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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  2. Shape is a primary determinant of consumer preference for many horticultural crops and it is also associated with many aspects of marketing, harvest mechanics, and postharvest handling. Perceptions of quality and preference often map to specific shapes of fruits, tubers, leaves, flowers, roots, and other plant organs. As a result, humans have greatly expanded the palette of shapes available for horticultural crops, in many cases creating a series of market classes where particular shapes predominate. Crop wild relatives possess organs shaped by natural selection, while domesticated species possess organs shaped by human desires. Selection for visually-pleasing shapes in vegetable crops resulted from a number of opportunistic factors, including modification of supernumerary cambia, allelic variation at loci that control fundamental processes such as cell division, cell elongation, transposon-mediated variation, and partitioning of photosynthate. Genes that control cell division patterning may be universal shape regulators in horticultural crops, influencing the form of fruits, tubers, and grains in disparate species. Crop wild relatives are often considered less relevant for modern breeding efforts when it comes to characteristics such as shape, however this view may be unnecessarily limiting. Useful allelic variation in wild species may not have been examined or exploited with respect to shape modifications, and newly emergent information on key genes and proteins may provide additional opportunities to regulate the form and contour of vegetable crops.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 28, 2024
  3. Purpose While postdoctoral research (postdoc) training is a common step toward academic careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, the role of postdoc training in social sciences is less clear. An increasing number of social science PhDs are pursuing postdocs. This paper aims to identify factors associated with participation in postdoc training and examines the relationship between postdoc training and subsequent career outcomes, including attainment of tenure-track faculty positions and early career salaries. Design/methodology/approach Using data from the National Science Foundation Survey of Earned Doctorates and Survey of Doctorate Recipients, this study applies propensity score matching, regression and decomposition analyses to identify the role of postdoc training on the employment outcomes of PhDs in the social science and STEM fields. Findings Results from the regression analyses indicate that participation in postdoc training is associated with greater PhD research experience, higher departmental research ranking and departmental job placement norms. When the postdocs and non-postdocs groups are balanced on observable characteristics, postdoc training is associated with a higher likelihood of attaining tenure-track faculty positions 7 to 9 years after PhD completion. The salaries of social science tenure-track faculty with postdoc experience eventually surpass the salaries of non-postdoc PhDs, primarily via placement at institutions that offer relatively higher salaries. This pattern, however, does not apply to STEM PhDs. Originality/value This study leverages comprehensive, nationally representative data to investigate the role of postdoc training in the career outcomes of social sciences PhDs, in comparison to STEM PhDs. Research findings suggest that for social sciences PhDs interested in academic careers, postdoc training can contribute to the attainment of tenure-track faculty positions and toward earning relatively higher salaries over time. Research findings provide prospective and current PhDs with information helpful in career planning and decision-making. Academic institutions, administrators, faculty and stakeholders can apply these research findings toward developing programs and interventions to provide doctoral students with career guidance and greater career transparency. 
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  4. Abstract

    Methyl salicylate imparts a potent flavor and aroma described as medicinal and wintergreen that is undesirable in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruit. Plants control the quantities of methyl salicylate through a variety of biosynthetic pathways, including the methylation of salicylic acid to form methyl salicylate and subsequent glycosylation to prevent methyl salicylate emission. Here, we identified a subclade of tomato methyl esterases, SALICYLIC ACID METHYL ESTERASE1-4, responsible for demethylation of methyl salicylate to form salicylic acid in fruits. This family was identified by proximity to a highly significant methyl salicylate genome-wide association study locus on chromosome 2. Genetic mapping studies in a biparental population confirmed a major methyl salicylate locus on chromosome 2. Fruits from SlMES1 knockout lines emitted significantly (P < 0,05, t test) higher amounts of methyl salicylate than wild-type fruits. Double and triple mutants of SlMES2, SlMES3, and SlMES4 emitted even more methyl salicylate than SlMES1 single knockouts—but not at statistically distinguishable levels—compared to the single mutant. Heterologously expressed SlMES1 and SlMES3 acted on methyl salicylate in vitro, with SlMES1 having a higher affinity for methyl salicylate than SlMES3. The SlMES locus has undergone major rearrangement, as demonstrated by genome structure analysis in the parents of the biparental population. Analysis of accessions that produce high or low levels of methyl salicylate showed that SlMES1 and SlMES3 genes expressed the highest in the low methyl salicylate lines. None of the MES genes were appreciably expressed in the high methyl salicylate-producing lines. We concluded that the SlMES gene family encodes tomato methyl esterases that convert methyl salicylate to salicylic acid in ripe tomato fruit. Their ability to decrease methyl salicylate levels by conversion to salicylic acid is an attractive breeding target to lower the level of a negative contributor to flavor.

