Aguero looking vulnerable as City evolve under Guardiola

first_imgMANCHESTER, England (AP): Manchester City’s spine of goalkeeper Joe Hart, centre back Vincent Kompany, midfielder Yaya TourÈ and striker Sergio Aguero has anchored the team since 2011 in the most decorated period in its history. One by one, it is being dismantled by Pep Guardiola. Hart has been sent out on loan to Italy. The injury-hampered Kompany no longer appears first choice. Toure has been ostracised. And the seemingly unthinkable is happening: Aguero is coming under pressure for his place. Aguero started on the bench for the English Premier League game against Everton last Saturday after playing two matches for Argentina during the international break. More surprisingly, he stayed among the substitutes for the Champions League match at Barcelona on Wednesday, when Guardiola preferred to play midfielder Kevin De Bruyne up front. Aguero has been untouchable, a guaranteed starter since joining from Atletico Madrid in July 2011. Suddenly, possibly the most popular player among City fans – and a scorer of 102 league goals in his first five seasons at the club – is vulnerable and seemingly dispensable, even if he is likely to regain his place for the Premier League match against Southampton tomorrow. When asked if Aguero was being phased out, Guardiola said yesterday that the player’s future was at City. “When Sergio decides to leave Manchester City, it will be his decision,” Guardiola said. Then, echoing comments he made about Hart in August before allowing him to leave, Guardiola added: “I appreciate him (as) a football player. I appreciate (as) a man what he did here.” It’s not just the recent selection decisions that hint at a sense of unease between Guardiola and Aguero. Guardiola has said publicly on at least two occasions this season that he wants more from Aguero than just goals, just like he wanted more from Hart than simply making saves. After Aguero’s hat-trick in the Champions League win over Borussia Moenchengladbach, Guardiola said: “I cannot teach him (about his talent in the penalty box), but he has to know that behind, the rest of the team wants to help him, and that is what I want to convince him.” While on international duty with Argentina this month, Aguero was quoted as telling Argentine media that Guardiola “is very picky about everything, (and) it’s good. “The good thing is that I’m getting used to him and automatically going straight into pressing the centre backs.” Aguero, who is contracted to City until 2020, has 11 goals in 10 appearances this season, and 19 in his last 20 dating to last season. There are few better, attainable strikers around and it will be intriguing to see how the situation pans out, especially with Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus due to arrive in December to provide competition up front. Guardiola said on Friday that he had no regrets about his decision to drop Aguero for the Barcelona game, which City lost 4-0 after having goalkeeper Claudio Bravo red-carded. That made it four games without a win for Guardiola, and a failure to beat Southampton would equal the longest streak without a victory in his coaching career. In an answer that lasted more than 61/2 minutes yesterday, he defended his tactics at Camp Nou and praised the personality of his young players like John Stones and De Bruyne. Guardiola repeated he will not change his style. “I think about that, yes,” he said. “But after that, the solution is not better than what I believe, so I cannot. Do you know why as well? Because in seven years (at Barcelona and Bayern Munich), I won 21 titles. Ö So it’s three titles per year playing in that way. “No, no, I’m not going to change. First, it’s going to happen that (if) it’s not going well in the future, next season isn’t going well in that way, I will go home.”last_img read more

U-19 cricket gets boost from Sandals

first_img Four zones The competition will see four zoned teams, Eastern Flames, Western Heats, Northern Lights and Southern Sparks, competing over a four-week period. All matches will be played on Saturdays, beginning June 17. At the end of the series, the best players will be selected for an intense two week academy to be held at Sabina Park. President of the Jamaica Cricket Association, Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven said the importance of the competition to Jamaican cricket could not be overstated. “This tournament will create a critical path for youngsters to play for Jamaica and hopefully the West Indies. Under-19 cricket is the next step to playing Senior Cup cricket and then Jamaica and the West Indies,” Heaven said. The beginning of the West Indies Test series against Pakistan on Friday, was also the start of another important milestone in the development of cricket in Jamaica. The Jamaica Cricket Association announced at a press conference at Sabina Park, that Sandals Resorts International has committed to a three-year sponsorship of an Under-19 cricket competition and academy. Rainforest Seafoods and Wisynco have also committed their support to the initiative. Guest speaker at the launch Sports Minister Olivia Grange, said there is a need for programmes such as this one. “We have seen a steady decline in performances especially at the youth level, but as a national team, we always want to be the winners. We won’t accept anything else but being number one”, she said. Sandals Resorts International’s director, corporate services, Jeremy Jones reiterated the need for corporate support of the sport in Jamaica. “Sandals Resorts believes in youth development through sports and has graduated close to 1,000 young cricketers through our academy in the eastern Caribbean. It is with tremendous pride that we bring this programme to our home in Jamaica.”last_img read more

