First, the good news. Washington State University researchers have found that a rat exposed to a popular herbicide while in the womb developed no diseases and showed no apparent health effects aside from lower weight.
Now, the weird news. The grand-offspring of that rat did have more disease, as did a great-grand offspring third generation.
“The third generation had multiple diseases and much more frequently than the third generation of unexposed rats,” said Michael Skinner, a Washington State University professor of biological sciences. At work, says Skinner, are epigenetic inheritance changes that turn genes on and off, often because of environmental influences.
The National Weather Service predicts highs in the mid-90s for the rest of the week, but a team of climate experts from across the country predicts the region will experience a higher frequency of extremely hot days in the decades to come.
According to an interactive map of temperatures based off data from collaborative research team Climate Impact Lab and published by The Seattle Times, the entire state of Washington will experience an increasing number of days with temperatures over 95 degrees Fahrenheit in the coming years – whether countries take action against climate change in the future or not.
So why does it matter? Besides the obvious potential dangers and everyday annoyances a sweltering hot day poses, Asaph Cousins, associate professor of plant biology for Washington State University, said such temperature changes generally have a dramatic impact on plant life.
Five College of Arts & Sciences faculty, from four departments and two campuses, are among 12 faculty University-wide whose projects aimed at enhancing undergraduate learning will be funded by the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Teaching and Learning Endowment.
The winning project proposals address teaching and learning issues and improvements, support WSU learning goals, such as critical thinking and communication, and reflect a commitment to resolve factors raised by recent degree assessments.
“Many of the projects detail teaching innovations designed to better support deep, life-long learning,” said Mary F. Wack, vice provost for undergraduate education. “Some tap into emerging or discipline-specific pedagogies. Others support further growth of unique projects already under way.”
The first impact of the grants will be felt by thousands of undergraduates as early as fall classes.
“As methods and results are shared with other WSU faculty and through academic publications, the ultimate impact of these WSU grants will be very far reaching,” Wack said.
Groundbreaking research by Mohan Manikkam and Michael Skinner of Washington State University at Pullman helped establish the principle of transgenerational toxicity by showing how toxic chemicals affect subsequent generations that are not directly exposed.
In one study, the researchers tested the transgenerational impacts of mixtures of chemicals that people are commonly exposed to in everyday life, including bug repellents, plastics additives and jet fuel.
Washington State University students and faculty recently returned from a 10-day volunteer effort to help assess whether a health project designed to increase iron levels in the blood of rural Guatemalan people has been successful.
WSU participants worked hand in hand with Hearts in Motion (HIM), a nonprofit organization, on the medical service project.
“After my first year participating in HIM, I realized Guatemalan diets are primarily starch-based,” said Kathy Beerman, a WSU professor in the School of Biological Sciences and a veteran HIM volunteer. “This caused me to believe that many Guatemalans are probably faced with a lack of iron in their diets, and therefore at increased risk for iron deficiency anemia. That is when we started our research.”