     
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  5. Abstract

    Cells employ multiple systems to maintain cellular integrity, including mechanosensitive ion channels and the cell wall integrity (CWI) pathway. Here, we use pollen as a model system to ask how these different mechanisms are interconnected at the cellular level. MscS-Like 8 (MSL8) is a mechanosensitive channel required to protect Arabidopsis thaliana pollen from osmotic challenges during in vitro rehydration, germination, and tube growth. New CRISPR/Cas9 and artificial miRNA-generated msl8 alleles produced unexpected pollen phenotypes, including the ability to germinate a tube after bursting, dramatic defects in cell wall structure, and disorganized callose deposition at the germination site. We document complex genetic interactions between MSL8 and two previously established components of the CWI pathway, MARIS and ANXUR1/2. Overexpression of MARISR240C-FP suppressed the bursting, germination, and callose deposition phenotypes of msl8 mutant pollen. Null msl8 alleles suppressed the internalized callose structures observed in MARISR240C-FP lines. Similarly, MSL8-YFP overexpression suppressed bursting in the anxur1/2 mutant background, while anxur1/2 alleles reduced the strong rings of callose around ungerminated pollen grains in MSL8-YFP overexpressors. These data show that mechanosensitive ion channels modulate callose deposition in pollen and provide evidence that cell wall and membrane surveillance systems coordinate in a complex manner to maintain cell integrity.

     
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  6. Abstract

    Contractors will play a vital role in providing farms with access to new precision farming technologies, especially in small-scale farming systems. We investigate the impact of spatial competition among contractors on the uptake of precision farming and the effectiveness of policy interventions, considering alternative spatial price schedules. Conceptual analyses show that a lack of spatial competition among contractors hinders uptake of precision farming technology. The effectiveness of policy interventions to support precision farming also depends on the market structure and contractors’ price schedules. In addition, we illustrate the results in a Swiss case study based on a specific contractors’ service market of plant protection technologies.

     
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  7. Abstract Background

    The number of engineering PhDs pursuing postdoctoral research scholar (postdoc) positions has steadily increased in the last 30 years. Postdoc positions are commonly thought of as a step toward academic careers. However, engineering PhDs are more likely to work in industry, which leaves open the question of the role of postdocs in the career trajectories of engineering PhDs.

    Purpose/hypothesis

    This study examines the factors associated with attainment of postdocs. It also identifies the influence of postdocs on attainment of tenure‐track faculty positions and early career salaries.

    Design/method

    Super's “life span, life space” theory informs the analytical approach. Descriptive and regression analyses, and propensity score matching, are conducted using a nationally representative sample of engineering PhDs from the 1993–2013 National Science Foundation Survey of Doctorate Recipients data set merged with the 1985–2013 Survey of Earned Doctorates.

    Results

    Engineering PhDs primarily funded by research assistantships and who graduated from a doctoral program with higher‐ranked research activities and greater proportions of previous cohorts pursuing postdocs are more likely to attain postdoc positions. Among engineering PhDs, postdoctoral scholars are more likely than PhDs in nonacademic positions to attain tenure‐track faculty positions. Early career average salaries are relatively similar between postdoctoral scholars and PhDs without postdoc experiences working in the academic sector.

    Conclusions

    Postdoctoral research positions can provide a viable pathway toward careers in the academic sector. Engineering doctoral programs can potentially apply research findings toward student career development and preparation, and engineering students and PhDs can leverage the career outlook information for decision‐making and career preparation.

     
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