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Boosting plants’ uptake of vitamins and minerals

February 26th, 2019 / The Scientist, US

The corn Elsbeth Walker grows looks a bit strange. Its leaves are streaked with yellow, instead of being entirely green. This yellow-streaked corn is a mutant that has trouble taking in iron, making it hard for the plant to create chlorophyll, a green pigment involved in photosynthesis.

Walker, a molecular biologist at the …

Distribution of sweet potato planting material is a good investment

February 13th, 2019 / International Potato Centre

Orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) is an excellent source of beta-carotene, which becomes vitamin A in the body. The crop can thus be a lifesaver for children during their first 1000 days, when vitamin A is essential for the development of good eyesight and good health. Vitamin A is also vital for …

GMO cassava can provide iron, zinc to malnourished African children

February 13th, 2019 / American Council on Science and Health

An international team of researchers, including scientists affiliated with the USDA, have genetically modified cassava to contain much higher levels of iron and zinc than the non-transgenic variety. They used two genes from thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana), a pathetic looking plant that happens to be one of the most studied …

What is CRISPR? The revolutionary gene-editing tech explained

February 1st, 2019 / Wired, US

Until very recently if you wanted to create, say, a drought-resistant corn plant, your options were extremely limited. You could opt for selective breeding, try bombarding seeds with radiation in the hope of inducing a favourable change, or else opt to insert a snippet of DNA from another organism entirely.

But …

Closer to harvest? The status of the Golden Rice project

November 29th, 2018 / Flip Science, Philippines

A variety of Oryza sativa (rice) genetically engineered using recombinant DNA technology, Golden Rice contains beta carotene, an antioxidant which the body converts into Vitamin A. This gives the rice grain the yellow-orange or gold color that inspired its name.
However, the Golden Rice project is still on its way to …

Ugandan scientists poised to release vitamin-fortified GMO banana

October 31st, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Ugandan scientists are eying a 2021 release date for genetically modified bananas fortified with vitamin A, provided the nation passes its biosafety law.
In 2005, Ugandan scientists began using the tools of biotechnology to breed bananas fortified with vitamin A. Their goal was to help rural families …

A fight against vitamin A deficiency

October 30th, 2018 / Business Mirror, Philippines

‘THE soul, fortunately, has an interpreter—often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter—in the eye,” wrote Charlotte Bronte in her famed Jane Eyre. Marcus Tullius Cicero had the same view when he said: “The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.”
A survey was conducted …

How the science of biofortification grew from an idea to a food revolution

October 18th, 2018 / CGIAR

A major global success in nutrition in recent decades started with a simple idea from young CGIAR researchers back in the 1990s: What if we could breed vitamins and minerals into the staple crops that people consume daily?
The idea was biofortification, and the lead researcher was Dr. Howarth Bouis – …

Vitamin A-rich bananas offer new hope to address vitamin A deficiency

October 12th, 2018 / CGIAR

Researchers in East Africa are introducing banana varieties from across the world to address severe vitamin A deficiency. Taste tests help to identify and fast track new varieties that consumers prefer.
Vitamin A deficiency is high in the East African countries of Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, DRC and Kenya, ranging from …

An overview of agriculture, nutrition and fortification, supplementation and biofortification

September 24th, 2018 / Agriculture & Food Security

Alan Dubock writes:
The worlds growing population and limited land resources require high intensity of food production. Human nutrition needs both macronutrients and micronutrients. One way of providing micronutrients in staple crops of the poor is biofortification, through plant breeding. All methods of plant breeding are acceptable and safe, and …