‘It’s like the Pentagon’: New ministry’s control center to improve agriculture data collection

first_img“So this room will be like the Pentagon in the United States. We wage ‘the war’ from here,” added Syahrul, referring to the US Department of Defense headquarters building.The AWR will help provide more accurate data as the ministry has long dealt with data that conflicts with data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS) and agricultural associations. The differences oftentimes trigger debates about whether or not Indonesia needs to import certain agriculture products.Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil and House of Representatives Commission IV chairman Hasan Aminuddin, among other officials, also attended the launch.”If this is managed well, we won’t have to make a fuss over rice imports or any other imports,” Luhut said. Topics : The Agriculture Ministry rolled out on Tuesday a new control center dubbed the Agriculture War Room (AWR) to better track data and survey crop productivity.The AWR monitoring system will generate information on paddy fields, the fertilizer supply and harvest areas using advanced technologies like satellites, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence.”With this instrument, we want agriculture to be more advanced, independent and modern to attain satisfying results,” Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo said during the system’s launch.last_img read more

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Epigenetics: the 21st-Century Scientific Revolution

first_imgIf genetics was the 20th century’s major scientific revolution, epigenetics appears to be the big revolution for the 21st.Epigenetics refers to codes, processes and functions “above” genetics, that control and regulate the genetic code: a “code above the code,” as it were.  Unlike a simple DNA strand, the epigenetic code has a multitude of players that scientists are still struggling to understand.  For a good introduction, watch this 12-minute video on YouTube; for more depth, read the book The Mysterious Epigenome: What Lies Beyond DNA by Woodward and Gills (available from the C.S. Lewis Society and  Amazon.com).One thing is becoming clear; DNA is just a bit player in a much vaster array of information.  The big story now is what controls and regulates the DNA.  Many things in the nucleus once considered “junk” are turning out to be the stars of the show.  In addition, the findings are becoming more and more difficult to explain by neo-Darwinian mechanisms.  Even more startling, epigenetics is undermining some key Darwinian principles.The sheer number of news articles on epigenetics prevents in-depth coverage of any one, but what follows is a sampling of exciting finds in this vast, rich field of research.Aging and epigenetics:  Let’s begin with one close to home: aging.  “Epigenomes of Newborns and Centenarians Differ: New Clues to Increasing Life Span,” announced Science Daily in bold red type, alongside a photo of a grandfather holding an infant.  A new study shows defects due to mutations not just to genetic code base pairs, but to some of the epigenetic marks like methyl tags that help switch genes on and off.  “The results show that the centenarian presents a distorted epigenome that has lost many switches (methyl chemical group), put in charge of inappropriate gene expression and, instead, turn off the switch of some protective genes.”  Understanding these epigenomic processes will, obviously, be vital to improving the health and longevity of every human who gets older.Micro-RNA regulators of regulators:  Nature (June 28) reported that two enzymes “autoregulate” the production of micro-RNA’s (miRNA) which, in turn, regulate gene expression in many pathways (Zisoulis et al, Nature 486, pp. 541-544, doi:10.1038/nature11134).  This discovery is “expanding the functions of the miRNA pathway in gene regulation,” they said.Make space for the non-junk:   “The myth of junk DNA” continues to get exposed.  New Scientist reported that mouse “junk DNA” is vital for gene regulation.  Hannah Krakauer’s opening sentence gives the gist of the article: “Some junk is worth keeping. Non-coding, or junk, mouse DNA contains vast amounts of information vital to gene function – and those regulatory functions take up much more space on the genome than the all-important coding segments.”Master regulator:  PhysOrg‘s article title summarizes the message: “Forty’s a crowd: Study shows that master regulator protein brings plethora of coactivators to gene expression sites.”  After a discussion of a “behemoth” protein named Mediator, this paragraph was notable:Researchers know that all DNA-binding factors partner with other proteins to switch genes on or off. What is remarkable here is their sheer number. “It would be very interesting to find out whether this is the norm,” says Ron Conaway. “This work raises a ton of little questions about mechanism.”Epigenetic disease:  If diseases can be genetic in origin, so can it be egigenetic in origin.  Science Daily wrote that epigenetics alters genes implicated in rheumatoid arthritis.  “It’s not just our DNA that makes us susceptible to disease and influences its impact and outcome,” the article began.  “Scientists are beginning to realize more and more that important changes in genes that are unrelated to changes in the DNA sequence itself — a field of study known as epigenetics — are equally influential.”Epigenomes and cancer:  One more example of the growing interest in epigenetics over plain old genetics is seen in an article in Science, “Genetic Events That Shape the Cancer Epigenome” by Ryan and Bernstein (Science, 22 June 2012: Vol. 336 no. 6088 pp. 1513-1514, DOI: 10.1126/science.1223730).  