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Scientists unlock planthoppers’ potential to control future crop disease outbreaks

July 20th, 2017 / EurekAlert, AAAS

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Zoology have discovered how a severe rice virus reproduces inside the small brown planthopper, a major carrier of the virus.
Rice stripe virus (RSV) causes major damage to rice crops each year. The study could inform future strategies for controlling the spread …

Nigerian University develops new maize varieties for farmers

July 19th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

The Institute for Agricultural Research, IAR, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, has secured approval to release three new high-yielding nutrient maize varieties for planting in Nigeria.
The Institute made this known in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Lagos.
The institute said the approval was granted …

Bio tech crops help African countries

July 18th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
It was reported in this column last month that maize, cassava, and cotton farmers in North Eastern Tanzania, had appealed to senior government officials to give them Genetically Modified (GM) crops to plant in order to avoid persistent crop failure.
This followed vain attempts made for years …

Agritech will not take root without better communication

July 18th, 2017 / Eco-business

Technology has the potential to raise crop yields, cut fertiliser use, improve farming efficiency and, by its nature, make the world’s oldest and least digitised industry more sustainable.
But without better communication of the benefits to farmers and the end consumer, agritech could suffer the same fate as genetically modified crops …

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 …