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Jahr 2019

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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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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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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Wie können Schülerinnen und Schüler mit speziellem Förderbedarf angemessen betreut werden, sodass sie am deutschen Bildungssystem erfolgreich teilhaben können? Dieser Frage geht das Institut für Rehabilitationspädagogik der Universität Halle seit nunmehr 70 Jahren nach. Am Freitag, 25. Oktober 2019, findet in den Franckeschen Stiftungen deshalb eine Festveranstaltung statt, die einen Blick auf die Geschichte des Instituts wirft, das im Oktober 1949 gegründet wurde.

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An vielen Orten auf der ganzen Welt finden rasante Veränderungen der Biodiversität statt. Doch nicht überall ändert sich die Artenvielfalt gleich. Eine neue Studie im Fachmagazin "Science" zeigt, dass sich die Zusammensetzung der Arten in marinen Ökosystemen stärker verändert als an Land. Geleitet wurde die Untersuchung vom Deutschen Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung, der Uni Halle sowie der Universität St. Andrews in Schottland.

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Ein neues Material könnte dabei helfen, extrem energiesparende Anwendungen in der Informationstechnologie zu entwickeln. Entdeckt wurde es von einem internationalen Forschungsteam unter Beteiligung der Universität Halle. Die Elektronen an der Grenzfläche des Materials zeigen besondere Eigenschaften, die zu einer drastisch erhöhten Umwandlungrate eines Spinstroms in einen Ladungsstrom führen. Diese ist die Grundlage für zukünftige Anwendungen in der Spintronik. Damit erweist sich das neue Material als effizienter als alle bisher untersuchten, wie das Team im Fachjournal "Nature Materials" schreibt.

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"Nature Communications": physicists discover new type of spin waves

Advances in IT technologies are hampered by the ever increasing demand for energy and by fundamental limits on miniaturization. Energy dissipation mostly going into heating up the environment is also a challenge. A new type of spin waves recently discovered by physicists at Martin Luther University and Lanzhou University in China may serve to overcome these obstacles.

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Scientists call for a paradigm shift in restoration projects in "Science"

Regardless of whether we are dealing with a floodplain landscape or an entire national park, the success of a restoration project depends on more than just the reintroduction of individual plant or animal species into an area. An international team of researchers led by Martin Luther University and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research reveals it is more a matter of helping the damaged ecosystem to regenerate and sustain itself. In the current issue of the journal Science the researchers describe how rewilding measures can be better planned and implemented - and the benefits this can have on humans.

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Neonicotinoids: Honeybees are much more robust than bumblebees

The neonicotinoid clothianidin affects different species of bees in different ways. While it has no demonstrably negative effect on honeybees, it disrupts the growth of bumble bees and threatens the survival of entire colonies. However, the insecticide does not make either species more susceptible to diseases and pathogens, as a massive field study in Sweden shows. The international team, including scientists from Martin Luther University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

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People used natural dyes to colour their clothing thousands of years ago

Even thousands of years ago people wore clothing with colourful patterns made from plant and animal-based dyes. Chemists from Martin Luther University have created new analytical methods to examine textiles from China and Peru that are several thousand years old. They present their findings in "Scientific Reports".

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Plant diversity increases insect diversity

The more plant species live in grasslands and forests, the more insect species find a habitat there. However, the presence of more plant species does not only increase insect species richness, i.e. the number of species, but also insect abundance, i.e. the number of individuals. Simultaneously, animal diversity is not only determined by plant diversity, but also by the physical structure of the plant communities. These are the results of an international collaboration led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research.

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Loss of habitat causes double damage to species richness

Loss and fragmentation of habitat are among the main reasons why biodiversity is decreasing in many places worldwide. A research team with participation of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and Martin Luther University has established that the destruction of habitat causes double damage to biodiversity. If habitat patches disappear, not only do the species living there become extinct, but species richness in neighbouring patches also declines, the researchers write in the journal Ecology Letters.

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