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‘Wild’ genes open up opportunities for healthier, climate-smart rice

January 31st, 2018 / International Rice Research Institute

The genome sequencing of seven wild rice varieties has finally been completed. This breakthrough is expected to provide opportunities for breeders worldwide in developing better rice varieties that will respond to the changing needs of the farmers and the consumers.
This discovery is outlined in the article Genomes of 13 domesticated …

Understanding GMOs: genetic engineering and the future of coffee

January 31st, 2018 / Daily Coffee News

Studies suggest that by 2050, climate change will impact more than half the land currently used for coffee cultivation, creating conditions unsuitable for production. While climate change is difficult to predict, the scientific community agrees the future outlook for coffee production is dire unless immediate action is taken. The response …

Improving yams with genomics

January 31st, 2018 / BMC Biology

Human diet depends mainly on crops and a large number of species have been independently domesticated from wild relatives across the globe. In terms of quantity of the production however, a small number of crops currently dominate the world share, such as maize, wheat and rice. Accordingly the research efforts …

Why the genome of wheat is so massive

January 30th, 2018 / The Economist, UK

It has over five times as much DNA as the human genome!
THE domestication of wheat and other staple crops in the Levant some 10,000 years ago allowed for persistent settlement above a level of mere subsistence—one possible definition of the beginning of civilisation. Early farmers grew naturally occurring hybrids of …

Global cassava coalition calls for support for cassava transformation in Africa

January 30th, 2018 / National Accord, Nigeria

Ahead of the international conference on cassava, the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21) has called on policy makers, donors and the international community to support all efforts that will bring about cassava transformation in Africa.
The call is coming at a time when cassava is becoming central to …

Uganda: farmers should embrace technology

January 30th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
We came to learn about a month ago that President Museveni had referred the Biotechnology and Bio-safety Bill back to parliament for further debate. He was reportedly concerned about some issues that according to him were not well clarified in the bill.
His refusal to sign …

Community Network for African Vector-Borne Plant Viruses

January 30th, 2018 / CONNECTED, UK

CONNECTED is a Vector-borne Disease Network awarded to the University of Bristol, UK. It is funded by the UK government Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) which supports research on global issues affecting developing countries. The Network Director is Professor Gary Foster (University of Bristol) and the Co-Director is Professor Neil …

Bill Gates at Edinburgh University to help fund GM crop research

January 26th, 2018 / The National, UK

Scientists at a Scottish University are being given £90 million in UK Government funding for their cutting-edge research into developing genetically modified crops that are more nutritious and flood and drought resistant.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates will visit the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus today where he will announce $40m …

Farming is not a bed of roses

January 26th, 2018 / Daily Monitor

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes
Nobody should deceive you that farming is a bed of roses and that it always leads to riches. Like all other occupations, there are big challenges that farmers face in form of risks and uncertainties.
Anybody planning to go into farming must be determined to work hard …

Scientists peek inside the ‘black box’ of soil microbes to learn their secrets

January 26th, 2018 / The Sale

A tablespoon of soil contains billions of microscopic organisms. Life on Earth, especially the growing of food, depends on these microbes, but scientists don’t even have names for most of them, much less a description.
That’s changing, slowly, thanks to researchers like Noah Fierer, at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Fierer …