Fort Collins, Loveland and CSU Gather for Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
The Fort Collins, Loveland and Colorado State University communities will gather for joint activities in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan.14 and Jan.15, 2007. The theme of this year's celebration is "Courage to Build a Community of Social Justice."
On Sunday, Jan.14, Colorado State University Apartment Life will host "From Dr. King to You: Taking Action in Our Community," an international potluck dinner, from 6-8 p.m. at the University Village Center. The dinner will provide plenty of food and fellowship for the entire community along with children's art activities. Events for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan.15, will include the traditional one-mile march from Colorado State's historic Oval to Linden Street in Old Town, Fort Collins, starting at 11 a.m. In addition, programs on the Oval and in Old Town will be part of the festivities.
$3.9 Million NSF Grant for Tomato Genetics Research Awarded to CSU
Identifying genetic controls that keep plants from interbreeding with other species is the subject of a National Science Foundation Plant Genome research grant recently awarded to Colorado State University. The research project also includes an innovative program in which undergraduate honors biology students single out and identify tomato genes involved in these processes.
The research team, headed by Colorado State biology professor Pat Bedinger will study the highly evolved mechanisms flowering plants use for controlling mating. The project centers on mechanisms that help avoid cross-species mating that could result in sterility or other problems. Often, these mechanisms entail specific molecular-level interactions between the pollen (male) and pistil (female), but just how a pistil knows to reject pollen from the wrong species is not well understood, Dr. Bedinger said.
Through a component of the project called "Many Minds," undergraduate students taking honors biology courses will play a key role in the research as they will spend four laboratory sessions identifying important genes and using online databases to analyze the genes.
CSU, National Charity League Team Up for African Book Drive
Colorado State University is teaming up with the National Charity League chapter in Fort Collins for a book drive to stock a small library in rural Kapsowar, Kenya. The drive's aim is to gather 50,000 books - enough to fill a shipping container - by the end of December. The library, which is part of a missionary hospital that serves people living in a rural part of Africa including Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda, is the only source of books for residents in that area. It was founded six years ago by a similar drive when two Fort Collins missionaries, who work at the Kapsowar Mission Hospital, asked for help to gather books for patients.
"Before this library was established, people from these communities were always trying to borrow books from the doctors. The initial book drive that established the library gave members of the community access to books at all reading levels," said Linda Williams, instructor in Colorado State's School of Education and an organizer of the drive.
"We welcome any English-language books in good condition, including children's books and picture books. The children of Kapsowar learn English in elementary school, and having access to children's books improves their language skills. In addition, English is the official language of the area, so reference books, educational books or any books for the older residents also are most welcome."
Books can be donated through drop-sites at the University's Greek fraternity and sorority houses and at the Lory Student Center north and Plaza entrances on campus. In addition, community sites are at Front Range Community College, Norlarco, Dunn Elementary and Lincoln Junior High. Drive coordinators will pick up books if they cannot be dropped at a bin on campus or in the community. To arrange for book pick-up or to donate money toward shipping costs, contact Pam Johannsen in the College of Business at firstname.lastname@example.org or (970) 491-1499.
CSU Researcher Challenges Earth’s Timeline with New Evidence of Early Life-Form Evolution
Strains of life on Earth may have existed about 700 million years earlier than previously thought and possibly before oxygen was present in Earth's atmosphere, according to a new study by a Colorado State researcher and his collaborators.
The research findings, which challenge the current understanding of ancient Earth's climate conditions, imply that important steps in the evolution of life took place before the dramatic rise in oxygen in the atmosphere and suggest that these early life forms are responsible for the change. John Ridley, a geologist in the Department of Geosciences at Colorado State, and his team of researchers from the University of Sydney and Macquarie University in Australia and the University of Washington believe that some important early life forms on Earth, including cyanobacteria and primitive eukaryotes, existed long before the oxidation of the Earth's atmosphere.
"We suspect that life has not only adapted to environments but also has exerted controls on Earth's environment. But we need to establish a timeline of major steps in Earth's history before we can do better than simply speculate on a suspicion," Ridley said. Prior to the team's research, scientists used microfossil evidence to date eukaryotes to about 1.8 billion years old and the earliest cyanobacteria to 2.1 billion years old. Now new evidence suggests that both organisms existed as early as 2.45 billion years ago.