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Use of CRISPR systems in plant genome editing: toward new opportunities in agriculture

November 30th, 2017 / Emerging Topics in Life Sciences, UK

Initially discovered in bacteria and archaea, CRISPR–Cas9 is an adaptive immune system found in prokaryotes. In 2012, scientists found a way to use it as a genome editing tool. In 2013, its application in plants was successfully achieved. This breakthrough has opened up many new opportunities for researchers, including the …

Large-scale approach reveals imperfect actor in plant biotechnology

November 30th, 2017 / Phys.org

A research team led by Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research has harnessed metabolomic technologies to unravel the molecular activities of a key protein that can enable plants to withstand a common herbicide. Their findings reveal how the protein—a kind of catalyst or enzyme, first isolated in bacteria and introduced into …

African women are starting to take a lead in agricultural research

November 30th, 2017 / Quartz Africa

It is no news that to transform Africa’s agriculture, women will have to be on an equal footing with men. The same also needs to happen away from the fields, in agricultural research institutions devoted to address challenges and provide solutions to farmers. Fewer women than men are trained and …

Assuring food security

November 29th, 2017 / Millennium Post

The words of Noble Laureate and father of the Green Revolution Norman Borlaug, “You cannot create a peaceful world on empty stomachs,” ring true in the present times, when we are facing the mammoth task of feeding a growing population, expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. Food insecurity is …

Nigeria pursuing GMO public education campaign

November 29th, 2017 / Alliance for science, US

Nigerian officials are seeing positive results as they engage in a comprehensive outreach strategy to educate citizens about biotechnology as the nation moves to commercialize its first GMO crops next year.
The strategy includes media engagements, interface with professional organizations, courtesy visits to policy makers, one-on-one meetings and other measures, said …

Scientist’s advise farmers to boost soils using organic fertilizer

November 29th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
There is increasing use of processed fertilizer by large scale farmers in the country with the aim of increasing their farm productivity.
Uganda’s smallholder agricultural sector continues to register one of the lowest fertilizer applications in sub-Saharan Africa.
The statistics indicates that Ugandan farmers use 1 to 1.5 …

How do we fight the Fall armyworm, the new wound of African agriculture

November 28th, 2017 / Agri-buzz

To solve the future food needs in sub-Saharan Africa, entomologists must be a critical part of the puzzle. From Nigeria to Ethiopia, South Africa to Chad, African smallholder farmers often face severe crop losses from damaging bugs from locusts to cassava’s whiteflies, cowpea pod borers or maize and sorghum stem …

Like it or not, Africa’s future lies in GM crops

November 28th, 2017 / The Times, UK

Matt Ridley writes
Influenced by European environmentalists, most African countries forbid the growing of genetically modified crops. This is a pity, because unless they change their attitude fast, they will face the prospect of using far more pesticides, which small-scale farmers cannot afford, and which come with environmental and safety risks, …

Prickly pear cactus Is ‘miracle’ crop for dry regions

November 28th, 2017 / Thomson Reuters

It is spiky, alien-looking and can be found decorating homes around the world, but experts say the prickly pear cactus could help alleviate hunger in arid regions due to its ability to thrive in harsh conditions and its multiple uses.
“It’s impossible to describe how many things you can get out …

How plant science will change the world

November 28th, 2017 / The biochemist blog

Plant science is a lot more important than you realise. It has often been cast as cell biology’s less exciting sibling. What is the point of studying root growth, flowering or stomatal aperture? There are way more important things to be researching… aren’t there?

Making crops for the future
Global warming …