Transgenic rice uses weed gene to combat drought effects

Field performance of unmodified Curinga rice (left) and promising transgenic strain 2580 (right)

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, rice is the world’s third-largest crop after wheat and maize. It’s the staple food in large regions of the world, and with increasing demand and the perceived perils of a changing climate, the vulnerability of rice production to droughts is a growing concern. The RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) is developing new transgenic strains of rice incorporating a gene from the weed thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) to make them more drought-resistant.

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Jezebel If You’re Going to Get Shade Wrong, at Least Do it with a Bit of Pizzazz | Deadspin Lawsuit:

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Russia Suspends A Critical U.S.-Russia Safety Agreement In Response To Trump’s Airstrike On Syria!

Uh oh… Vlad is mad.

We were shocked to report that Donald Trump had ordered an airstrike Thursday on a Syrian air base to retaliate against President Bashar al-Assad‘s alleged gas attack on a rebel village earlier this week.

Critics were upset to learn the President COMPLETELY changed his stance on U.S. action in the country — which was apparently triggered by the photos of Syrian children killed in the chemical strike — and ordered the attack from his Mar-a-Lago estate.

But vocal celebrities aren’t the only ones pissed about POTUS’s actions…

Related: Trump Started Deleting Former Twitter Thoughts On Syria!

Russia responded to the airstrike on Friday by suspending an essential agreement with the U.S. in Syria that prevented incidents and ensured flight safety!

President Vladimir Putin, staunch ally of al-Assad (and former Trump flatterer) condemned the attack, saying the airstrikes broke international law and have done MAJOR damage to U.S.-Russian relations.

Well, fuck.

The agreement, signed in September 2015 after Russia launched an air campaign in Syria, allowed Russia and the U.S. to exchange flight information to avoid collisions and crowded skies in Syria, where Russia has several dozen warplanes and air-defense missiles.

Related: Twitter Sues Trump Administration Over Resistance Accounts!

This “deconfliction line” between the countries has kept a number of pilots safe — so, Russia deciding to freeze the agreement is definitely not a great development.

A stark statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed the country is not happy with Trump’s actions. It reads:

“The very presence of US troops and other countries on the territory of Syria, without the consent of the Government or the decision of the UN Security Council is a gross, obvious and unwarranted violation of international law. If before it was due to the task of combating terrorism, now there is a clear act of aggression against a sovereign Syria. US Actions taken today further destroy the Russian-American relations.”

Wow. Trump’s impulses may have just gotten us into a lot of trouble.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the attack “an act of aggression with an invented pretext,” saying Moscow would demand an explanation from Trump over the airstrikes.

Though, we don’t think Trump being provoked by disturbing photos of citizens he wouldn’t let in his own country is gonna cut it as an excuse.

Hold on to your butts.

[Image via ATP/WENN.]

Vin Diesel Seriously Downplays That Alleged Feud With Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson!

OK…

Back in August, it was pretty clear the mood between Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was extremely tense — but now, the 49-year-old executive producer is saying things are just fine.

In case you need a refresher, the 44-year-old former wrestler drew quite a bit of attention last year when he took to Instagram to SLAM one of his Fast 8 costars (AKA Diesel) for being a “chicken shit” and a “candy ass.” Welp.

In a new interview with USA Today, The Pacifier actor addressed the controversy by totally sweeping it under the rug.

Related: Vin Diesel Relentlessly Hits On YouTuber

He said:

“I don’t think the world really realizes how close we are, in a weird way. I think some things may be blown out of proportion. I don’t think that was his intention. I know he appreciates how much I work this franchise. In my house, he’s Uncle Dwayne.”

Well that’s encouraging…

And although there were some disagreements on set, Diesel explained he had to take a lot of heat as the producer:

“I protect the franchise. I protect everybody including Dwayne. I protected Dwayne more than he’ll ever know. And it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t have to know. But he appreciates it. He knows it. Dwayne has only got one Vin in his life. Dwayne Johnson only has one big brother in this film world and that’s me.”

When asked if they’ve hugged it out since all the dramz, the muscle man responded:

“Always, always, always. I’m always rooting for Dwayne. I’m the first multicultural megastar in Hollywood. They didn’t exist. To see another multicultural star come up is something I am very proud of. I’m always rooting Dwayne on.”

Adding:

“It’s not always easy being an alpha. And it’s two alphas. Being an alpha is sometimes a pain in the (butt).”

Dudes, ya know?

[Image via Universal Pictures.]