Wetenschap - 25 oktober 2001

English Summary

The new chairman of the supervisory committee for Wageningen UR was also appointed this week.

Former minister of education Jos van Kemenade was named by the present minister of agriculture Laurens Jan Brinkhorst. He will take over from the present chair, Maarten van Dis, on 1 November. Van Kemenade has already been asked to search for a new chairman of the board for Wageningen UR to replace Professor Cees Veerman who will step down at the end of the year. In addition Jaap Vink, currently chairman of the board of the Dutch food concern CSM, will replace Professor Stein Bie on the supervisory committee. The remaining members, Ria Beckers, Jan Peelen and Dr Henk Bakker have been reappointed for a further five-year term.

Last week saw the celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of the Development Economics Group.

Professor Arie Kuyvenhoven was not uncritical of Wageningen UR's international policy: it lacks a clear face. "There are support facilities, but we need a visible organisation with a professionally led international mission." Kuyvenhoven went on to explain that it was not so much a project acquisition centre that was needed, as has recently been set up, but that there is a scientific institute with scientists at the top.

Men who take up teleworking (doing office work at home) also do more domestic household work.

Gerda Casimir conducted a survey on the influence of teleworking on the domestic division of labour for her PhD thesis, supervised by Professor Anke Niehof of the Sociology of Consumers and Households Group. Nevertheless it is the more attractive aspects of housework that the men take upon themselves: they cook more often, collect the children from daycare and play with them. The washing, ironing and tidying up remain largely female tasks. Despite the fact that professional women say that they are in favour of men doing more in the domestic sphere, the women are still responsible for two thirds of the domestic tasks.

Renier van der Hoorn of the Phytopathology group discovered during his PhD research that the genes that make tomatoes resistant are composed of modules.

These modules form the building materials from which the plants can quickly make new genes if they are attacked by a new pathogen. Van der Hoorn, who was supervised by Professor Pierre de Wit, split various genes up into modules, and then combined various modules from different genes. He then placed the new resistance genes that he had built back in the DNA of the plant. "It transpired that most of the new genes still worked," said Van der Hoorn. He compares his research to a game of Mastermind.

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