Saint Catherine University
  • Minneapolis, MN, United States
Recent publications
Societal Impact Statement: Given the rapidly increasing drought and temperature stresses associated with climate change, innovative approaches for food security are imperative. One understudied opportunity is using feral crops—plants that have escaped and persisted without cultivation—as a source of genetic diversity, which could build resilience in domesticated conspecifics. In some cases, however, feral plants vigorously compete with crops as weeds, challenging food security. By bridging historically siloed ecological, agronomic, and evolutionary lines of inquiry into feral crops, there is the opportunity to improve food security and understand this relatively understudied anthropogenic phenomenon. Summary: The phenomenon of feral crops, that is, free-living populations that have established outside cultivation, is understudied. Some researchers focus on the negative consequences of domestication, whereas others assert that feral populations may serve as useful pools of genetic diversity for future crop improvement. Although research on feral crops and the process of feralization has advanced rapidly in the last two decades, generalizable insights have been limited by a lack of comparative research across crop species and other factors. To improve international coordination of research on this topic, we summarize the current state of feralization research and chart a course for future study by consolidating outstanding questions in the field. These questions, which emerged from the colloquium “Darwins' reversals: What we now know about Feralization and Crop Wild Relatives” at the BOTANY 2021 conference, fall into seven categories that span both basic and applied research: (1) definitions and drivers of ferality, (2) genetic architecture and pathway, (3) evolutionary history and biogeography, (4) agronomy and breeding, (5) fundamental and applied ecology, (6) collecting and conservation, and (7) taxonomy and best practices. These questions serve as a basis for ferality researchers to coordinate research in these areas, potentially resulting in major contributions to food security in the face of climate change.
The black nectar produced by Melianthus flowers is thought to serve as a visual attractant to bird pollinators, but the chemical identity and synthesis of the black pigment are unknown. A combination of analytical biochemistry, transcriptomics, proteomics, and enzyme assays was used to identify the pigment that gives Melianthus nectar its black color and how it is synthesized. Visual modeling of pollinators was also used to infer a potential function of the black coloration. High concentrations of ellagic acid and iron give the nectar its dark black color, which can be recapitulated through synthetic solutions containing only ellagic acid and iron(III). The nectar also contains a peroxidase that oxidizes gallic acid to form ellagic acid. In vitro reactions containing the nectar peroxidase, gallic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and iron(III) fully recreate the black color of the nectar. Visual modeling indicates that the black color is highly conspicuous to avian pollinators within the context of the flower. Melianthus nectar contains a natural analog of iron-gall ink, which humans have used since at least medieval times. This pigment is derived from an ellagic acid-Fe complex synthesized in the nectar and is likely involved in the attraction of passerine pollinators endemic to southern Africa.
Purpose: The aim of this study was to describe the lived experiences of a serious stroke survivor. Design: This is a hermeneutic phenomenological case study. Methods: Data were collected via observations and conversations during 75 visits, 14 brief audiotaped interviews, field notes, and conversations with family members, close friends, and care providers. Findings: Seven themes emerged that form the general structure of the lived experience of surviving a serious stroke. These themes were organized around four fundamental existential themes including space, time, body, and relationships. Clinical relevance to the practice of rehabilitation nursing: Spend intentional time with patients beyond the initial stroke rehabilitation period to better understand the experience, individualize care, identify meaningful activities previously engaged in, and identify people who may be willing to partner with them to continue participation in the meaningful activities. Conclusion: Hermeneutic phenomenology allows the essence of the stroke survival experience to be revealed and contributes to better understanding of the phenomenon.
