University of Wyoming Extension News

UW scientists study how complexity developed from simple cell

Ekaterina Gotshall

Ekaterina Gotshall

Naomi Ward

Naomi Ward

Consider this a matter of scrambling down the family tree to its roots.

Really old roots.

Or perhaps it’s more like blowing the dust off the family album – the human album – and opening to the first pages billions of years ago.

Naomi Ward, an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at the University of Wyoming, is the senior author on a paper recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS).

The research examines how simple bacterial cells could have made the transition to more complex cells, leading to plants, animals and humans.

The paper, “Spatially segregated transcription and translation in cells of the endomembrane-containing bacterium Gemmata obscuriglobus,” was published online this week, and describes research supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Ekaterina Gottshall, a graduate student in the Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences Ph.D. program, is first author on the paper and main contributor to the experimental work. Other authors are assistant professor Jay Gatlin, also in molecular biology, and Corrine Seebart, an assistant research scientist in Ward’s group.

Ward’s version of genealogy looks at how simple bacterial cells, which do not have the nuclear membrane that separates transcription and translation (the reading of DNA instructions to make protein), could have evolved into eukaryotic cells (plants, animals, humans), which have transcription and translation occurring in separate locations.

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Wyoming 4-H specialists receive diversity enhancement honor


Kim Reaman, Warren Crawford

Kim Reaman                         Warren Crawford

Two specialists in the Wyoming State 4-H Office have received recognition for their efforts to expose youths to different cultures.

Volunteer development specialist Kim Reaman and youth development specialist Warren Crawford received University of Wyoming Extension’s Diversity Enhancement Recognition Award. The pair received the honor Wednesday, Nov. 6, during the organization’s training conference in Casper.

4-H is the youth arm of UW Extension, and its state offices are in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Reaman and Crawford developed 4-H youth exchanges with Mongolia through the American Youth Leadership Program funded by the UnitedStates Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participants from several states traveled twice to Mongolia, and Mongolian 4-H’ers spent about three weeks in Wyoming this summer. The exchanges were so well received that additional funding was obtained for a cultural exchange to Samoa this year.

The visits helped participants “get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” according to the nomination information. The 4-H’ers were taken beyond the customs, language and food and immersed into first-hand experiences of the challenges and opportunities Mongolian citizens face today as the country’s natural, human and technological resources are beingdeveloped.

Reaman joined UW Extension in 2008, and Crawford joined in 1998

UW Meat Judging Team brings home eastern national win

From left, coach Zeb Gray, Emilee Brinton, McKensie Harris, Jaris Baker, Lara Allnutt, Austin Buzanowski.

From left, coach Zeb Gray, Emilee Brinton, McKensie Harris, Jaris Baker, Lara Allnutt, Austin Buzanowski.

University of Wyoming’s Meat Judging Team brought home a win Oct. 5 in Wyalusing, Penn., at the Eastern National Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest.

The Eastern National is the first contest win for a UW team since 2000.

This year’s contest was the largest ever with 110 competitors from 16 land-grant universities. UW team members are Jaris Baker, Minnies Gap, McKensie Harris, Laramie, Emilee Brinton, Newnan, Ga., Lara Allnutt, Walden, Co., and Austin Buzanowski, Pompey’s Pillar, Mont., and coach Zeb Gray represented Wyoming.

The team broke the UW specifications record by placing second, and also placed second in beef grading and overall beef, third in reasons, fourth in beef judging and fifth in pork judging. Although the UW team did not win a single division, they finished ahead of the second place team by 18 points.

“It’s rare for a team to win a contest without winning a single division, but to win by that margin makes it even more impressive,” stated Gray. “We put ourselves in a position to win because we were consistent across all divisions.”

Brinton led the team with the second-highest individual score while winning high individual honors in beef grading and receiving second in overall beef. Allnutt was right behind her with the sixth highest individual score and placing third in specifications. Harris tied for first in specifications with a perfect score, and Buzanowski received tenth place honors in specifications.

“I’m thrilled for the students on the team. It takes a tremendous amount of dedication and sacrifice just to compete on the team and nothing is guaranteed,” said Gray. “But to win, that was so exciting and I’m sure they’ll remember it forever.”

For further information or questions about the University of Wyoming Meat Judging Team, please contact Gray at

UW Extension hosts Worland discussion with healthcare experts

Brandon Greet

Brandon Greet

An opportunity to discuss healthcare changes with experts in the industry is Thursday, March 28, in Worland.

The Washakie County office of the University of Wyoming Extension is hosting the discussion and dinner at the Worland Community Center Complex, said Brandon Greet, extension educator. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner, and discussion starts at 6 p.m. The cost is $20 to preregister and $25 at the door.

“Open enrollment in the health insurance marketplace begins Oct. 1. Some people have been following the changes closely, but many of us have not,” said Greet. “With open enrollment on the way, it is a great time to learn what ischanging.”

The Affordable Care Act was signed into law March 23, 2010.

“This law affects farmers, ranchers, small business owners and individuals,” said Greet. “How will it affect you and your business? How should you be preparing? Everyone needs answers to these questions.”

There are two parts to the ACA:  Medicaid expansion and the insurance exchange.  “Between these two parts, everybody in the United States will be affected in some way,” Greet noted.

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UW Extension offers Wyoming ranch management institutes at two locations

Bridger Feuz

Bridger Feuz

The Wyoming Master Cattleman team is offering ranch management institutes at Bear River Lodge near Evanston and at The Ranch at Ucross in February.

These institutes are three-day sessions with an intensive focus on ranch management.

“Agriculture has been and will continue to be a business with significant risks,” said Bridger Feuz, UW Extension educator organizing the institutes. “Drought, highly variable input costs and fluctuating prices are just a few of the risks producers face.”

The institutes will teach strategies and tools to help producers make decisions that lead to sustainable operations.

“Participants will roll up their sleeves and not only learn to use the tools, they will also be guidedthrough the process of completing analyses on their own ranches,” said Feuz. “Just like many other jobs on a ranch, management is hard work. We expect participants to work hard and complete the tasks during these institutes.”

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