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COP22: a defining moment for Africa’s climate movement

November 4th, 2016 / AfricanBrains, Kenya

Prone to relentless weather changes and warming up significantly over the last decades, Africa has been exposed to droughts and floods that severely affect agricultural productivity, escalating water and food insecurity. By 2030, water stress-related conflicts will increase and spread across the region. As hunger continues to be a reality …

How we can make crops survive without water

November 3rd, 2016 / TED talk: Jill Farrant

As the world’s population grows and the effects of climate change come into sharper relief, we’ll have to feed more people using less arable land. Molecular biologist Jill Farrant studies a rare phenomenon that may help: “resurrection plants” — super-resilient plants that seemingly come back from the dead. Could they …

Science needs to start speaking to people’s everyday lives in Africa

November 3rd, 2016 / The Conversation, UK

There have been wide-ranging reactions from the scientific community after a South African university student called for “Western” science to be eradicated.
The young woman argued that science “is a product of western modernity” and suggested that decolonisation would begin with the introduction of “knowledge that is produced by us, that …

The New York Times front-page screw-up on GMOs

November 3rd, 2016 / Forbes Magazine, US

The New York Times has a “thing” about the genetic engineering of plants—the same sort of thing that Creationists have about Darwinism. An article that Hakim and his researchers should have read is, “GM Crops: Global Socio-economic and Environmental Impacts 1996-2014, The New York Times has a “thing” about the …

Improving cassava yield potentials

November 2nd, 2016 / New Phytologist, UK

Science: As a consequence of an increase in world population, food demand is expected to grow by up to 110% in the next 30–35 yr. The population of sub-Saharan Africa is projected to increase by > 120%. In this region, cassava (Manihot esculenta) is the second most important source of …

Scientists use insects to control an invasive weed

November 2nd, 2016 / Entomology Today, US

Scientists from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service released arundo gall wasps (Tetramesa romana) and arundo scale insects (Rhizaspidiotus donacis) several years ago as part of a biocontrol program to kill a weed called “giant reed” (Arundo donax) along the Rio Grande in Texas. The weed, also known as “carrizo cane” …

GMOs … the debate and the science

November 2nd, 2016 / B4FA

On 29 October, the New York Times published “Doubts about the promised bounty of GM crops” (reproduced below), a critique of GM that has prompted a flurry of responses from the scientific community. These include, thus far, plant scientist Andrew Kniss’s “Strawmen and selective statistics: Did The New York Times …

Improving half the world’s diet

November 1st, 2016 / Phys.org

The humble rice grain is the staple food for billions of people throughout the developing world, but there is little nutritional value in the grain beyond providing carbohydrates for energy.
Until now.
University of Melbourne researchers are on the cusp of making a real difference by developing a new strain of rice …

No need to fear gene-edited food

November 1st, 2016 / Popular Science, US

The biggest mistake we can make, as a curious and concerned public, is to prematurely vilify CRISPR and the food it makes. We should instead push for ­informed, science-based evaluation. It could help improve the global food supply. The whole reason for a tweaked mushroom is that it resists bruising …

Vitamin A (golden) rice now a reality

November 1st, 2016 / Daily Star, Bangladesh

The first field trial of the Golden Rice in Bangladesh has yielded promising results, triggering prospect of the vitamin A-rich grain’s release as early as 2018.
Two months after harvesting the Bangladeshi version of Golden Rice line, GR2E BRRI dhan29, scientists at Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) found that rice grains …