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College of Arts and Sciences Biology

Tree growth model assists breeding for more wood

Trees at edge of a lakeA meeting in a forest between a biologist and a mathematician could lead to thicker, faster growing trees.

“Mathematicians like translating biological processes into numbers,” said Andrei Smertenko, assistant professor in Washington State University’s Institute of Biological Chemistry. “I’m a biologist, and I want to help grow stronger, better trees.”

Breeding trees is a time-consuming and imprecise field, with breeders relying on a few genetic markers and what they can see. It takes years before they see the traits they’re looking for in a young tree. To help speed things up, » More …

Sperm changes documented years after chemotherapy

CAS logo on white with borderA Washington State University researcher has documented epigenetic changes in the sperm of men who underwent chemotherapy in their teens.

The changes can influence how genes are turned on an off, potentially affecting the health of tissues in subsequent generations, said Michael Skinner, a professor in the WSU School of Biological Sciences and Center for Reproductive Biology. He is suggesting that teens about to undergo chemotherapy have some of their sperm preserved for when they would like to start a family.

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