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Cassava brown streak virus has a crazy fast evolutionary rate

November 7th, 2016 / Computational Biology for Sustainable Agriculture

Cassava is a major staple food for about 800 million people in the tropics and sub-tropical regions of the world. Production of cassava is significantly hampered by cassava brown streak disease (CBSD), which is caused by Cassava brown streak virus (CBSV) and Ugandan cassava brown streak virus (UCBSV). The disease …

More than 275 organizations and scientific institutions support the safety of GM crops

November 7th, 2016 / Siquierotransgenicos.cl

Currently there is a social and political controversy about the safety of foods produced from genetically modified (GM) crops, however, in the scientific community there is no dispute or controversy regarding the safety of these crops. To date, more than 2000 scientific studies have assessed the safety of these crops …

Unsung Heroes – reversing neglect

November 7th, 2016 / Claudia Canales, B4FA

The third of our periodic blogs which discuss food security, with a specific focus on how plant genetic research might contribute to addressing the challenge of feeding a fast-growing global population in increasingly uncertain climatic conditions.
Achieving food security is a complex problem that goes far beyond just producing more food. …

Experts slam New York Times hack job on GMOs

November 4th, 2016 / Forbes Magazine, US

Experts are slamming the New York Times for its October 29th article on genetically engineered crops. Titled “Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops,” Danny Hakim’s piece argues that agricultural genetic engineering is a failure because GE crops haven’t reduced pesticide use and haven’t increased yields. The article’s …

New GMO could protect wheat and barley against deadly blight

November 4th, 2016 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Fusarium head blight (FHB), caused by Fusarium graminearum, is a devastating disease of wheat and barley that leads to reduced yield and mycotoxin contamination of grain, making it unfit for human consumption. FHB is a global problem.
Here we report the map-based cloning of Fhb1 from a Chinese wheat cultivar …

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” …