In the news...

Scientists make breakthrough in blight-resistant Irish potatoes

February 10th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports: National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro) is in the process of breeding Irish Potato varieties that are resistant to late blight, a fungal disease ravaging the crop in farmers’ fields across the country. Read …

Gene-edited crops ‘should not be subject to government oversight’

February 9th, 2016 / Nature Genetics

An editorial in Nature Genetics has called for gene-edited crops to be subject to no more regulation than crops developed through conventional breeding. In an accompanying commentary, Chinese, German and US researchers make the case that many applications of gene-editing would lead to crops that would, at least in theory, …

Livestock diversity crucial to ending global hunger

February 8th, 2016 / Bangkok Post, Thailand

Our livestock is increasingly being raised indoors and fed on concentrate feed that is often imported. Intensive production of chickens, pigs and dairy cows is based on a few breeds worldwide. These developments are risky, as we and future generations are losing the potential to adapt livestock production systems to …

How bacteria invented gene editing

February 8th, 2016 / BBC.com, UK

Gene editing is much more common in nature than you might think. It actually has ancient ro Read …

“GM crops could help save lives” …

February 6th, 2016 / IOL, South Africa

Modifying plants to be drought tolerant may help secure South Africa’s future of food production, a leading researcher from the University Cape Town has said. Jill Farrant, Professor of molecular and cell biology at UCT, has spent the last 21 years researching the benefits that could come from genetically modifying …

Local scientists creating global impacts in agriculture

February 2nd, 2016 / SciDev.net, UK

Nina Dudnik writes “In a three-room lab outside Nairobi, Kenya, cutting-edge science is meeting time-honoured farming practices. Steven Runo, a senior lecturer with a specialisation in molecular biology, and his colleagues at Kenyatta University are using the tools of modern molecular biology to overcome constraints of growing maize, sorghum and …

What is a GMO?

February 2nd, 2016 / Youtube/piffle

VIDEO: Want to know? Watch this – it’s brilliant
see …

Is cassava the key to tomorrow’s food security?

February 1st, 2016 / International Center for Tropical Agriculture

Cassava is a survivor crop. It can withstand harsh conditions – drought, heat or infertile soils – as agriculture intensifies and populations grow. It is a carbohydrate source for 500 million people globally and a staple in Africa, Asia and South America, which account for 53 percent, 33 percent and …

The need to prioritize farmer perspective

February 1st, 2016 / Alliance for Science, US

For many in Uganda, banana bacterial wilt disease is having devastating effects on their staple carbohydrate, the Matooke banana. Genetic engineering offers a promising option for mitigating its effects. While Matthew Schnurr, PhD, an environmental geographer at Dalhousie University, remains skeptical of the benefits of first generation biotechnologies to smallholder …

Can next generation crop precision editing avoid marketing pitfalls of GMOs?

January 29th, 2016 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Next-generation precision gene editing biotechnologies like CRISPR-Cas9 and RNAi are more efficient ways to engineer variants for crops, medicine, biofuel and other uses. Publications like Genetic Engineering News have hailed these innovations as “the Next Magic Bullet,” largely because they do not involve the introduction of so-called “foreign genes” — …