Dutch Photographer (Part 3): Paul Julien Helped by the Catholic Mission

first_imgPaul Julien, who leads us through parts of Liberia in the early 1930s, was born into a Roman Catholic family and devoted to that religion his whole life. During his travels he regularly stayed with missionaries. He speaks of them with great respect and admiration. On August 30th 1932 Julien writes to his parents: “When the rain stopped for a moment I went to the Catholic mission, that operates a simple, small church at the edge of the village [referring not to Monrovia but to Kru Town]. I was received warmly by the three Irish religious men, who immediately offered me their guestroom.”The next day Julien would shift from Madam Richards’ guest-house, where we found him last week, to the fathers.  In the book, written 8 years and several trips to other countries later, Julien says that “There are few periods of my African life that have caused such intense memories as my stay at the mission in Monrovia. I knew that the brave missionaries lived a sober life – oh, why shouldn’t I just say they lived in poverty, and that the pastor, Father O’Leary, had trouble keeping the household going, but that the optimistic spirit and the vitality and warmth radiating from Mgr. Collins made one forget every lack of luxury.”By the time he wrote this, the missionary he met as Mgr. John Collins had been promoted to the post of Bishop of Liberia. The mission also was a consulate. Collins was representing the Vatican with the Liberian government.”A search for a Legation that is as modest as this Mission on the West-African coast and completely devoid of pretences, would be without success worldwide.”On August 4th 1932 Julien informs his parents that “My route will be: Monrovia, 10 days forest; Gbarnga, 6 days forest; Sanequellie [sic], 4 days forest; Gwecké, 1 day Beyla; 3 days road Niger-Kankan; 3 days train Conakry. With delays it will take about 5 or 6 weeks.”September 6th he sends them a message that he arrived in Kankan, which means that all worked out as planned. It is remarkable how the experience of time changes in Julien’s writings. Looking back, still in appreciation of the missionaries, it sounds as though the hike did not take a month but almost half a year: “I am sure that my trip to the distant Niger, a route that had to be covered fully on foot during the height of the rainy season, would not have been without accidents if I wouldn’t have had the huge privilige of using the extensive knowledge and experience of Mgr. Collins. The Vicaris had, albeit along a different route, made the first part of the journey, up to Sanequelleh [sic], himself, which was invaluable to me because up to now there are only sketchy maps available of Liberia’s interior that are highly unreliable and that fail to mention even places of importance. It was then July 1932, and before that same year ended I would have reached the Niger to the astonishment of the authorities of French Guinea, who had never had a European traveler coming from the south.”There is a moment in which Julien’s exchange with the missionaries touches another important story in Liberia’s history of the late 1920s and early 1930s: the influence of the League of Nations in Liberia following their inquisition into forced labour and slavery, and the threatening bankruptcy of the country. Father Collins tells him that the authorities consider him to be a League of Nations spy and see his research as a scapegoat because he was the first European in years to travel through the interior.A letter written by Pro-Vicar J. Kennedy, who replaced Bishop Collins while he was on leave due to ill health, testifies to Julien’s intentions to return to Liberia. The letter is dated November 29, 1946, a year and a half after the end of the Second World War. It tells Julien that, “The Centenary Celebrations of Liberian Independence occurs on July 26, 1947. A great celebration was planned, and Foreign Nations were expected to participate. Owing to World conditions, the celebrations will be now purely domestic, and instead an Exposition has been fixed for 1949.” Kennedy advises against Julien’s travel-plans: “I could not advise you to come to Liberia next year. Accomodation is almost impossible to obtain at present, and costs are very high. The construction of a new harbour at Monrovia has brought many people to the town and increased the population. This harbour may be completed by August of next year. One of the reasons why the Centenary Celebrations have been changed is because of the lack of accommodation for visitors and the impossibility of obtaining building materials.’Julien never set foot on Liberian soil again. But thanks to what he left behind we will be able to see the Krutown community of the 1930s next week.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Copa Airlines to increase flights to Guyana

