Category Archives: Uncategorized

Plant Containment Symbol

Plant Containment Symbol

This plant containment symbol serves to counter the misapplication of the universal biohazard symbol. While it is important to identify plants grown under containment, seldom is there a risk to humans. The universal biohazard symbol is reserved for appropriate risk situations to ensure its validity. (From here)

After being published in Biological Safety: Principles and Practices 5th ed. and being presented at several conferences (including ABSA 2016) and workshops, the new plant containment symbol is making the rounds.  It was originally conceived in conjunction with biosafety staff at the University of Wisconsin and then improved last summer with assistance from a design firm.  It has been positively vetted by containment experts, plant scientists, and biosafety professionals and is being posted on various society and other relevant websites as time, interest, and permissions develop.  The hope is to use the symbol when you require any type of plant and related organism containment be that regulated or not.  Examples could be working under an APHIS-PPQ permit, transgenic work of consequence (e.g. BL2-P and higher), or standard work with insects that vector plant virus.  When plant research have a risk to humans or animal subjects, then one would certainly choose the universal biohazard symbol (UBS) with or without the plant symbol.   The motivation to create the symbol was to counter the misapplication of the UBS and offer an appropriate risk designator.  Just as the UBS was wisely created to identify biohazards at Dow Chemical in 1966, the hope is this symbol will be widely circulated though the opportunities for its use are a but small subset of general biosafety practice.

The symbol can be freely used at your discretion, similar to the UBS.  It cannot be used for commercial purposes.


Gene Editing: Not Just CRISPR

Angelo De Palma

…… Zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) led the surge chronologically, followed by TALEN, then CRISPR. Each succeeding development eclipsed the previous one by virtue of easier use and greater familiarity with gene editing. CRISPR is generally credited with being significantly easier to use, hence its wide adoption among basic researchers.

Yet despite sales of ZFN reagents tailing off to baseline, and TALEN use dropping nearly as precipitously, those methods still hold promise for what is arguably the most value-driven gene editing application of all—therapy. ZFN and TALEN have reputations for being more precise than CRISPR. A recent paper by Schaefer et al., in Nature Methods that described deep sequencing to uncover off-target CRISPR effects, reinforced this belief. The authors noted that “concerns persist regarding secondary mutations in regions not targeted by the single guide RNA…We found an unexpected number of single-nucleotide variants…compared with the widely accepted assumption that CRISPR causes mostly indels at regions homologous to the sgRNA.”

ZFN and TALEN have reputations for being more precise than CRISPR.

“The simplicity and accessibility of CRISPR to researchers has democratized genome editing and changed the face of disease research to the benefit of scientists and, in fact, the world,” says Martha S. Rook, Ph.D., head of gene editing and novel modalities at MilliporeSigma. “However, mature gene-editing technologies such as ZFN and TALEN remain the methods of choice for critical research where clear intellectual property rights are desirable.”

Read more here

III Workshop Internacional de Ecofisiología de Cultivos

                      Mar del Plata, 28 y 29 de septiembre de 2017                                                             (En el marco de la Semana Internacional de la Ecofisiología Vegetal)

III Workshop Internacional de Ecofisiología Vegetal aplicada al estudio de la determinación del rendimiento y la calidad de los cultivos de granos

Oportunidades y estrategias de mitigación del cambio climático en los cultivos de grano



Los trabajos podrán enviarse en formato Word a partir del 1 de agosto hasta el 18 de agosto al e-mail:
Con cada pago de inscripción, se podrán enviar hasta dos trabajos.

Instrucciones para la preparación de pósters (DESCARGAR)

Formato del trabajo (DESCARGAR)


Investigadores Argentinos radicados en el exterior: Dr. Gustavo A. Slafer (ICREA -University of Lleida, Catalunya, ESPAÑA); Dr. Daniel F. Calderini (Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, CHILE); Dra. Roxana Savin (Universitat de Lleida, ESPAÑA); Dra. María Fernanda Dreccer (CSIRO Plant Industry, Queensland, AUSTRALIA); Dr. Jorge Dubcovsky (University of Davis, California, USA); Dr. Cesar Mariano Cossani (CIMMyT, MEXICO); Investigadores Argentinos radicados en el país: Dr. Daniel J. Miralles (Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Buenos Aires- CONICET); Dra. María Elena Otegui (Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Buenos Aires- CONICET); Dr. Luis Adolfo Nazareno Aguirrezábal (F.C.A., U.N.M.P.- E.E.A. – INTA-CONICET); Dra. Fernanda Gonzalez (CONICET-INTA); Dra Gabriela Leonor Abeledo (Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Buenos Aires-CONICET); Dr. Roman A. Serrago (Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Buenos Aires- CONICET); Dra. Déborah Rondanini (Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Buenos Aires- CONICET).

Investigadores del exterior: Dr. Tim Colmer (Univ. Western Australia) , Dr. Richard Richards (CSIRO, Australia), Dr. Patrick Hayes (Oregon State University, USA), Dr. Ian Bingham (SRU Scotland’s Rural College, Edinburgh, Dr. Pierre Martre (INRA, Montpellier Francia), Dr. Dante Pinochet (Universidad Austral de Chile), Dr. Ivan Mathus (INIA Chile), Dr. Marina Castro (INIA Uruguay), Dr. Luis Viega y Dr. Ariel Castro (Univ República, Uruguay), Dr. Luz Rayda Gomez (Univ Agraria de la Molina, Perú), Ing MSci Carlos Amador (Univ Nacional de Agricultura de Honduras), Dr. Gustavo Lobos y Dr. Alejandro del Pozo (Chile).



