• Sounding the alert: forests face the threat of climate change

    International experts have issued a joint declaration to raise public awareness about the possible widespread forest tree deaths due to climate change and the resulting social and ecological implications.

  • How synthetic biology could benefit from the social sciences

    Create life? To what end? Is such a goal possible or even desirable? This report details studies being carried out by INRA social scientists that deal with synthetic biology; their research is raising important questions.

  • Scrapie could breach the species barrier

    INRA scientists have shown for the first time that the pathogens responsible for scrapie in small ruminants (prions) have the potential to convert the human prion protein from a healthy state to a pathological state. In mice models reproducing the human species barrier, this prion induces a disease similar to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. These primary results published in Nature Communications on 16 December 2014, stress the necessity to reassess the transmission of this disease to humans.   

06 Jan 2015
Labour, Midi-Pyrénées (Gers).. © @INRA, CATTIAU Gilles

Tillage shows very little impact on carbon sequestration

Reducing or eliminating tillage is one of the farming practices most frequently touted to improve carbon sequestration in soil. A new study by INRA and Arvalis-Institut du Végétal turns this paradigm on its head.

06 Jan 2015
Varroa on thorax of honeybee. © INRA, MORISON Nicolas

New Zealand: a unique location for studying the interactions between bees, Varroa and viruses

When researchers wanted to examine the influence of the parasitic mite Varroa on viruses in honeybee colonies, they found a unique studying ground in New Zealand. Researchers from INRA and the University of Otago teamed up to investigate a large zone that had both Varroa-infested and Varroa-free areas. They studied the viral landscape of honeybee colonies following the parasite’s recent invasion (since 2001) of the area and showed that the arrival of Varroa coincided with a drastic modification of the viral landscape within colonies. The mite increased interactions between different viruses in the colonies, bringing about synergistic effects that threaten their survival.

05 Jan 2015
Human hepatocytes in which a higher number of peroxisomes was induced (detected by the Pex14 marker) through the overexpression of a protein contributing to the development of these organelles (Pex11beta). When these cells are infected by a virus, they overproduce the interferon-lambda.. © INRA, Hélène Bierne

Researchers discover a new immune response mechanism

As part of a Franco-American research effort, teams from the Institut Pasteur, INRA and Inserm have shed light on a cascade of reactions that set off the production of interferon-lambda (IFN-λ). These proteins play an important role in the immune system, especially in intestine, lung and liver cells. Their unexpected production has been linked to cell organelles called peroxisomes, whose main known function is to detoxify cells.

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