Carbohydrate foods (≥40% energy from carbohydrates) are the main source of energy in the US diet. In contrast to national-level dietary guidance, many regularly consumed carbohydrate foods are low in fiber and whole grains but high in added sugar, sodium, and/or saturated fat. Given the important contribution of higher-quality carbohydrate foods to affordable healthy diets, new metrics are needed to convey the concept of carbohydrate quality to policymakers, food industry stakeholders, health professionals, and consumers. The recently developed Carbohydrate Food Quality Scoring System is well aligned with multiple key healthy messages on nutrients of public health concern from the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Two models are described in a previously published paper: one for all non-grain carbohydrate-rich foods (e.g., fruits, vegetables, legumes) known as the Carbohydrate Food Quality Score-4 (CFQS-4), and one for grain foods only known as the Carbohydrate Food Quality Score-5 (CFQS-5). These CFQS models provide a new tool that can guide policy, programs, and people towards improved carbohydrate food choices. Specifically, the CFQS models represent a way to unify and reconcile diverse ways to describe different types of carbohydrate-rich foods (e.g., refined vs. whole, starchy vs. non-starchy, dark green vs. red/orange) and make for more useful and informative messaging that better aligns with a food’s nutritional and/or health contributions. The present paper’s aims are to show that the CFQS models can inform future dietary guidelines and help support carbohydrate food recommendations with other health messages aimed at promoting foods that are nutrient-dense, fiber-rich, and low in added sugar.
Rising atmospheric vapor pressure deficit (VPD) associated with climate change impacts tree growth and carbon storage through its effects on stomatal closure, evapotranspiration, and soil dryness. However, ground truth analyses of the effects of changing VPD on forest growth remain limited to focal species and areas. We assessed the response of Canada’s boreal forests to VPD changes during 1951-2018 using a tree-growth increment network with 5,000 species-site combinations. Roughly half of the sites showed a relationship between growth and VPD, with the most common response being a negative relationship between previous year VPD and current year growth, while current year VPD also tended to reduce growth. Species, tree age and soil moisture were primary determinants of tree VPD responses, with younger trees and key species like Picea glauca and Populus tremuloides showing higher VPD sensitivity. Since 1951, increases in summer VPD in Canada have paralleled growth decreases, particularly in spruce species.
Widespread changes in the intensity and frequency of fires across the globe are altering the terrestrial carbon (C) sink 1–4 . Although the changes in ecosystem C have been reasonably well quantified for plant biomass pools 5–7 , an understanding of the determinants of fire-driven changes in soil organic C (SOC) across broad environmental gradients remains unclear, especially in global drylands 3,4,7–9 . Here, we combined multiple datasets and original field sampling of fire manipulation experiments to evaluate where and why fire changes SOC the most, built a statistical model to estimate historical changes in SOC, and compared these estimates to simulations from ecosystem models. We found that drier ecosystems experienced larger relative changes in SOC than humid ecosystems—in some cases exceeding losses from plant biomass pools—primarily explained by high fire-driven declines in tree biomass inputs in dry ecosystems. Ecosystem models provided more mixed insight into potential SOC changes because many models underestimated the SOC changes in drier ecosystems. Upscaling our statistical model predicted that soils in 1.57 million km 2 savanna-grassland regions experiencing declines in burned area over the past ca. two decades may have 23% more SOC, equating to 1.78 PgC in topsoils. Consequently, ongoing declines in fire frequencies have likely created an extensive carbon sink in the soils of global drylands that may have been underestimated by ecosystem models.
