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Gene controlling tomatoes' shape is cloned

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Gizmorama - Gene controlling tomatoes' shape is cloned
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Good Morning,

Well, another week has passed us by and as we prepare for 
a new one you can give your brain a little work-out with 
today's interesting edition of Gizmorama. 

Until Tomorrow,

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      Pre-quake seismic wave changes discovered

PARKFIELD, Calif. - U.S. scientists say they observed 
changes in seismic wave speeds before two small California 
earthquakes -- a finding that might lead to quake forecasts.
Study co-author Paul Silver of the Carnegie Institution 
said the discovery was made at the San Andreas Fault 
Observatory at Depth, located halfway between Los Angeles 
and San Francisco. The observatory consists of two holes 
drilled into the fault zone. The researchers told the BBC 
they generate seismic waves deep in one hole and then time 
their arrival at a seismometer in the other hole. The 
speed of the waves varies due to stress-induced cracks 
opening and closing in the rocks. One change was observed 
approximately two hours before the first earthquake and 
the other preceded a quake by about 10 hours. "If you had 
10 hours' warning, from a practical point of view, you 
could evacuate populations, you could certainly get people 
out of buildings, you could get the fire department ready," 
Silver told BBC News. "Hurricane (warnings) give you an 
idea of what could be done." The research that included 
Fenglin Niu of Rice University and scientists from the 
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory appears in the 
journal Nature. 

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      Gene controlling tomatoes' shape is cloned

COLUMBUS, Ohio - U.S. crop scientists say they have cloned 
a gene called SUN that can control the shape of tomatoes 
and possibly other fruits and vegetables. Ohio State 
University researchers said their achievement might help 
delineate the genetic complexities involved in the 
morphological differences among edible fruits, vegetables 
and plant development. Assistant Professor Esther van der 
Knaap, lead researcher in the National Science Foundation-
funded study, said although tomatoes have evolved into 
various shapes, very little is known about the genetic 
basis for such transformations. "We are trying to under-
stand what kind of genes caused the enormous increase in 
fruit size and variation in fruit shape as tomatoes were 
domesticated," van der Knaap said. "Once we know all the 
genes that were selected during that process, we will be 
able to piece together how domestication shaped the tomato 
fruit -- and gain a better understanding of what controls 
the shape of other very diverse crops, such as peppers 
and the cucumber and squash family." Asked if her lab 
could make small round cucumbers, van der Knaap said: 
"I'm not sure. But they would certainly look nice in a 


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       U.S. to use supercomputer for ocean data

WASHINGTON - The IBM Corp. says the U.S. government has
purchased a supercomputer to provide improved data for
the nation's military and commercial ocean-going vessels.
IBM said the U.S. Department of Defense will use the Power
575 Hydro-Cluster, water-cooled supercomputer to provide
some of the most detailed models of ocean waves, currents
and temperature ever constructed to help scientists predict
the behavior of the oceans with incredible precision.
Although to be primarily used by the U.S. Navy, the ocean
models will be publicly accessible via the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration's Web site, helping keep
commercial ships out of harm's way. The ocean models will
also be used by the U.S. Coast Guard to improve its search-
and-rescue capabilities. IBM said the supercomputer located
at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi will also be
used as a platform for research and development in ocean
science and other areas vital to the nation's defense.

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