Sure enough, “there is increasing recognition that transmissible epigenetic changes—chemical modifications to the genome or its scaffold that do not involve a change in the nucleotide sequence—may be acquired de novo, and that these “epimutations” may also contribute to carcinogenesis.”  Scientists would not have understood this had they not looked above and beyond the genome into the epigenome.  The Greek prefix “epi-” (above) appears poised to latch onto a number of old genetic vocabulary words.Grammar and syntax, form and function:  Remember the phrase, “The Human Genome”?  It sounds almost quaint in hindsight.  Not much more than a decade ago, scientists thought mapping the DNA letters would help us understand health, disease, and human evolution.  The new term, according to Science Daily, is The Functional Genome – beyond mere base-pairing.  Starting with the mouse genome, scientists are trying to understand the paragraphs and superstructure within the genetic code, a language above the code itself.  So far, they figure they only understand 11% of the mouse functional genome.  Non-coding “cis-regulatory elements,” for instance (once considered junk), regulate adjacent DNA, the article explained.Popularly dubbed “the book of life,” the human genome is extraordinarily difficult to read. But without full knowledge of its grammar and syntax, the genome’s 2.9 billion base-pairs of adenine and thymine, cytosine and guanine provide limited insights into humanity’s underlying genetics….As expected, the researchers identified different sequences that promote or start gene activity, enhance its activity and define where it occurs in the body during development. More surprising, said Ren, was that the structural organization of the cis-regulatory elements are grouped into discrete clusters corresponding to spatial domains. “It’s a case of form following function,” he said. “It makes sense.”Good interference creates epigenetic memory:  Why would some RNA transcripts interfere with others?  It’s all part of a regulatory dance, scientists are finding out.  Now, a new role for RNA interference (RNAi) was announced on PhysOrg: recognizing and silencing foreign DNA, such as strands introduced by viruses.  It’s heritable, too:  “Once identified, an ‘epigenetic memory’ of the foreign DNA fragments is created and can be passed on from one generation to the next, permanently silencing the gene.”  This has an eerie echo of Lamarckian “inheritance of acquired characteristics.”Once the DNA is identified as foreign and silenced, an epigenetic memory is created that silences the foreign gene from one generation to the next. While the inheritance of this memory requires further exploration, the authors showed that successive generations of C. elegans are unable to express the foreign DNA even if the corresponding piRNA is absent.A vaster landscape:  Geneticists used to speak of the “genetic landscape” but now there’s a vaster field: the “epigenetic landscape.”  James Ferrell discussed this concept in his review, “Bistability, Bifurcations, and Waddington’s Epigenetic Landscape” in Current Biology (Volume 22, Issue 11, R458-R466, 5 June 2012), saying, “Waddington’s epigenetic landscape is probably the most famous and most powerful metaphor in developmental biology.”  His rather lengthy review did not contain any of the following words: Darwin, phylogeny, evolution.In the book The Mysterious Epigenome: What Lies Beyond DNA mentioned above, Woodward and Gills describe in verbal animation what it would be like to ride a sci-fi ship into the nucleus of a cell and watch gene regulation at work.  Their second-to-last chapter, “An Infinitely More Complex Genome,” is like a 4th of July Grand Finale – a rapid-fire series of new discoveries and possibilities that portend a golden age of research in the years ahead, described in vivid metaphors like air traffic control, overlapping messages, codes here there and everywhere, and functional treasure in the “junk”yard.Two practical effects of the Epigenetic Revolution will be: (1) a realization that we are not slaves of our DNA, but that with healthy lifestyle changes, we can control the expression of genes (for instance, a vigorous workout at the gym makes observable effects on gene regulatory tags); (2) increasing pressure against Darwinism.  The realization is growing that there is far more functional information in the cell than neo-Darwinists ever imagined.  If the genetic code was a challenge to explain by undirected processes operating stepwise by natural selection, what will be the reaction to codes upon codes, master regulators of other regulators, and millions of molecules performing a living symphony?Got irreducible complexity?  Here, Charlie.  Come and look what we brought you: a little gift for your ailing stomach.Dr. Thomas Woodward,* a Christian theology professor, historian of science and president of the C. S. Lewis Society in Tampa, Florida, feels justifiably excited to see this vast new panorama of epigenetics as vindication par excellence for the Biblical world view.  Not only that, he and co-author Dr. James P. Gills, a world-renowned ophthalmologist and modern pioneer of cataract surgery, see that world view in light of these discoveries contributing to human health: a new way to cultivate a spirit of wellness.  This is not surprising, since Jesus said that a good tree produces good fruit (Matthew 7:17), and both ends of the Bible describe the Tree of Life that God planted.Exercise: What kind of fruit has Darwin’s “tree of life” produced lately?  Here’s a few possibilities to get you started: storytelling in the name of science, the Stuff Happens law, atheism, moral relativism, pride, intellectual intolerance, eugenics, abortion, infanticide, “scientific” racism, tyranny, genocide.  Now read Matthew 7:15-20. 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Ancajas gains foreign fans after explosive US showing

