206 articles from MONDAY 11.5.2020

Multitasking in the workplace can lead to negative emotions

From writing papers to answering emails, it's common for office workers to juggle multiple tasks at once. But those constant interruptions can actually create sadness and fear and eventually, a tense working environment, according to a new study aimed at understanding what shapes the emotional culture of a workplace.

Penn State and NAGP identify and reconstitute two lost Holstein lines

Artificial insemination (AI), breeding value estimation, and genomic selection have allowed substantial increases in milk and component yields for Holstein cows. However, their widespread use has also led to challenges including declining fertility, emergence of recessive genetic conditions, and a loss of genetic diversity—more than 99 percent of Holstein bulls born using AI in the last decade...

Breaking down wood decomposition by fungi

Through a combination of lab and field experiments, researchers have developed a better understanding of the factors accounting for different wood decomposition rates among fungi. The new findings reveal how an understanding of fungal trait variation can improve the predictive ability of early and mid-stage wood decay, a critical driver of the global carbon cycle.

Multitasking in the workplace can lead to negative emotions

From writing papers to answering emails, it's common for office workers to juggle multiple tasks at once. But those constant interruptions can actually create sadness and fear and eventually, a tense working environment, according to a new study aimed at understanding what shapes the emotional culture of a workplace.

How to tune out common odors and focus on important ones

Quantitative biologists at CSHL have figured out how a fly brain learns to ignore overwhelmingly prevalent, mundane odors to focus on more important ones. It's an important step towards understanding how our senses work and how computer sensing could work better.

New dataset helps tomato growers reduce spread of bacterial canker

Bacterial canker of tomato is a disease that can lead to significant losses in greenhouse and field production systems. This disease is caused by the bacterial pathogen Clavibacter michiganensis. The best way to control bacterial canker is by securing clean tomato seed and enforcing good sanitation practices.

How to boost plant biomass: Biologists uncover molecular link between nutrient availability, growth

Plant scientists have long known that crop yield is proportional to the dose of nitrogen fertilizer, but the increased use of fertilizers is costly and harmful to the environment. Until now, the underlying mechanisms by which plants adjust their growth according to the nitrogen dose has been unknown—a key finding that could help enhance plant growth and limit fertilizer use.

A close relative of SARS-CoV-2 found in bats offers more evidence it evolved naturally

There is ongoing debate among policymakers and the general public about where SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, came from. While researchers consider bats the most likely natural hosts for SARS-CoV-2, the origins of the virus are still unclear. On May 10 in the journal Current Biology, researchers describe a recently identified bat coronavirus that is SARS-CoV-2's closest relative in...

Nearly 40% of Icelanders are using a covid app—and it hasn’t helped much

When Iceland got its first case of covid-19 on February 28, an entire apparatus sprang into action.  The country had already been testing some people at high risk of catching the virus, thanks to DeCode genetics, a local biotech company. Once the arrival of the disease was confirmed, it began rapidly rolling out public testing on a much wider scale. The government, meanwhile, quickly built...

Scientists model Mars climate to understand habitability

A Southwest Research Institute scientist modeled the atmosphere of Mars to help determine that salty pockets of water present on the Red Planet are likely not habitable by life as we know it on Earth. A team that also included scientists from Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and the University of Arkansas helped allay planetary protection concerns about contaminating potential...

A close relative of SARS-CoV-2 found in bats offers more evidence it evolved naturally

Researchers describe a recently identified bat coronavirus that contains insertions of amino acids at the junction of the S1 and S2 subunits of the virus's spike protein in a manner similar to SAR-CoV-2. While it's not a direct evolutionary precursor of SARS-CoV-2, this new virus, RmYN02, suggests that these types of seemingly unusual insertion events can occur naturally in coronavirus evolution.

Are our brains hard-wired for longing?

A new brain imaging study of prairie voles -- which are among only about 5% of mammalian species besides humans who are monogamous -- found that when it comes to forming bonds, longing may be as important as being together. The study also sheds light on why it's so hard to social distance, and could lead to new therapies for conditions like autism and depression.

Emotional well-being while home gardening similar to other popular activities, study finds

Researchers found that gardening at home had a similar effect on emotional well-being (or happiness) as biking, walking or dining out. The benefits were similar across racial boundaries and between urban and suburban residents, and it was the only activity out of the 15 studied for which women and people with low incomes reported the highest emotional well-being. The results suggest that household...