Fusarium head blight (FHB; Fusarium graminearum, Schwabe) is a devastating fungal disease of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) that can significantly reduce yield and grain quality. Datasets from different stages of field evaluation can be combined into a training population to predict FHB resistance. Our objective was to determine if FHB resistance among F5 lines can be predicted accurately with historical lines, parental lines, and a subset of F5 lines. Lines at the F5 and preliminary yield trial (PYT) stages in the University of Minnesota wheat breeding program were evaluated in two locations from 2016 to 2020 and were genotyped with 3679 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. Historical datasets with 368 to 3015 lines had predictive abilities of –0.01 to 0.20, whereas F5 subsets had predictive abilities of 0.04 – 0.32. Adding subsets of F5 lines to the historical datasets led to incremental improvements in predictive abilities in most cases, especially when the subset was selected via the pedigree or k‐means approach. The most effective training populations were those that contained a subset of 200 F5 lines chosen via the k‐means method, the F5 parents, and the PYT lines tested in the same year, with predictive abilities that were usually higher than that of the F5 subset. We have started to use such combinations of datasets to routinely predict FHB resistance of F5 lines in our breeding program. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
A clean-label process to endogenously glycate and purify pea protein was investigated. The production of maltodextrin from pea starch with a specific dextrose equivalent (DE) was optimized. The produced maltodextrin (14.6 DE) was used to initiate a limited and controlled Maillard-induced glycation of pea protein. The partially glycated pea protein (PG-PP) was subjected to hydrophobic interaction chromatography to remove unreacted carbohydrate, followed by characterization of the purified product. The extent of Maillard-induced glycation was monitored by assessing changes in color, free amino groups, and protein/glycoprotein profiles. The purified PG-PP was evaluated for thermal denaturation, surface properties, protein secondary structure, protein solubility, thermal stability, and digestibility. Maillard-induced glycation was limited to initial stages and resulted in a moderate blockage of amine groups (∼30%). The purified PG-PP had a relatively low surface hydrophobicity, a markedly enhanced protein solubility (∼90%) at pH 3.4, and a nonimpacted protein in vitro digestibility (∼100%). This work provided the impetus needed for future scale-up and process optimization for the production of value-added pea protein ingredient intended for high protein beverage applications.
The purpose of this manuscript is to describe household dietary diversity (HDDS) in Lusaka, Zambia between households with and without a child with a disability living in the same communities. Cross-sectional data were collected in three low-income compounds in September 2021. Participants included households with a child with a disability enrolled in Kusamala+, a community-based program, (n = 444) and a convenience sample of adults living in the same area without a child with a disability (n = 1027). The HDDS tool asked about food groups consumed in the past 24 h by people in the household. The responses were summed (yes = 1, no = 0), range 0–12. Individual dietary diversity scores (IDDSs) were calculated for children (0–8 items). Analysis included descriptive statistics and linear regression. Mean HDDS for the households with a child with a disability was 4.8 (SD 2.1) vs. 6.1 (SD = 2.2) among households without a child with a disability (p < 0.001). The individual score for children (IDDS) for households with children with disabilities was 2.6 (SD = 1.4) vs. 3.7 (SD = 1.6) for households without a child with a disability. Households with a child with a disability had a significantly lower HDDS and IDDS in unadjusted and adjusted models (p < 0.001). National policy must assure the most vulnerable populations, and often hidden, receive focused financial and food support.
This study investigates the gender disparities and cohort differences in the health trajectories of older Chinese adults. Drawn on a nationally representative dataset from the 2008–2018 Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey, this paper uses a growth-curve model to identify the health trajectories of older adults in functional limitations, chronic diseases, depressive symptoms and cognitive skills. Older women are found to have slightly fewer functional limitations than older men at an earlier age; however, this gap is reversed later because of women’s higher deterioration rate in physical function. Compared to men, older women have more chronic diseases at younger ages, but this trend is changed after age 90 years due to a faster decline rate in chronic diseases for women. The gender gap in the depressive symptom trajectories narrows with age, whereas the gap in the trajectories of cognitive skills widens. The cohort differences favouring later-born cohorts decrease with age in the trajectory of functional limitations. The latest cohort born in 1940 or after has the fastest increase in chronic diseases and depressive symptoms among all the cohorts. These results are further verified using the random-effect model and pooled ordinary least squares. Policymakers should promote gender equality and reduce cohort differences to achieve the national goal of “Healthy China”.
