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T. rex got huge via major teenage growth spurt – CBC.ca

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Large meat-eating dinosaurs attained their great size through very different growth strategies, with some taking a slow and steady path and others experiencing an adolescent growth spurt, according to scientists who analyzed slices of fossilized bones.

The researchers examined the annual growth rings — akin to those in tree trunks — in bones from 11 species of theropods, a broad group spanning all the big carnivorous dinosaurs including Tyrannosaurus rex and even birds. The study provides insight into the lives of some of the most fearsome predators ever to walk the Earth.

The team looked at samples from museums in the United States, Canada, China and Argentina and even received clearance to cut into bones from one of the world’s most famous T. rex fossils, known as Sue and housed at the Field Museum in Chicago, using a diamond-tipped saw and drill.

Sue’s leg bones — a huge femur and fibula — helped illustrate that T. rex and its relatives — known as tyrannosaurs — experienced a period of extreme growth during adolescence and reached full adult size by around age 20. Sue, measuring about 13 metres, lived around 33 years.

Sue inhabited South Dakota about a million years before dinosaurs and many other species were wiped out by an asteroid impact 66 million years ago.

Other groups of large theropods tended to have more steady rates of growth over a longer period of time. That growth strategy was detected in lineages that arose worldwide earlier in the dinosaur era and later were concentrated in the southern continents.

Examples included Allosaurus and Acrocanthosaurus from North America, Cryolophosaurus from Antarctica and a recently discovered as-yet-unnamed species from Argentina that rivaled T. rex in size. The Argentine dinosaur, from a group called carcharodontosaurs, did not reach its full adult size until its 40s and lived to about age 50.

Big theropods share the same general body design, walking on two legs and boasting large skulls, strong jaws and menacing teeth.

“Prior to our study, it was known that T. rex grew very quickly, but it was not clear if all theropod dinosaurs reached gigantic size in the same way, or if there were multiple ways it was done,” said paleontologist and study lead author Tom Cullen of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and North Carolina State University, also affiliated with the Field Museum.

The research was published this week in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“Theropod dinosaurs represent the largest bipedal animals to have ever lived and were also the dominant predators in terrestrial ecosystems for over 150 million years — more than twice as long as mammals have been dominant,” added University of Minnesota paleontologist and study co-author Peter Makovicky

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COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Coastal Gas Link work sites – CKPGToday.ca

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Starlink satellite internet grants instant sign-up for eligible Canadians – IT World Canada

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Depending on where they live, some Canadians can now sign up for Starlink’s satellite internet service.

Starlink, the new high-speed internet service provided by Elon Musk’s U.S.-based SpaceX firm, recently expanded its first public testing stage to Canada in these coordinates:

Province Latitudes (°N)
Alberta 49.0 – 51.5
British Columbia 48.4 – 51.7
Manitoba 49.0 – 51.1
New Brunswick 45.3 – 47.6
Nova Scotia 45.0 – 46.0
Ontario 43.1 – 51.0
Saskatchewan 49.6 – 50.7

But as Tesla North reported with notes from a Reddit thread, the updated Starlink registration website now asks users for their exact location as part of the invite process. Users within certain zones can sign up immediately. Currently, users in the following areas have seen the most success:

Province Latitudes (°N)
Ontario 44.52; 45.3; 44.1; 43.1
Manitoba 50.01
Alberta 50.71

Once approved, the eligible users can purchase the necessary Starlink hardware, which includes a satellite dish. The Satellite dish costs CA$649, and the service is CA$129 per month.

In a CBC article, some Starlink subscribers have reported service speeds of up to 150Mbps.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) granted Starlink’s operator, SpaceX, a Basic International Telecommunications Service (BITS) license in October 2020. The license allows SpaceX to provide telecommunication services in Canada but does not allow it to operate as an internet service provider within the issuing nation.

Related:

SpaceX granted basic telecom license in Canada

Starlink says it aims to establish a global network by using a massive constellation of satellites. The satellites float at low earth orbit, which both cuts down on signal latency and can more easily return to earth once they’re decommissioned. But stargazers are worried that the massive amount of satellites could obscure the view of the night sky.

The company has expressed a keen interest in providing internet service to rural and underserved areas in Canada and the United States. It’s currently extending beta testing offers in Canada, U.S. and U.K.

Starlink says it has launched 955 satellites so far.

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Researcher expands plant genome editing with newly engineered variant of CRISPR-Cas9 – Phys.org

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Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Alongside Dennis van Engelsdorp, associate professor at the University of Maryland (UMD) in Entomology named for the fifth year in a row for his work in honey bee and pollinator health, Yiping Qi, associate professor in Plant Science, represented the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources on the Web of Science 2020 list of Highly Cited Researchers for the first time. This list includes influential scientists based on the impact of their academic publications over the course of the year. In addition to this honor, Qi is already making waves in 2021 with a new high-profile publication in Nature Plants introducing SpRY, a newly engineered variant of the famed gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9. SpRY essentially removes the barriers of what can and can’t be targeted for gene editing, making it possible for the first time to target nearly any genomic sequence in plants for potential mutation. As the preeminent innovator in the field, this discovery is the latest of Qi’s in a long string of influential tools for genome editing in plants.

“It is an honor, an encouragement, and a recognition of my contribution to the science community,” says Qi of his distinction as a 2020 Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher. “But we are not just making contributions to the academic literature. In my lab, we are constantly pushing for improved gene editing out to scientists to make an impact.”

With SpRY, Qi is especially excited for the limitless possibilities it opens up for genome editing in and crops. “We have largely overcome the major bottleneck in plant genome editing, which is the targeting scope restrictions associated with CRISPR-Cas9. With this new toolbox, we pretty much removed this restriction, and we can target almost anywhere in the plant genome.”

The original CRISPR-Cas9 that kicked off the gene editing craze was tied to targeting a specific short sequence of DNA known as a PAM sequence. The short sequence is what the CRISPR systems typically use to identify where to make their molecular cuts in DNA. However, the new SpRY variant introduced by Qi can move beyond these traditional PAM sequences in ways that was never possible before.

“This unleashes the full potential of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing for plant genetics and crop improvement,” says an excited Qi. “Researchers will now be able to edit anywhere within their favorable , without questioning whether the sites are editable or not. The new tools make genome editing more powerful, more accessible, and more versatile so that many of the editing outcomes which were previously hard to achieve can now be all realized.”

According to Qi, this will have a major impact on translational research in the gene editing field, as well as on crop breeding as a whole. “This new CRISPR-Cas9 technology will play an important role in food security, nutrition, and safety. CRISPR tools are already widely used for introducing tailored mutations into crops for enhanced yield, nutrition, biotic and abiotic stress resistance, and more. With this new tool in the toolbox, we can speed up evolution and the agricultural revolution. I expect many plant biologists and breeders will use the toolbox in different crops. The list of potential applications of this new toolbox is endless.”


Explore further

Genome editing to treat human retinal degeneration


More information:
Qiurong Ren et al, PAM-less plant genome editing using a CRISPR–SpRY toolbox, Nature Plants (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41477-020-00827-4

Citation:
Researcher expands plant genome editing with newly engineered variant of CRISPR-Cas9 (2021, January 22)
retrieved 22 January 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-01-genome-newly-variant-crispr-cas9.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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