first_imgCopa Airlines has announced that it will be adding another flight to its Guyana-Panama route with onward connections effective December 9 of this year.With approval from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Copa will operate the additional flight on Fridays, adding to existing flights on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.According to the carrier, this decision to add an additional flight day is based on increasing demand that has been generated as well as plans to expand its services in Guyana.Copa’s Regional Sales Manager Bernardo Ordas commented on this move, saying, “The airline is very proud to be serving Guyana. The additional flight will cater to the growing demand and will also provide a way by which Guyana’s tourism product could be further enhanced. We are also cognisant of the increase in traffic associated with Guyana’s emerging oil and gas industry and would like to continue playing a role in national development.”Copa Airlines Sales Manager in Guyana, Nadine Oudkerk added, “The addition of a fifth flight to Guyana is part of our ongoing expansion efforts in the country and demonstrates that Copa is here to stay. We have been able to build strong partnerships with a number of groups, companies, and individuals, and remain committed to further developing these valuable relationships.”In 2015, the airline doubled its capacity to four flights in response to increased requests from passengers to expand the service. The airline company currently offers flights to over 78 destinations in 32 countries in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean.With advancements in Guyana’s tourism sector, air transport has played a critical role and many carriers have sought to improve connections between Guyana and other nations.Just a few weeks ago, American Airlines commenced operations in Guyana, one of its 19 destinations across South America.At that time, GCAA Director General Zulifar Mohamed mentioned that the carrier would advance Guyana’s tourism industry and increase the flight count to the North American continent. For him, bridging those gaps is essential for the country and its economy.“We welcome them because the kind of connection they bring to Guyana would surely enhance not only tourism, but also trade in Guyana …The connectivity is needed in Guyana. We certainly know that the ridership will increase and the uplift out of Guyana will certainly welcome the increased flights out of North America,” Field was quoted as saying.Adding to that, Guyana hosted the Air Transport Meeting at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, which was organised by the GCAA in collaboration with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo highlighted during his remarks that Guyana made a 20 per cent improvement in the aviation sector and currently had 64 per cent compliance. He said this was evidence that the aviation sector was moving in the right direction.The Air Transport Meeting addressed issues such as harmonising the regional air transport regulatory framework as well as the liberalisation of air cargo through regional and global approaches.last_img read more

Manchester United transfer news: deadline day swoop for Bayern basher would be a superb move

first_imgFor brilliant football statistics and insight, check out WhoScored.comWolfsburg’s 4-1 thumping of Bayern Munich on Friday evening was certainly the biggest shock of the weekend.The first game in Germany’s top tier following the winter break pitted the Bundesliga’s top two teams against one another at the Volkswagen Arena in a meeting that should have been a more closely fought affair, though Bayern remained favourites.The four goals Bayern shipped was the same amount as they had conceded in the opening 17 league games this term and it was the performance of Kevin de Bruyne that ensured Wolfsburg secured a startling win.The young Belgian was WhoScored.com’s man of the match in the victory, gaining a rating of 9.68 having provided for Bas Dost to net the opener before bagging a second half double of his own.De Bruyne’s assist in the third minute was his 11th of the campaign; only Chelsea’s Cesc Fàbregas (15) has more of all players in Europe’s top five leagues this season.After his permanent move to Wolfsburg 12 months ago, the 23-year-old has begun to realise his potential after a mixed spell at Chelsea.His performances have rightly attracted reported interest of Europe’s biggest clubs, with Manchester United supposedly keeping tabs on the Belgium international.While the defence should be the priority for the former champions, they have shown a lack of cutting edge in the final third at times this season and a player of De Bruyne’s quality would significantly improve their attack.Only Dimitri Payet (3.7) is averaging more key passes per game than De Bruyne (3.4) in Europe’s top five leagues this season and with Juan Mata thus far having failed to live up to the £37.1m fee paid to secure his services last January, United boss Louis van Gaal may be beginning to lose patience in the Spaniard.Mata has a tendency to let games pass him by and unless he is at the heart of offensive moves, he offers very little else.When presented with the chance to stake a claim for a regular starting spot under Van Gaal, the former Chelsea star has underwhelmed, reinforced by his poor WhoScored.com rating (6.86) in the Premier League this term.An average of 1.4 key passes per game is disappointing by his standards and a more influential presence in the final third is crucial if United are to reestablish themselves as England’s top team.Only Arjen Robben (8.38) has a better WhoScored.com rating than De Bruyne in the Bundesliga this season (7.97), reinforcing how excellent a season he is enjoying.An average of 3.1 successful dribbles per league match is better than every United player this term, with summer arrival Angel Di María (1.9) closest to matching that.The Belgian’s directness in attacking positions will help him break through defences, a much-needed quality against teams who may sit deeper.Meanwhile, an average of 3.1 shots per league game suggests De Bruyne is capable of either going for goal himself or, as a statistically calculated strength of ‘key passes’ suggests, creating for others.Depending on whether Van Gaal looks to keep with a 3-1-4-2 formation or a 4-3-1-2, the Belgian is the ideal player to perform behind the front pairing and his creative ability will benefit strike duo Robin van Persie and Falcao.With the clock ticking closer to the transfer window slamming shut, any potential deal for De Bruyne would have to be completed as soon as possible. However, a player of his calibre would be worth going all the way to the deadline for, provided United firm up their reported interest in the Wolfsburg star.You can follow all the scores, statistics and live player and team ratings with the new free-to-download WhoScored iOS app Kevin de Bruyne – Premier League transfer target 1last_img read more

