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Week in Review

B4FA Week in Review – 21 June 2017

June 21st, 2017 / B4FA.org

In a development that should add interest to discussions about seed patents, plant breeders in Germany have developed open-source plant seeds, according to Science magazine. “The idea behind the open-source license is that scientists and breeders can experiment with seeds –and improve them – unimpeded by legal restrictions,” states the article. The …

B4FA Week in Review – 14 June 2017

June 14th, 2017 / B4FA.org

A new peer-review report recently published by PG Economics shows that over the last 20 years, crop biotechnology has significantly reduced agriculture’s environmental impact and stimulated economic growth. The report, GM Crops: Global Socio-economic and Environmental impacts 1996-2015, is authored by Graham Brookes and Peter Barfoot. Among the benefits they …

B4FA Week in Review – 7 June 2017

June 7th, 2017 / B4FA.org

This week, news was dominated by US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. The Conversation published an overview (“How bad could Trump’s Paris Agreement withdrawal be?”) by climate scientist and climate policy scholar Robert Koop, who puts the situation in perspective with best- to worst-case scenarios from …

B4FA Week in Review – 31 May 2017

May 31st, 2017 / B4FA.org

Earlier this week, Wired magazine published a piece detailing CRISPR inventor Jennifer Doudna’s thoughts on the pros and cons of the gene-editing tool (“CRISPR creator Jennifer Doudna on the promises—and pitfalls—of easy genetic modification”). Among the dangers she lists are perfecting traits in our children and creating hybrid animals as pets – …

B4FA Week in Review – 24 March 2017

May 24th, 2017 / B4FA.org

This week, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Norwegian Arctic – meant to be an impenetrable, permanent vault to protect the world’s crop biodiversity – was flooded after extraordinarily high temperatures melted surrounding permafrost. Fortunately, the flood did not damage any of the stored seeds, which are meant to serve as …

B4FA Week in Review – 17 May 2017

May 17th, 2017 / B4FA.org

There are many interesting developments in crop biotech this week. Among them, researchers at the University of Arizona are reported to be closing in on a way of using genetic modification to shut down the production of aflatoxin in maize. Using RNAi technology, which inhibits gene expression, says a summary …

B4FA Week in Review – 10 May 2017

May 10th, 2017 / B4FA.org

This week there is much news from the world of bioscience. First we report on the 110-fold increase in adoption rate of biotech crops globally in the last 21 years of commercialization – growing from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to 185.1 million hectares in 2016.  Commenting on the Global …

B4FA Week in Review – 3 May 2017

May 3rd, 2017 / B4FA.org

This week, two articles address the fall armyworm problem that continues to plague African farmers. In the Financial Times, “Invasion of fall armyworms ravages crops in 20 African countries & will cause $3bn damage to maize in next 12 months and serious food shortages” not only describes the continent’s struggle …

B4FA Week in Review – 26 April 2017

April 27th, 2017 / B4FA.org

This week we feature a story on microscopic soil organisms, potentially an environmentally friendly way of controlling crop pests and diseases and even protecting against the impacts of climate change. At a time when Africa is battling an outbreak of trans-boundary pests and diseases including the South America fall armyworm, …

B4FA Week in Review – 19 April 2017

April 19th, 2017 / B4FA.org

This week saw the launch of a new journal, Lancet Planetary Health, which focuses on “the interplay between health and the determinants of health in our living and physical world.” In addition to articles on biodiversity loss and the ecology of infectious disease, food systems, nutrition, health and the environment …