In the news...

Gene silencing could ‘fool’ plants into surviving harsh environments

November 21st, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

By temporarily silencing the expression of a critical gene, researchers fooled soybean plants into sensing they were under siege, encountering a wide range of stresses. Then, after selectively cross breeding those plants with the original stock, the progeny “remember” the stress-induced responses to become more vigorous, resilient and productive plants, …

Tech fall armyworm solutions winners recognised

November 21st, 2018 / The East African, Kenya

Two companies from the region have been rewarded for formulating digital solutions to the invasive fall armyworm.
Farm.ink, a Nairobi-based start-up, took the top prize of $150,000 for the most viable way to combat the pest, which has had devastating effects on maize farms in Africa. Farm.ink integrated a Fall Armyworm …

Values should be considered in discussions about GE products

November 15th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

The role of genome editing in food and feed production has sparked debates and discussions among stakeholders. Risk-focused is how researcher Sarah Bechtold of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany describes these debates, saying that assessments are confined only within the scientific definition of risks, which are different from how the public defines …

African biotech students remain hopeful, despite obstacles

November 15th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

B4FA Fellow Christopher Bendana writes:
Though most African nations have been slow to commercialize genetically modified crops, students across the continent remain committed to earning advanced degrees in biotechnology.
Ironically, Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, has become a hub for such students, though the country has yet to pass its own biosafety …

Researchers discover how to engineer plants with enhanced drought resistance without affecting growth

November 15th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Drought is one of the effects of climate change that needs serious attention. This year’s decreased rainfall and abnormally hotter temperatures in northern and eastern Europe caused large losses in cereals and potato crops and in other horticultural species.
Experts have long believed that that to ensure food security, it is …

Can we separate science from agriculture?

November 14th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
It is a big paradox that our leaders are talking passionately about training scientists and raising science teachers’ salaries and at the same time being slow to accept new scientific ideas even when they are meant to boost the country’s agricultural output, the economy, and food …

Africa: making agriculture ‘cool’ … for youth

November 14th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

At every conference she has attended on the youth, Nawsheen Hosenally has been frustrated to hear that agriculture is not ‘cool’. The 29-year-old graduate in agricultural extension and information systems knew she wanted to do something to redeem the image of agriculture among young people.
So the Mauritian and her Burkanibe, …

Edible GM cotton could supply protein to 600 million people daily

November 13th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

It turns out cotton seed is a great source of protein, except it’s currently toxic for humans. Cotton naturally produces gossypol, which is essentially an insecticide. While that helps the plant fight off insects, it also makes it poisonous to humans and most animals. But scientists at Texas A&M University …

Small genetic differences turn plants into better teams

November 13th, 2018 / Science Daily

The ongoing worldwide loss of biological diversity is one of the most pressing challenges humankind currently faces. Biodiversity is vital to humans not least because it supports ecosystem services such as the provision of clean water and the production of biomass and food. Many experiments have shown that diverse communities …

Uganda MPs accept Museveni’s proposals on GMO Bill

November 13th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Legislators on the Parliamentary Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation have changed their positions on the GMO Bill and considered proposals suggested by President Museveni, Daily Monitor has established.
This comes after the President declined to sign the Bill into law in December 2017, citing lack of clarity in the legislation. …