£850bn Saudi Prince ‘set for talks about huge investment in Man United’

first_img Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman – said to be worth £850bn – appears to want use football to assist in the makeover after seeing Qatar and the United Arab Emirates improve their appearance thanks to their investment in the beautiful game.And experts who insist, behind the official agenda, the Saudis want to talk about buying into United, have noted Glazer’s attendance, following other visits to the oil-rich country. silverware Manchester United’s Old Trafford Stadium. Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade It is yet to be seen whether the Glazer family would actually move anything beyond just talks given their ownership so far.They have taken more than £1billion out of the club since a 2005 takeover and boosted their income to a world-record £590million last season.Meanwhile, back in August the club’s share price reached a record high of $24 [£18.25] per share, valuing the club at around £3.1billion.Sources close to The Sun suggest it’s likely the Glazer’s are more likely to sell off some of their private share at the current time, rather than the whole club, similar to the way a state-backed Chinese consortium bought 13 per cent of the City Football Group owners of Manchester City and others clubs around the world, in 2015. Latest Football News Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade RANKED 2 BEST OF ADVICE REVEALED Manchester United co-chairman Avram Glazer is due to attend a conference in Saudi Arabia next week – sparking talk of investment or even a takeover at Old Trafford, according to The Sun.The Red Devils’ owners have always said they have no interest in selling the Premier League club but sources believe Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman wishes to buy in as he looks to take on the Abu Dhabi-based owners of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ Man United do already have a partnership with Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority as it helps to develop football in the country, but the nation is also one of the few countries or institutions able to fund a full takeover, which would cost more than £3billion.The Future Investment Initiatve conference is being held in Riyadh for the second time as Saudi Arabia bids to transform its image into an outward-looking financial and political force. huge blow REVEALED England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won 2 Co-chairman Avram Glazer is the man heading to Saudi Arabia. Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card no dice Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? MONEY REPLY Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move last_img read more

INTENSIVE SIX-WEEK ACTOR TRAINING PROGRAMME TO BE ROLLED-OUT AT AN GRIANÁN THEATRE

first_imgAn Grianán Theatre in association with Workhouse Theatre Company are rolling out an intensive six-week acting course called ‘WorkLab’ which will get underway next week. Ever wondered how good you could really be? Well now you can find out!For the next six weeks Workhouse Theatre Company will be running WorkLab, an exciting yet intensive programme in Actor training. You will experience the rigours, demands and fruits of a actors training and a professional theatre production.The course will appeal to theatre and film enthusiasts. Places on the course will be strictly limited and all applicants must be over 16.WorkLab will be led by Iarla McGowan, whose recent theatre credits include working with Field Day Theatre Company and at the Royal National Theatre.Classes will be held in Letterkenny every Tuesday and Thursday from 6.30pm – 9.30pm. The cost of the course is €120. Classes will begin with a free introduction workshop on Tuesday 17th Feb in rehearsal room 1 at the Regional Cultural Centre (RCC) in Letterkenny at 6.30pm, for all those interested.To book a place on the free introduction class please call the AnGrianán box office on 074 9120777. Booking now will guarantee you avoid that feeling of ‘why did I not?’ in three weeks time! #WorkLabINTENSIVE SIX-WEEK ACTOR TRAINING PROGRAMME TO BE ROLLED-OUT AT AN GRIANÁN THEATRE was last modified: February 13th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:.EntertainmentFeaturesnewsWorkhouse Theatrelast_img read more

