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DNA can be edited without being cut

September 5th, 2016 / GEN, US

Scientists at Kobe University in Japan have developed a new gene-editing technique by combining elements of a bacterial immune system, CRISPR/Cas9, and a vertebrate immune system, AID, or activation-induced cytidine deaminase. The new technique, called Target-AID, preserves the CRISPR/Cas9’s DNA-targeting machinery but dispenses with its DNA-cleaving functionality. In place of …

Are drought-resistant crops in Africa the tech fix they’re cracked up to be?

September 5th, 2016 / The Guardian, UK

Biotech companies and non-profits are investing heavily in drought-resistant crops, but doubts remain over whether they are the best option for farmers. See …

How agriculture can be intensified in Africa without causing harm

September 3rd, 2016 / The Conversation, UK

Conventional agriculture differs. It aims to maximise yields and economic returns. This is often done with little regard for the environment and the impact on society. Sustainable agriculture, on the other hand, is designed to address problems like environmental pollution from excessive use of fertilisers. It also tries to arrest …

GM seeds market growth to increase due to rise in biofuels use

September 1st, 2016 / ISAAA, US

The global genetically modified (GM) seeds market will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) close to 10% by 2020, says a new report by Technavio, a global technology research and advisory company. Technavio’s latest report, Global Genetically Modified Seeds Market 2016-2020, covers the present scenario and …

Water for sustainable growth: how biotech crops are one solution

September 1st, 2016 / Forbes Magazine, US

Every day, our farmers are using new tools and technology to do more with less so they can solve for water efficiency. “For farmers, water represents balance. Not enough and our crops won’t grow. Too much, and they will drown and we will lose nutrients as they flow away.” Drought …

A rice revolution for Africa?

August 31st, 2016 / IOL Business News, South Africa

The first hybrid rice varieties developed in sub-Saharan Africa are yielding up to four times more than other improved varieties, say scientists, who are using web-based tools to identify the right climate conditions to maximise harvests. The 15 hybrids, bred in Kenya and Tanzania, are also tolerant to diseases and …

Satellites and high-tech solutions help African farmers face historic drought:

August 30th, 2016 / Your is.com, Belgium

African and European researchers are employing high-tech water management research methods to help low-tech South African smallholders improve food security. Additionally, extremely high levels of Microcystin toxicity and uranium contamination in important river systems spark calls for extra research on bioaccumulation through the human food chain. See …

20 Years Of Innovation: Reflecting on successes and challenges of biotech crops

August 30th, 2016 / Forbes Magazine, US

In 1996, farmers planted the first commercial biotech crop. The global uptake of plant biotechnology by farmers since has made it the fastest-adopted technology in the history of agriculture. Farmers who have the choice to use the technology have chosen it on an unprecedented level because of its benefits. See …

CRISPR inspires new tricks to edit genes

August 26th, 2016 / Science News, US

CRISPR can quickly and efficiently manipulate virtually any gene in any plant or animal. In the four years since CRISPR has been around, researchers have used it to fix genetic diseases in animals, combat viruses, sterilize mosquitoes and prepare pig organs for human transplants. Most experts think that’s just the …

Glyphosate: Understanding the controversy

August 25th, 2016 / EurActiv.com

What exactly makes glyphosate such a controversial issue? One must look no further than the rather unexpected decision by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to classify glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” back in March 2015. Overnight, a herbicide with a track record of safe use spanning …