first_imgAFP official booed out of forum NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers LATEST STORIES Arellano Eyes twin NCAA titles Last Friday, the visitors included Japanese and Britons. They spent big amounts for taxi fares just to be with the International Boxing Federation junior bantamweight champion who knocked out Mexican Israel Gonzalez in the 10th round in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Feb. 3.According to Joven Jimenez, Ancajas’ trainer and manager, the foreigners brought along boxing gloves, shirts and other mementos for Ancajas to sign. They also posed for pictures with the southpaw being hailed as the next Filipino ring superstar after Manny Pacquiao.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAs a result of Ancajas’ fourth straight KO victory, Jimenez’s stock as trainer also rose, with Chinese and Australian boxers wanting to hone their skills at the makeshift gym.Jimenez said they are still waiting for matchmaker Sean Gibbons to finalize details of Ancajas’ next title fight against mandatory challenger Jonas Sultan. On Monday, Ancajas will start light training. —ROY LUARCA After an impressive initial foray in the United States, Jerwin Ancajas gained local following and international acclaim.Proof is a steady stream of media outfits and fans, including foreigners, trooping to his secluded Survival Camp in Barangay Ramirez, Magallanes, Cavite province.ADVERTISEMENT Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics PLAY LIST 00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH01:55Cops raid Manila office of Bayan, nab 3 activists for guns, explosive01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH View comments 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting MOST READ Read Next John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMClast_img read more

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National Training Camp

first_imgThe 2008 National Training Squads (NTS) for the Men’s Open, Women’s Open, and Mixed Open will participate in the Training Camp at the NSW Academy of Sport in Narrabeen. The camp will be the first since the Australian Teams defended the 2007 World Cup in South AfricaThe NTS combine with the Australian Youth Squads as they prepare to reclaim the Youth World Cup in New Zealand in January 2009. The 18’s Boys, 18’s Girls, 18’s Mixed, 20’s Boys, 20’s Girls, and 20’s Mixed will be put their paces by some of the leading coaches in the country.Leading referees will also be involved in the camp under the direction of the National Referee Panel with a mix of practical and theory sessions.Combined with the event will also be a Women’s Leadership Coaching Workshop in what is sure to be a busy weekend for the Touch Football fraternity.For further information about TFA’s High Performance Program, please visit http://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?assoc=3780&pID=14last_img read more

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