RNA Research Uncovers a Previously Ignored Universe of Genetic Information

first_imgA slow revolution is occurring in the study of genetic information.  Until recently, the only interesting items in DNA sequences were the genes – the genetic codes for proteins.  Since these usually represented only a small fraction of an organism’s genome, it was assumed the rest of the material was “junk DNA” – sequences that were either mutated leftovers of real genes (pseudogenes), spacers (introns), nonsense strands, or regions that merely provided structural support for the more important genes.    Indications that something was wrong with this picture have arisen over the last few years.  For one, geneticists were surprised to count only about 30,000 protein-coding genes in the human genome; more recent counts have dropped the number to 25,000.  How could such a complex organism as a human being arise from such a small library of genetic information?  Another clue was the mismatch between messenger RNAs and proteins.  Messenger RNA (mRNA) is the transcript of the DNA template that carries the genetic information outside the nucleus of eukaryotic cells to a ribosome, where it is translated into the amino acid language of proteins.  Scientists found that many mRNAs never got that far.  Were they simply disassembled and recycled?  A third clue was the discovery of vast quantities of small RNAs in the cell (10/26/2001).  Some were found to apparently regulate the expression of genes; what did the others do?  Additionally, the mystery of introns (09/03/2003), viewed as useless nonsense strands of DNA cut out of genes by spliceosomes (09/17/2004), deepened when some were shown to be remarkably conserved (05/27/2004) between primitive and advanced organisms, suggesting they had a function.  Is it possible scientists have vastly underestimated the amount of information in the cell, like walking into a forest and assuming the only living things there are the trees?  Perhaps a kind of “gene chauvinism” has masked the reality of a much higher order of complexity.    The cover story of the Sept. 2 issue of Science, “Mapping RNA Form and Function,” explored this question.  Of the 18 articles about RNA and its functional role in the cell, here are a few glimpses of the emerging picture that is putting to rest the old notion – that biological information is comprised only of genes and proteins.Parallel universe:  Guy Riddihough, in the introductory article,1 ventured into the “forest of RNA dark matter” and found a wonderland:For a long time, RNA has lived in the shadow of its more famous chemical cousin DNA and of the proteins that supposedly took over RNA’s functions in the transition from the ‘RNA world’ [07/11/2002, 08/23/2005] to the modern one.  The shadow cast has been so deep that a whole universe (or so it seems) of RNA—predominantly of the noncoding variety—has remained hidden from view, until recently….The discovery that much of the mammalian genome is transcribed, in some places without gaps (so-called transcriptional “forests”), shines a bright light on this embarrassing plenitude: an order of magnitude more transcripts than genes….  Many of these noncoding RNAs … are conserved across species, yet their functions (if any) are largely unknown…. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)As if that were not enough, he noted that “even the coding and base-paring capacity of RNA can be altered–by RNA editing, in which bases in the RNA are changed on the fly.”  It appears there is much life in the forest than just the trees.Hidden infrastructure:  Matthew W. Vaughn and Rob Martienssen2 discussed the probability that vast numbers of small RNAs (sRNA) may be essential for regulation of genes.  Some of these micro-RNAs (miRNAs) and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) have already been identified in gene regulation, but many more remain to be studied.  In one plant, 1.5 million sRNAs composed of 75,000 unique sequences were recently found, suggesting that “many more genes may be under the control of sRNAs than had been previously imagined.”  These noncoding RNAs, usually 20-something bases long, keep a bag of tricks up their sleeves:They can direct cleavage of other transcripts and can also promote second-strand synthesis by RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP), resulting in dsRNAs [double-stranded RNA].  In addition, siRNAs are implicated in recruiting heterochromatic modifications that result in transcriptional silencing.The authors mentioned several ways in which these sRNAs had escaped detection due to the methods used.Pseudo – Not:  Vaughn and Martienssen also noted the relationship of sRNAs to pseudogenes.  Once thought to be mutated relics of true genes because they often contain premature stop codons, pseudogenes might be sources for siRNAs that regulate the true genes they resemble: “they could act transitively on transcripts from paralogous protein-coding genes by promoting cleavage or interfering with translation,” they continued.  “More than half of the pseudogene sRNAs matched sequences elsewhere in the genome, indicating that this may be the case and suggesting a mechanism for coordinated trans-acting regulation of closely related members of gene families.”What Are They There For?  Now that we know large numbers of small RNAs exist, what do they do?  John S. Mattick3 suggested that they are not “transcriptional noise,” but rather “constitute a critical hidden layer of gene regulation in complex organisms, the understanding of which requires new approaches in functional genomics.”  