains during the last ice age

People in Ethiopia did not live in low valleys during the last ice age. Instead they lived high up in the inhospitable Bale Mountains. There they had enough water, built tools out of obsidian and relied mainly on giant rodents for nourishment. This discovery was made by an international team of researchers led by Martin Luther University. In the current issue of "Science", the researchers provide the first evidence that our African ancestors had already settled in the mountains during the Palaeolithic period, about 45,000 years ago.

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Hawai'i: Introduced species dilute the effects of evolution on diversity

Understanding how biodiversity is shaped by multiple forces is crucial to protect rare species and unique ecosystems. Now an international research team has found that biodiversity is higher on older islands than on younger ones. Furthermore, they found that introduced species are diluting the effects of island age on patterns of local biodiversity. The findings were published in "PNAS".

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New Research Training Group: Plant cells as small-scale assembly lines

Growth for plant research in Halle: A new Research Training Group (RTG) opened at Martin Luther University. Doctoral students are investigating how complex biochemical processes are controlled in subdivided rooms (so-called "compartments") of plant cells. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is investing around four million euros in the RTG 2498 "Communication and Dynamics of Plant Cell Compartments".

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The immune system of plants works differently than expected

What happens at the molecular level when plants defend against invading pathogens? Previously it was assumed that the processes were roughly the same in all plants. However, this is not true, as a team of biologists from Martin Luther University  has demonstrated in a new study published in the scientific journal "The Plant Cell". The team also describes how they discovered this complex interaction with the aid of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing techniques.

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Study: Global farming trends threaten food security

Citrus fruits, coffee and avocados: The food on our tables has become more diverse in recent decades. However, global agriculture does not reflect this trend. Monocultures are increasing worldwide, taking up more land than ever. At the same time, many of the crops being grown rely on pollination by insects and other animals. This puts food security at increased risk, as a team of researchers with help from Martin Luther University writes in the journal "Global Change Biology".

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Our commitment to refugees

Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg supports refugees eager to study by providing the following counselling services and measures.

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