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Story Ideas for Media 3-17-08


Space shuttle Endeavor makes history with first bowtie in space.
The space shuttle Endeavor (Mission STS-123) continues to make history this week, with several spacewalks and continued construction of the International Space Station. It also has a little piece of Ohio State, courtesy of alumnus-astronaut Dr. Richard Linnehan.
Linnehan, who earned his doctorate in veterinary medicine from Ohio State in 1985, is NASA’s first veterinarian. He is making history in a special way for The Ohio State University: he has a scarlet and gray bowtie owned by university President E. Gordon Gee.
President Gee offered the tie in lieu of agreeing to go himself. Gee assured the audience that he was not interested in space travel, and the tie would have to do!
After the shuttle’s return, Dr. Linnehan will present the tie to Dr. Gee in a special commemorative frame. (The date of the presentation has not been chosen.)
CONTACT: Michelle Harcha, College of Veterinary Medicine, (614) 292-9296.
More information about this mission is available at www.nasa.gov


Ohio State crop scientists discover gene that controls fruit shape.
Ohio State crop scientists have cloned a gene that controls the shape of tomatoes, a discovery that could help unravel the mystery behind the huge morphological differences among edible fruits and vegetables as well as provide new insight into mechanisms of plant development. The gene, dubbed SUN, is only the second ever found to play a significant role in the elongated shape of various tomato varieties, said Esther van der Knaap, lead researcher in the study and assistant professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science at Ohio State’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster.
The discovery was reported, as the cover article, in the March 14 issue of the journal Science.
Being able to control and modify fruit shape could lead to the development of new varieties, helping growers to serve specialty markets and processors to reduce costs. CONTACT: Esther van der Knaap, (330) 263-3822. SEE: http://extension.osu.edu/~news/story.php?id=4514

Neighborhoods play key role in how much people exercise, study says. The neighborhoods people live in can help inspire – or discourage –their residents to exercise and keep physically active, new research suggests.
Residents of neighborhoods with higher levels of poverty, lower education, and more female-headed families are less likely than others to exercise, according to the study.
It’s not simply that poorer people are less likely to exercise, researchers say. In fact, the study, which was done in Chicago, found that a person’s individual income wasn’t as important as the neighborhood he or she lived in for determining exercise levels.
“We can’t encourage people to exercise more without looking at the neighborhood environment in which they live,” said Christopher Browning, co-author of the study and associate professor of sociology at Ohio State University.
“Some people may have the personal resources and desire to exercise, but don’t live in a neighborhood in which they feel comfortable to go outside for activities.” CONTACT: Christopher Browning, (614) 292-2983. SEE: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/neighexer.htm

The person listed as the CONTACT will have the most current information about the story. Call on our media relations staff for help with any Ohio State story: Liz Cook; (614) 292-7276; Shelly Hoffman; (614) 247-4748; Jim Lynch; (614) 247-4110; or Amy Murray; (614) 292-8385.