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Sequencing date palm genomes could lead to drought, disease resistant varieties

November 20th, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

A a team of scientists has found the genetic mutation responsible for the red or yellow colour of the sugary date fruit. The discovery is part of the ongoing 100 dates! gene sequencing project at NYUAD. Thanks to a three-year collaboration between researchers in the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Syria, …

Squash pots and bad bananas

November 19th, 2015 / Huffington Post Green, US

A promising biotech solution (developed by Ugandan scientists for Ugandan farmers) involves the transfer of 2 genes from green peppers into the banana plant to give it resistance to wilt. It has had tremendous success in field trials but is running into opposition from anti-GMO activists who, not unlike Honeycutt, …

Enhancing the biotechnology of crops with microbials

November 19th, 2015 / Country Guide, Canada

B4FA Fellow, Abdallah el-Kurebe reports: When the word “biotech” first leapt onto the agri-food scene, there were plenty of proponents and opponents for the science of implanting different genes into corns, soybean and canola genetics. The first Bt hybrids offered yield advantages, and the early days of glyphosate-tolerant soybeans saw …

How modern biotechnology can create 25 000 jobs

November 19th, 2015 / NewsDiary Online, Nigeria

B4FA Fellow, Abdallah el-Kurebe reports: Nigeria Federal Government’s (FG) determination to diversify the economy as a result of the challenges in the oil sector has set it to develop immutable strategies that would ensure the creation of, at least, 25,000 jobs annually from the biotechnology sector. A statement by the …

Acceptance of GM crops spreads

November 18th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali reports: The Kenyan government is considering lifting the ban on GMOs, which will probably be this month. Previously, the Deputy President, William Ruto, made the announcement at the fourth Annual Biosafety Conference organised by the Kenya National Biosafety Authority (NBA) in Nairobi. “Mark my words, in …

20 years experience of GM crops

November 18th, 2015 / ISAAA, US

In spite of the rapid adoption of GM crops, their use remains contentious. Public opposition and overregulation have become real threats to further developments in modern plant sciences. It is widely believed that GM crops are bad for human health, damage the environment, and hurt smallholder farmers in developing countries, …

El Niño: food shortages, floods, disease and droughts set to put millions at risk

November 17th, 2015 / Guardian, UK

The UN has warned of months of extreme weather in many of the world’s most vulnerable countries with intense storms, droughts and floods triggered by one of the strongest El Niño weather events recorded in 50 years, which is expected to continue until spring 2016. Its effects are already being …

Global food demand estimated to double by 2050: new paper assesses global long-term scenarios

November 17th, 2015 / Food Climate Research Network

This paper, published in PLOS ONE, describes a transparent method for constructing specific food demand scenarios. It requires population and income projections as input, with no information on the food supply side needed. The tool is intended to support the work of scientists who require food demand scenarios as input …

How understanding microbes can help farmers manage Africa’s soil crisis

November 17th, 2015 / The Conversation

Across 65% of African farmland, soil is depleted. At a time when multinational corporations are investing to identify, develop and patent soil microbial uses and inventions, Africa needs to understand the value of its own microbes and its microbial diversity, some of which is indigenous to particular soils, crops and …

Kenyan farmers thrive with modern crop and animal husbandry techniques

November 16th, 2015 / Farmbiz Africa

After close to 10 subsequent years without decent maize and bean harvests, farmers in Nyamira County are gradually diversifying into different crops, some of which are now being grown in the area for the first time. But two neighbours from Riomoro village, Priscillah Moseti and Nicholas Mang’era, have stood out …