This will be a big task, he warns.  One study of one such small RNA found it acting as a scaffold for the assembly of protein complexes and for coordinating nuclear traffic, helping localize gene products to their correct subcellular compartments.  This one case reveals “a new dimension of organizational control in cell biology and development,” and “illustrates the magnitude of the task that is in front of us, which may be an equal or greater challenge than that we already face in working out the biochemical function and biological role of all of the known and predicted proteins and their isoforms.”  Since cataloging the human proteome is the next daunting task after deciphering the genome, this statement should put geneticists on notice.New Glasses Needed:  One assumption guiding previous research was that if a sequence was “evolutionarily conserved” (i.e., largely unchanged from primitive to advanced organisms), this indicated it was probably functional.  Mattick cast doubt on that assumption: “Notably, evolutionary conservation may not be a reliable signature of functional ncRNAs” [non-coding RNAs].  The conserved ones may act on many substrates, he noted, but non-conserved ones may have few and be less restrained to vary.  Many ncRNAs, Mattock thinks, may be “evolving quickly” and escaping detection by methods that look for sequence conservation.    Here is another indication that “junk DNA” actually represents information we haven’t yet decoded:It is also clear that the majority of the genomes of animals is indeed transcribed, which suggests that these genomes are either replete with largely useless transcription or that these noncoding RNA sequences are fulfilling a wide range of unexpected functions in eukaryotic biology.  These sequences include introns (Fig. 1), which account for at least 30% of the human genome but have been largely overlooked because they have been assumed to be simply degraded after splicing.  However, it has been shown that many miRNAs and all known small nucleolar RNAs in animals are sourced from introns (of both protein-coding and noncoding transcripts), and it is simply not known what proportion of the transcribed introns are subsequently processed into smaller functional RNAs.  It is possible, and logically plausible, that these sequences are also a major source of regulatory RNAs in complex organisms.That higher animals should run on “complex genetic programming” should “come as no surprise,” he concluded.  It means, though, that “we may have seriously misunderstood the nature of genetic programming in the higher organisms by assuming that most genetic information is expressed as and transacted by proteins.”  Truly we have embarked on a long road.Mt. Improbable Looms Higher:  Jean-Michel Claverie4 echoed Mattock’s estimation of the task, saying it is “only recently that the sheer scale of the phenomenon” of functional non-coding RNA has been realized.  He pointed to research on the mouse genome that half its “transcriptome” (the corpus of RNA transcribed from DNA) consists of non-coding RNA (ncRNA).  He found a eureka moment: “These results provide a solution to the discrepancy between the number of (protein-coding) genes and the number of transcripts,” he wrote.  Missing them has been an artifact of our methods.  “Noncoding transcripts originating from intergenic regions, introns, or antisense strands have probably been right before our eyes for 8 years without having been discovered!”Prokaryotes Say Me, Too:  Claverie doubted that the discovery of functional ncRNA is limited to eukaryotes: “The notion that transcription is limited to protein-coding genes is also being challenged in microbial systems.”  He pointed to E. coli which contains many transcripts from intergenic sequences and antisense strands (i.e., transcribed from the opposite strand of DNA).  His ending paragraph should humble Watson and Crick, who thought they had it figured out 50 years ago:The intergenic, intronic, and antisense transcribed sequences that were once deemed artifactual are now a testimony to our collective refusal to depart from an oversimplified gene model.  But what if transcription is even more complex?  Could it, for instance, lead to mRNAs generated from two different chromosomes (Fig. 1)?  A year ago, we would have immediately suspected such sequences as further artifacts arising from large-scale cDNA [complementary DNA, a strand that forms a template for mRNA] sequencing programs.  But now?  Perhaps it’s time to go back to the cDNA sequence databases and reevaluate the numerous unexpected objects they contain.  Transcription will never be simple again, but how complex will it get?The Life and Times of mRNA:  Melissa Moore5 provided a more whimsical view of the actors in the genetic play.  Dismissing the simplistic “short obituary” of RNAs as simply a “central conduits in the flow of information from DNA to protein,” she wrote, “this dry and simplistic description captures nothing of the intricacies, intrigues, and vicissitudes defining the life history of even the most mundane mRNA.  In addition, of course, some mRNAs lead lives that, if not quite meriting an unauthorized biography, certainly have enough twists and turns to warrant a more detailed nucleic acid interest story.”  She offered a prècis for her novel, giving us a glimpse into the frenzy of activity in the life of mRNA:We will follow the lives of eukaryotic mRNAs from the point at which they are birthed from the nucleus until they are done in by gangs of exonucleases lying in wait in dark recesses of the cytoplasm.  