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Protecting crop and feed diversity enhances food security while reducing GHGs

March 3rd, 2016 / ILRI, Ethiopia

Crop diversity can be conserved and shared. Scientists know how to do it and at a very limited cost to the world community. It requires global leadership and stronger partnerships and the building of capacities of scientists in the developing world. No country is self-sufficient; successful breeding is highly dependent …

Viruses have their own version of CRISPR

March 1st, 2016 / The Atlantic, US

With all the buzz around CRISPR, the gene-editing technique that has instigated many an ethical debate and one acrimonious patent dispute, it would be easy to mistake it for a recent human invention. It’s not. Bacteria invented CRISPR billions of years ago, as a defense against marauding viruses. The bacteria …

Young scientists push Bt research

March 1st, 2016 / The Standard, Philippines

The Outstanding Young Scientists Inc., the official organization of outstanding young scientist awardees of the National Academy of Science and Technology, urged the Supreme Court Monday to allow the research on Bt eggplant to continue. OYSI in a statement asked the high court to reconsider its earlier decision and allow …

Scientists race to halt banana catastrophe

March 1st, 2016 / SciDev.net, UK

Scientists in developing countries are scrambling to find a cure for a devastating fungus that threatens to wipe out the global banana trade and plunge millions of farmers into poverty. Around the world, banana farmers are fighting a losing battle against Tropical Race 4, a soil fungus that kills Cavendish …

How climate change is pushing more African countries to accept GM crops

March 1st, 2016 / African Insider

Faced with unpredictable harsh weather conditions more and more African Countries are changing their stance against genetically modified (GM) crops to help improve on farm yields and feed a growing population. For long GM food has been viewed with suspicion by many African governments with vicious debates taking place across …

Immunity gene fusions discovered in plants

February 26th, 2016 / ISAAA

A certain class of plant immune receptors has been identified to be highly informative about plant disease resistance. Nucleotide-binding Leucine-Rich Repeat receptors (NLRs) with additional integrated domains that act as ‘baits’ for the pathogen have been identified in rice and thale cress, and experimentally shown to be involved in disease …

New genetic advancements in wheat aimed at enhancing yield

February 26th, 2016 / ISAAA

Researchers from Texas A&M AgriLife Research Dr. Shuyu Liu are about to close the knowledge gap on the location of key traits in the wheat genome and how to access them. The study included three wheat populations from two popular AgriLife Research cultivars, TAM 111 and TAM 112, and other …

South Africa to ease some GM crop rules to avert food crisis

February 23rd, 2016 / The Guardian, UK

South Africa will relax some of its tough rules on genetically modified crops so it can ramp up maize imports from the United States and Mexico to avert a potential food crisis amid a severe drought, officials said. Almost 90% of maize in South Africa is genetically modified and the …

You probably didn’t know smallholder farmers can benefit from GMOs, too

February 23rd, 2016 / Forbes, US

Many smallholder farmer communities are challenging — transportation is difficult, electricity might be rare—but they’re filled with potential… Agricultural technology like GMOs can make a difference. Improved seed varieties can increase farmers’ yields, meaning farmers can harvest more from their land. That increase in yields doesn’t just change a farmer’s …

Nairobi bioscience hub takes Africa to the next scientific frontier

February 23rd, 2016 / The Star, Kenya

Before the Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa (BecA) hub was established at the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), scientists from Kenya and the region would flock foreign institutions to seek opportunities for research. Many would graduate from the institutions and opt to work in the host countries. But as …