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Capitalize on African biodiversity

August 4th, 2017 / Nature, UK

Artemisinin, ginkgolides, quinine, reserpine, scopolamine, paclitaxel. What do these molecules have in common? They are all extracted from plants and transformed into useful drugs, treating conditions including malaria, nausea, cancer and high blood pressure. None of the plants is from Africa.
Almost 60% of commercially available drugs are based on molecules …

Climate change Is draining protein out of staple crops

August 4th, 2017 / IFL Science

No matter how hard we work at stopping it, some human-driven climate change is inevitable. It’s already happening, and it will continue to happen even if we drawdown carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
This means that there are certain adaptations we need to make in order to make it through the …

Cracking the code of megapests

August 3rd, 2017 / CSIRO

Led by CSIRO, in collaboration with a team of renowned experts, the researchers identified more than 17,000 protein coding genes in the genomes of the Helicoverpa armigera and Helicoverpa zea (commonly known as the Cotton Bollworm and Corn Earworm, respectively).
They also documented how these genetics have changed overtime.
This level of …

Can genetic modification turn annual crops into perennials?

August 3rd, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The last several decades have witnessed a remarkable increase in crop yields — doubling major grain crops since the 1950s. But a significant part of the world still suffers from malnutrition, and these gains in grains and other crops probably won’t be enough to feed a growing global population.
These facts …

Agricultural scientists urge new global crop alliance to secure future food supply

August 1st, 2017 / CGIAR

At a time when weather patterns are becoming less predictable and population pressures on food supply are increasing, a group of crop scientists are laying the groundwork for an international crop network to systematically tackle threats to global food security.
Research focused on specific crops achieves progressive genetic gains, but scientists …

African leaders urged to embrace science in agriculture

August 1st, 2017 / Ghana News Agency

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, has called on African governments to embrace and invest in science and technology to transform the agricultural sector.
Dr Akoto said there was no way to develop agriculture without science, adding that it was imperative forAfrican continent to prioritise the role of …

How WEMA project can protect maize from army worms

August 1st, 2017 / Tribune, Nigeria

To develop drought tolerant maize by conventional breeding method takes a very long number of years, in fact, scientists will tell you that every year, they can increase yield through conventional breeding under drought by just 1-1.5 per cent. This means, to develop and come out with drought tolerant maize …

At Last, ‘Plan B’ for Africa

July 31st, 2017 / SciTech Connect

A practical, appropriate and effective solution to Africa’s food and nutritional insecurity has eluded everyone for over 100 years. Since colonial days, conventional thinking has been based on the misconception that what works in temperate latitudes must work in the tropics and sub-tropics. This thinking fails to understand the very …

African biosafety agencies move to bridge GMO communication gap

July 28th, 2017 / Independent, Uganda

African countries are currently having trouble releasing their biotech crops popularly known as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) to farmers, but scientists seem to be embracing a new strategy to ensure that there exist relevant regulatory systems.
On July 18, the biosafety agencies and partners across the continent gathered in Entebbe, Uganda, …

Gov’t imports predators to kill fall armyworm

July 28th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

In a bid to completely contain the killer fall armyworm, government has imported prowling insects which will eat the heavily destructive worm.
On Thursday at the ongoing National Agricultural Trade Show in Jinja, Dr Imelda Kashaija, the deputy director general for technology at Naro, revealed the predators are being tested by …