Lights, camera, CRISPR: Biologists use gene editing to store movies in DNA

Nature | News

Technique demonstrated in E. coli suggests ways to record key events in a cell’s life.

12 July 2017

Internet users have a variety of format options in which to store their movies, and biologists have now joined the party. Researchers have used the microbial immune system CRISPR–Cas to encode a movie into the genome of the bacterium Escherichia coli.

The technical achievement, reported on 12 July in Nature1, is a step towards creating cellular recording systems that are capable of encoding a series of events, says Seth Shipman, a synthetic biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. While studying brain development, Shipman became frustrated by the lack of a technique to capture how cells in the brain take on distinct identities. This inspired him to explore the possibility of making cellular recorders.

“Cells have this privileged access to all sorts of information,” he says. “I would like to have these molecular recordings functioning in the developing nervous system and recording information.”

CRISPR clips

To develop such a system, however, his team would need to establish a method for recording hundreds of events in a cell. Shipman and his colleagues, including Harvard geneticist George Church, harnessed the CRISPR–Cas immune system best known for enabling researchers to alter genomes with relative ease and accuracy.

Shipman’s team exploited the ability to capture snippets of DNA from invading viruses and store them in an organized array in the host genome. In nature, those snippets then target an enzyme to slice up the invader’s DNA. (It is typically this targeted DNA cutting that geneticists harness for gene editing.)

The team designed its system so that these snippets corresponded to pixels in an image. The researchers encoded the shading of each pixel — along with a barcode that indicated its position in the image — into 33 DNA letters. Each frame of the movie consisted of 104 of these DNA fragments.

Read more

Cuarto Congreso Internacional Científico Tecnológico de la Provincia de Buenos Aires

Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, 1º de Septiembre de 2017

Esta cuarta edición del Congreso de Ciencia y Tecnología, convocado por la Comisión de Investigaciones Científicas de la Provincia de Buenos Aires (CIC), está destinada a generar un nuevo contacto del Organismo y la sociedad, a la vez que promover la labor de sus cuadros de investigadores. Se asienta sobre los tres pilares que conforman las prioridades fijadas en esta gestión: Agua, Energía y Medio ambiente, todos ellos de plena vigencia territorial.

Formulario de inscripción: click here

Se presentarán trabajos de investigación de los centros en forma de resúmenes y de posters, preferentemente de investigadores de la CIC. Cinco de esos trabajos serán seleccionados para su presentación oral. También se prevé una publicación impresa para compilar la totalidad de dichos aportes.

En tanto, para la totalidad de Investigadores, profesionales de apoyo y  becarios se ha establecido la edición de una publicación digital que estará destinada a destacar esas contribuciones, con su correspondiente registro ISBN y con amplia distribución, después de muchos años sin presencia editorial de la CIC.”.

Otras actividades incluyen mesas redondas, demostraciones, presentación de innovaciones tecnológicas y stands con promoción de distintas acciones, prácticas o productos vinculados al objetivo del Congreso.

El apoyo de la Universidad Nacional de Quilmes y del Municipio facilita grandemente la realización del emprendimiento y permite ser optimistas con los resultados

Sixth mass extinction event?

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2017

Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines

Gerardo Ceballos   Paul R. Ehrlich  Rodolfo Dirzo



The strong focus on species extinctions, a critical aspect of the contemporary pulse of biological extinction, leads to a common misimpression that Earth’s biota is not immediately threatened, just slowly entering an episode of major biodiversity loss. This view overlooks the current trends of population declines and extinctions. Using a sample of 27,600 terrestrial vertebrate species, and a more detailed analysis of 177 mammal species, we show the extremely high degree of population decay in vertebrates, even in common “species of low concern.” Dwindling population sizes and range shrinkages amount to a massive anthropogenic erosion of biodiversity and of the ecosystem services essential to civilization. This “biological annihilation” underlines the seriousness for humanity of Earth’s ongoing sixth mass extinction event.


The population extinction pulse we describe here shows, from a quantitative viewpoint, that Earth’s sixth mass extinction is more severe than perceived when looking exclusively at species extinctions. Therefore, humanity needs to address anthropogenic population extirpation and decimation immediately. That conclusion is based on analyses of the numbers and degrees of range contraction (indicative of population shrinkage and/or population extinctions according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature) using a sample of 27,600 vertebrate species, and on a more detailed analysis documenting the population extinctions between 1900 and 2015 in 177 mammal species. We find that the rate of population loss in terrestrial vertebrates is extremely high—even in “species of low concern.” In our sample, comprising nearly half of known vertebrate species, 32% (8,851/27,600) are decreasing; that is, they have decreased in population size and range. In the 177 mammals for which we have detailed data, all have lost 30% or more of their geographic ranges and more than 40% of the species have experienced severe population declines (>80% range shrinkage). Our data indicate that beyond global species extinctions Earth is experiencing a huge episode of population declines and extirpations, which will have negative cascading consequences on ecosystem functioning and services vital to sustaining civilization. We describe this as a “biological annihilation” to highlight the current magnitude of Earth’s ongoing sixth major extinction event.




Montevideo, 13 y el 25 de noviembre de 2017

Organización coordinada entre el Centro Universitario Regional Este (CURE, Rocha) y el Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas Clemete Estable (Montevideo).

Coordinación: Angel Segura y Claudia Piccini