Secret New Weapon of Insect-Transmitted Viruses Exposed

Findings by a team of scientists, including two from UC Riverside, could provide critical knowledge to attack deadly viruses transmitted by arthropods such as mosquitoes and aphids.

The scientists uncovered molecular mechanisms that the cucumber mosaic virus uses to manipulate plants to make them release odors that attract aphids, which transmit the virus. The work was published Jan. 6 in the journal Cell Research.

Shou-Wei Ding

Shou-Wei Ding

The cucumber mosaic virus, which is found worldwide, spreads rapidly and causes irreversible damage to plants, including many used in landscaping, and vegetable crops, such as tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, and cucumbers. The research could lead to more disease-resistant vegetables and larger crop yields for farmers.

Shou-Wei Ding, a professor of plant pathology and microbiology at UCR, has studied RNA viruses, such as cucumber mosaic virus, for more than 20 years. Much of that work has focused on understanding virus-host interactions.

Many important diseases in plants and humans are caused by pathogens, such as cucumber mosaic virus and Zika virus, which are transmitted by disease-carrying arthropods. The emergence and success of these pathogens are shaped by their molecular interactions with both the host and the arthropods. Read the full story.

New Study: $11 Billion Local Economic Impact from LA 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games

The LA 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games could increase economic output by up to $11.2 billion in Los Angeles and $18.3 billion nationwide, according to a new economic impact assessment conducted by Beacon Economics LLC and the University of California, Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development.

The report was commissioned by LA 2024 as required by the International Olympic Committee. The study will be submitted with LA 2024’s bid book, which is due to the IOC on Feb. 3.

The economic impact assessment analyzed direct expenditures by a future Los Angeles Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games and visitors to Los Angeles, along with their associated indirect (supplier) expenditures and induced (employee) expenditures. With no permanent construction required to host the Games in LA, tourism and Games operations would be the sole primary drivers of this positive economic impact. The study forecasts that Los Angeles would benefit from:

  • increased gross economic output of between $10.62 and $11.18 billion;
  • additional tax revenues of between $152 and $167 million;
  • the equivalent of between 74,308 and 79,307 new full-time jobs;
  • between $6.72 and $7.07 billion in direct additional spending; and
  • worker earnings of between $4.88 and $5.11 billion.

“There is little doubt that hosting the Olympics is an enormous boost for a local economy — both in the short term as driven by activity surrounding the events themselves, and in the long term given how these events raise the global profile of the region,” said Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics and director of the UCR School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development.

Read the full story.

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