Along the way, mRNAs may be shuttled to and from or anchored at specific subcellular locations, be temporarily withheld from the translation apparatus, have their 3′ ends trimmed and extended, fraternize with like-minded mRNAs encoding proteins of related function, and be scrutinized by the quality-control police.It turns out the mRNA is not just a carrier of information, but a “posttranscriptional operon” with many roles in the cell.  For instance, some RNAs bind with proteins to form messenger ribonucleoprotein particles (mRNPs): “Individual mRNP components can be thought of as adaptors that allow mRNAs to interface with the numerous intracellular machineries mediating their subcellular localization, translation, and decay, as well as the various signal transduction systems.”  For a sampler, Moore listed a “cheat sheet” of 11 such mRNPs and their functions.  Her article gave some up-close-and-personal vignettes of some of the players, personifying their birth, baptism (entry into the “transcriptionally active pool”), examination, recruitment, retirement, dispatch and burial.Space does not permit delving into the other 13 articles that describe such things as RNA’s role in the ribosome, how RNA is recycled, and other interesting topics.6  These samples should suffice to show that the information content of the cell has probably been vastly oversimplified before now.  Remarkably, some researchers are looking at this new universe of RNA regulation and seeing an evolutionary path leading back into the fog of prehistory.  Since the leading origin-of-life theory is the so-called “RNA World” scenario, some are speculating about whether today’s small RNAs are relics of a lost world in which early RNAs shared the roles of genetic storage and catalysis.  Readers are referred to earlier entries on RNA and the origin of life (07/11/2002, 08/23/2005) for further study.Addendum:  Genes themselves, too, may contain much more information than previously realized.  Several articles recently hinted at how genetic information could vastly outstrip the mere gene count.  One mechanism of compressing information on DNA is alternative splicing: the spliceosome, after removing the introns, apparently can rearrange the exons into multiple products in some cases, something like the way kids take Lego blocks and make a variety of machines out of them.  Another possibility for information storage is the overlooked opposite DNA strand, or “antisense” strand.  Even though it represents a “photographic negative” of the normal strand, some mRNAs can apparently read it and generate additional, different protein products from it.  These and other mechanisms, such as frame-shifted transcription, the histone code, or the ability of mRNAs to join transcripts from different chromosomes, suggest that the information coded in genes is just the tip of a very large info-berg.1Guy Riddihough, “In the Forests of RNA Dark Matter,” Science, Vol 309, Issue 5740, 1507, 2 September 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5740.1507].2Vaughn and Martienssen, “It’s a Small RNA World, After All,” Science, Vol 309, Issue 5740, 1525-1526, 2 September 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1117805].3John S. Mattick, “The Functional Genomics of Noncoding RNA,” Science, Vol 309, Issue 5740, 1527-1528, 2 September 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1117806].4Jean-Michel Claverie, “Fewer Genes, More Noncoding RNA,” Science, Vol 309, Issue 5740, 1529-1530 , 2 September 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1116800].5Melissa J. Moore, “From Birth to Death: The Complex Lives of Eukaryotic mRNAs,” Science, Vol 309, Issue 5740, 1514-1518, 2 September 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1111443].6For popular reports on these subjects, see EurekAlert #1, EurekAlert #2, EurekAlert #3 (the “software of life”), and a press release from U of Delaware.Which theory – intelligent design or Darwinism – would have predicted this complexity?  Is there any hint of an evolutionary sequence leading up to this highly-coordinated, quality-controlled, information-rich system?  (Recall from the 08/23/2005 entry that RNA does not form readily in water, and is highly unstable; its presence in the cell is only made possible by stringent programmed operations with quality control.)  The gap between a mythical “RNA World” and the living world of real functioning RNA in the cell could never have been wider.  As the cloud cover lifts, the summit of Mt. Improbable stretches higher into the sky.    Darwinism had enough trouble explaining the 4-letter (G,C,A,T) triplet-codon genetic code.  Simple Watson-Crick base pairing and the old one-gene one-enzyme principle, the so-called “Central Dogma” of genetics was taught as The Big Picture till we knew better.  Now that junk DNA is out (07/15/2005), the whole cellular information flowchart appears as complex as that of a well-run city, where each employee has a role.  Each information-rich molecule is born, lives an active life and is retired, as Moore personified it.  It’s time for the Darwin Party to let go of the steering wheel and let the Intelligent Design community drive science out of the naturalistic rut it’s in.  Knowing how to read the signs of intelligent causation, they can help get science back onto the freeway of enriched understanding (see 06/25/2005 entry and commentary).(Visited 21 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Arsenal, UJ in SADC football project

