Monday links

What’s the latest in the fields of agriculture, food safety, animal science and toxicology? Check it out here.

Animal Science:

The toes tell the tale: New light shed on evolutionary forces that drove horses to evolve a single toe — Harvard University
Though modern horses have a single toe, their earliest ancestors had three. Why? A new study shows that the dual pressures of increasing body weight and shrinking side toes prompted early horses’ middle toes to become dramatically stronger.

Keep or sell weaned heifer calves during drought? — Morning Ag Clips
Dry conditions are impacting range and forage production across much of the U.S. Producers are selling yearling cattle early and are considering strategies to reduce cattle numbers this fall. Aaron Berger, Nebraska Extension Educator, presents his thoughts.

Food Safety:

FDA launches food safety plan builder — Morning Ag Clips
To help businesses meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Final Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is releasing a new software tool to help owners and operators of food facilities create food safety plans specific to their facilities.

Food Safety Over Past 25 Years: ‘Everything Has Changed’ — Food Safety Tech
Michael Taylor, the former U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, sits down with Food Safety Tech for an interview about the industry’s progress and what the future holds.

Agriculture:

North Dakota Ag Groups Create Drought Aid Program — Feed & Grain
North Dakota’s largest livestock group and its largest corn organizations have launched a drought relief fund to help cattle ranchers devastated by a summer of drought.

Can ‘reading’ leaves lead to more drought-tolerant crops? — Texas A&M AgriLife
Looking at leaves to peer into the future might seem the stuff of superstition, but is actually the essence of a recent research project. The study was based on observations that the more successful crops in areas affected by drought are usually protected by a thicker layer of leaf wax than other plants.

Toxicology:

Given the choice, zebrafish willingly dose themselves with opioids — University of Utah Health
As the opioid crisis escalates, the science behind addiction remains poorly understood. In order to study drug dependency behavior, researchers devised a system that allowed zebrafish to self-administer doses of hydrocodone.

Offbeat:

Hack to school: 5 fun tricks to make packing lunch easy — Today
Food & Wine’s Justin Chapple shares tips for mixing up the inside of the lunchbox with unique foods like taco pies and other nutritious offerings.

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