February 4, 2016
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Dear Friends,

With the beginning of the New Year comes an exciting new crop of discoveries at Boyce Thompson Institute.
A collaboration between Maria Harrison and Lukas Mueller has generated an exciting advance in the study of an agriculturally significant relationship between plants and soil fungi, called arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis. By comparing the genomes of plants that form this relationship to those that don’t, the researchers identified a gold mine of more than 100 new genes that may be required. One application of this knowledge could be the development of plants that require less added phosphorus fertilizer because they get more nutrition from their fungal partners.
About a dozen BTI researchers travelled to San Diego in January to present their work at the 24th Plant and Animal Genome conference. Presentations included advances in CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, updates on Cassavabase and other breeding databases, the GOBII project and the whitefly genome, transcriptome and microbiome. The Plant Science Research Network presented its National Plant Systems Initiative for broad community feedback.
Don’t miss the profile of our chair of the board of directors, Laura Philips, and the nice note from former BTI intern and current donor, Grace Yu.
A resolution to support BTI throughout the New Year is certainly one worth keeping.


David Stern
BTI President and CEO

Researchers uncover core set of genes for plant-fungal symbiosis

Armando Bravo (pictured), a postdoctoral scientist in the laboratory of Maria Harrison, worked with Thomas York, a bioinformatics analyst in Lukas Mueller’s group, to identify a collection of genes required for plant-fungal symbiosis, using a genome comparison approach. The publication is the culmination of more than four years of research and collaboration between the labs, and capitalized on the growing number of publicly available plant genomes. Bravo plans to continue using bioinformatics methods in his future work. Read more

Board chair Laura Philips makes an impact at BTI

Laura Philips, the CEO and co-founder of Spheryx Inc., brings her science background, business acumen and enthusiasm to BTI board. Read more

New teachers get a jump on lesson planning from BTI workshop

New teachers and teachers-to-be received a lesson in using corn seedlings and beet armyworms to demonstrate concepts related to sustainability and agriculture in their classrooms, based in research from the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI). Read more

Imagine a Summer of Scientific Discovery at BTI!

The Boyce Thompson Institute is now accepting applications for summer internships in Plant Genome Research and Bioinformatics! Apply by Feb. 5. Read more

Donor Spotlight: Why I Give

BTI intern alumna Grace Yu writes:

"I really do have to thank BTI for being a part of my experience in getting hired at the Arnold Arboretum. If it weren't for my first year as a BTI summer intern, I wouldn't have met Sue Sherman-Broyles who was one of my references for this position and was well acquainted with the director of the Arnold Arboretum. 

I wish I could give back more, at least enough to match the summers I spent at BTI, but I guess all in due time. I hope the summer internship program continues on to inspire and support the curiosity and dreams of many future plant biologists wherever they may go.

Grace Yu; Boston, MA

Mission: To advance and communicate scientific knowledge in plant biology to improve agriculture, protect the environment, and enhance human health

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