first_img2 October 2008London-based Arsenal Football Club is establishing its footprint in SADC (Southern African Development Community) region, by joining the University of Johannesburg (UJ) as official partner of the university’s Grupo Desportivo de Manica (GDM) project in Mozambique.As one of the university’s flagship community engagement projects, GDM uses soccer as a means to develop and grow an extremely rural community in Manica, Mozambique. The project is largely funded by the Laureus Foundation and Barclays, as well as the UJ’s Alumni.Recent project achievements include the renovation the town’s sport clubhouse and the building of a new facility that will be the core of an innovative SADC Research Centre that will house amongst other things a computer school, an internet cafe, an English school and accommodation quarters.The project also supports the local football team, Desportivo de Mancia.GDM founder and president Schalk van Heerden, who is also UJ project manager for the project, said that following the success of a six-week training exchange by two Arsenal community coaches in July 2008, representatives from UJ and GDM formalised their relationship with the famous football club during a visit to London on 19 September 2008.“This partnership will deliver volunteer exchanges, Arsenal Gap Year participants, coaching seminars and research interventions,” said Van Heerden in a statement this week.“This is very exciting for us. We will try to maximise our success in Manica and take the lessons learned forward as the relationship grows.”Expansion plansUJ Pro-Vice Chancellor Derek van der Merwe said he was delighted with the Arsenal relationship, which will start in Mozambique and later expand to Soweto.“We hope that this tie-up between one of the world’s great football clubs, the University of Johannesburg and GDM will eventually impact on the wider SADC region,” said Van der Merwe.Arsenal in the Community head Alan Sefton echoeed that optimism: “To be successful in Africa, we need strong local partners that can deliver – GDM and the University of Johannesburg are obviously such partners.”The GDM project has become an example of the power of sport to change lives, said Van Heerden, while GDM manager Shortcover Chikwandingwa added that the project would use football as the vehicle to deliver socio-economic benefits at grass-roots level.“Six years into its existence, GDM has attracted long-term volunteers from South Africa, the USA and Germany, emphasising that there is ‘something special’ about this project,” Chikwandingwa said.SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Jeff Duling, Nov. 30

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest I am not putting too much emphasis on the test plots. I am just going with what my seed guy says. I will probably plant the same hybrids I planted last year. As far as beans, I had tremendous success with the Plenish beans again and so we’ll run with that. I am getting a 50-cent premium and the yields are right there with my other beans.I thought we would have some major compaction issues, and some guys do, but the dry weather and the cracking in the soil alleviated a lot of those problems. Maybe with the no-till and cover crops that was enough to help it out.I am hoping a few more guys experiment with cover crops. The government is throwing a lot of money at us to experiment with this. You can’t just do it once in one field and expect to see a benefit. In Putnam County now you have to keep it in cover crops for three years. The problem is that so many guys see their neighbors ripping and they think they should go rip. But this year, I didn’t see much reason to do much tillage.last_img read more