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10 ways CRISPR will revolutionize environmental science

July 31st, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

The hot new gene editing technique CRISPR has been making headlines for its potential to treat or prevent diseases. But medicine isn’t the only science where CRISPR is opening doors. This powerful genetic engineering tool is already helping scientists develop technologies to protect or repair the environment from human harm.
CRISPR: …

GM crop ruling shows why the EU’s laws are wholly inadequate

July 30th, 2018 / The Conversation

We should assess new crop varieties on the traits they are supposed to deliver, not on how those traits were introduced. The system needs to be proportional and risk-based. This should of course include consideration of the unintended effects of whatever genetic improvement process was used. Instead we spend years …

Building research capacity for sustainable water and food security in drylands of sub-Saharan Africa

July 30th, 2018 / ReliefWeb

BRECcIA is an ambitious programme that aims to develop research capacity in institutions in three sub-Saharan countries.
Climate variability is a key feature of dryland ecosystems across sub-Saharan Africa, where rain-fed agriculture and pastoralism characterises local subsistence and is the mainstay of national economies. Demand for water and food from growing …

How to grow sweet potatoes for cash

July 30th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Sweet potato is one of the most important starchy crops. It is an herbaceous, perennial creeper cultivated as an annual crop.
In Africa, Uganda is the biggest producer of sweet potatoes and third in the world after China and India.
The orange flesh variety is preferred because it …

CRISPR plants now subject to tough GM laws in European Union

July 27th, 2018 / Nature, UK

Gene-edited crops should be subject to the same stringent regulations as conventional genetically modified (GM) organisms, Europe’s highest court ruled on 25 July.
The decision, handed down by the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) in Luxembourg, is a major setback for proponents of gene-edited crops, including many scientists. …

Deploying the most effective Fall Armyworm-combatting technologies

July 27th, 2018 / Namibia Economist

The African Development Bank will on 26-27 July 2018, host “From Plan to Action,” a meeting on controlling Fall Armyworm in southern Africa.
The meeting will bring together ministerial level government representatives and experts from the government of Zambia, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United States Agency for International Development …

How to protect your soils for bumper crop yield

July 27th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Land degradation can either be a natural or man-made process which impairs the capacity of the land to function.
Soils are affected in the process when acidification, sedimentation, contamination and erosion, occurs.
Land degradation lowers the soil fertility status due to the removal of change in …

Africa’s collaborative biotech research bears fruit

July 27th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Dr. Priver Namanya adjusted her view in the microscope, trying to get a better image of the banana cells. Then a smile lit her face. After spending the day trying to ascertain that she had incorporated a vitamin A gene into the banana cells, she had achieved success.
Namanya, a plant …

How food biotechnology is improving food security

July 27th, 2018 / Borgen Magazine

Food Biotechnology Improves Crop Yields and Growing Times
Advancements in food biotechnology such as genetic engineering and gene editing have allowed for the sequencing of various crop species like pearl millet. Pearl millet is commonly cultivated in sub-Saharan Africa, India and other South Asian countries and is commonly regarded as a …

Synchronised policies needed for biotech

July 26th, 2018 / The Land, Australia

The most recent data shows that in 2017, 189.8 million hectares of biotech/genetically modified (GM) crops were planted across 24 countries, and imported by 43 countries, according to industry organisation the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).
To date, growth in planted hectares has been largely confined …