Threshability, defined here as the propensity of grains to lose their hull after harvest, is a key trait in naked barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). While threshability is a defining characteristic of naked grains and has been found to be associated with grain size and shape, its genetic architecture is poorly described. The goals of this study were to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with threshability and evaluate their utility as covariates in genomic prediction (GP) models. A genome wide association study (GWAS) identified two loci on chromosomes 2H and 3H associated with threshability. The locus on chromosome 2H accounted for 9.9% of the phenotypic variance explained (PVE). The locus on chromosomes 3H accounted for 7.8% of the PVE. With effects on threshability of 0.18 and 0.29 for each marker respectively, these markers could have a limited impact when implemented in marker assisted selection (MAS). Predictive ability for threshability was 0.842 using a structured genomic best linear unbiased prediction (gBLUP) model. Incorporation of the markers with significant associations as covariates in the model did not improve predictive ability. Predictive ability was improved by the use of a multi‐trait model including grain test weight. The high predictive ability for threshability overall indicate that genomic selection (GS) would be useful in selection for threshability in naked barley. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved Two markers were identified with significant associations to threshability Predictive ability for threshability was 0.842 using a structured gBLUP model Predictive ability was not increased by inclusion of identified QTL as covariates Predictive ability was increased using a multi‐trait prediction model
Perception of one’s own age and the aging process can influence healthy aging and encourage younger adults to be more proactive in taking care of themselves. There is a shortage of literature on college students’ self-perceptions of aging and old age. This descriptive qualitative study explored how short-term aging research training and activities influenced college students’ perceptions of aging, older adults, and their future older selves. Students were exposed to discussions about aging, the aging process, myths, a brief TED talk, and a video on positive age stereotypes in preparation for their encounter with older adults in a more extensive photovoice aging research project. Data for the study were collected using weekly guided reflections and drawing. Findings show that college students improved perceptions of aging and older adults after the short-term research training. We found cultural differences in self-perception of the onset of old age. Students perceived healthy aging in terms of biological, psychological, spiritual, and social dimensions of health. Students presented a hopeful, positive picture of their future older self as opposed to the negative stereotypic views they initially had of older adults. Reflections on one’s own aging may be crucial in encouraging younger adults to be more proactive in taking care of themselves for a healthier life in later adulthood.
The Middle East and North Africa region struggled to meet the employment aspirations of its increasingly educated youth in the aftermath of structural reforms. This article examines the evolution of initial labor market outcomes across pre- and post-reform cohorts of school leavers by education and socioeconomic status (SES) in Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia. Results show that formal jobs for educated new entrants are increasingly allocated according to SES, as measured by parents’ education and father’s occupation, in Egypt and Tunisia, but not in Jordan. In Egypt and Tunisia, the quality of initial jobs deteriorated for educated new entrants, particularly among those with lower SES. This rising tide of inequality of opportunity in employment may have contributed to the Arab Spring uprisings and remains an important source of frustration for youth and their families.
The four levels of aging include the specific disease, the systemic complications that lead to the disease, the loss of cellular integrity that affects the system, and macromolecule malfunction that alters cellular integrity. Similarly, this project investigates infertility and testicular cancer, misregulation of the endocrine system, problems with germ and Sertoli cell maintenance, and ultimately gene expression changes that alter cellular proliferation and death. Infertility affects 4.5–6% of North American males and up to 15% of couples worldwide. Infertility may be caused by unknown genetic factors, as up to 2,300 genes are pertinent to male fertility. This research project aims to create the molecular toolbox needed to evaluate gene function in cultured male germ cells. We will use mouse primary spermatogonial stem cells and a human testicular cancer cell line to knock out the functions of genes Phosphoprotein 1 (Spp1) and Inhibitor of DNA Binding 4 (Id4) in the testis to determine the effect of the knockouts on male germ cell proliferation and cell death. We designed single guide RNAs (gRNAs) using online bioinformatic tools and amplified the genes from human and mouse genomic DNA to demonstrate the effectiveness of our gRNAs in vitro. These gRNAs and Cas9 compose the beginnings of the molecular toolbox used to electroporate cultured cells. This research will contribute to the greater scientific community by providing insight into the function of Spp1 and Id4 relating to male fertility and providing a methodology for future research in aging-related fertility diseases and testicular cancer.
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1,488 members
Marcella J Myers
  • Department of Biology
Daron E Janzen
  • Department of Chemistry
Kristine Haertl
  • Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Tami McDonald
  • Department of Biology
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