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East African scientists turn to gene sequencing against Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD)

July 13th, 2017 / African Marketplace, CNN

Cassava has no defense against a tiny insect that is decimating crops across East Africa, with dire economic and humanitarian consequences.
The whitefly carries two viruses that together destroy over $1 billion worth of cassava in Sub-Saharan Africa each year. Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) is the more established threat and does …

Scientists biofortify wheat to produce flour with more iron

July 13th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Researchers from the John Innes Centre (JIC) have developed a variety of wheat that has high levels of iron. This new biofortified variety could help decrease the number of people with iron deficiency around the world.
Wheat contains iron in parts that are removed before milling. With the use of the …

Vinegar: A cheap and simple way to help plants fight drought

July 11th, 2017 / Phys.org

Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) have discovered a new, yet simple, way to increase drought tolerance in a wide range of plants. Published in Nature Plants, the study reports a newly discovered biological pathway that is activated in times of drought. By working out the …

‘Cow of the future’: Genetically engineered ‘heat resistant’ cattle could adapt to climate change

July 7th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project

Scientists are developing a breed of genetically-modified ‘cows of the future’ that will be more heat resistant and have superior ability to adapt to hot living conditions. By using genomic tools, researchers aim to produce an animal that can adapt to hot living conditions and produce top-quality beef. Read …

Antioxidant-boosting GMO purple rice could decrease cancer and other health risks

July 6th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project

Researchers in China have developed a genetic engineering approach capable of delivering many genes at once and used it to make rice endosperm–seed tissue that provides nutrients to the developing plant embryo–produce high levels of antioxidant-boosting pigments called anthocyanins. The resulting purple endosperm rice holds potential for decreasing the …

Tanzania: Sweet potato growers hope to boost output

July 5th, 2017 / AllAfrica

During field day demonstrations conducted by an agribusiness innovation group aiming to transform potato productivity in Tanzania, sweet-potato farmers learned that tissue culture technology can produce millions of clean seeds from high-yielding varieties, ultimately resulting in far more productive crops compared to the traditional method of planting pieces from cut …

Modified maize that kills with RNA is given go-ahead in the US

June 30th, 2017 / New Scientist, UK

For the first time, a crop that produces an RNAi-based pesticide has got the green light.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved a genetically modified corn known as SmartStax Pro. In addition to producing two Bt toxins to kill any western corn rootworm larvae that try to eat it, the …

How soil dwelling bacteria adapt to richer or poorer conditions

June 30th, 2017 / Phys.org

Scientists have identified a unique mechanism that the soil dwelling bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens uses to effectively exploit nutrients in the root environment.
The breakthrough offers multiple new applications, according to the team of John Innes Centre scientists behind the discovery: for the study of human pathogens, for synthetic biology, and for …

To feed 9 billion, will we need ‘GMO 2.0’?

June 30th, 2017 / Greenbiz.com

Amidst all the conflict and confusion around food safety and nutrition, how do we make the best decisions about how to feed ourselves? What choices do we need to make when it comes to feeding a planet that will, by 2050, more than 9 billion hungry people?
These questions — …

New alliance seeks to fast track crop improvement in Africa

June 29th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

An international alliance was formed to speed up crop improvement in sub-Saharan Africa, which was launched at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK on June 16, 2017.
The Alliance to Accelerate Crop Improvements in Africa (ACACIA) aims to support African scientists in their efforts to find ways to address food security …