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A CRISPR approach to saving banana

April 23rd, 2019 / Alliance for Science, US

CRISPR/Cas9‐based genome editing is offering new hope for protecting a critical food security crop by developing climate-smart banana varieties.

Research to identify the genes associated with stress‐tolerant traits and other uses of gene editing and genetic engineering to help banana varieties adapt to a changing climate is highlighted in an April …

Gene-edited animal plan to relieve poverty in Africa

February 20th, 2019 / BBC, UK

A researcher in Edinburgh is leading efforts to develop gene-edited farm animals for poor farmers in Africa. 

Prof Appolinaire Djikeng is developing cows, pigs and chickens that are resistant to diseases and more productive.

Among them are cattle that have been gene edited to be heat-resistant.

Details of the project were given at the …

Are genetically engineered crops less safe than classically-bred food?

February 20th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Crops and foods today are not what they used to look like.

Farmers and plant breeders have been modifying plant genes since the earliest human communities were formed and farming took hold in order to develop crops that better resist pests and foods with improved nutrition and taste.

Biotechnology proponents, particularly agro-biotechnology …

Virus lurking inside banana genome has been destroyed with CRISPR

February 1st, 2019 / New Scientist, UK

Genome editing has been used to destroy a virus that lurks inside many of the bananas grown in Africa. Other teams are trying to use it to make the Cavendish bananas sold in supermarkets worldwide resistant to a disease that threatens to make it impossible to grow this variety commercially …

What is CRISPR? The revolutionary gene-editing tech explained

February 1st, 2019 / Wired, US

Until very recently if you wanted to create, say, a drought-resistant corn plant, your options were extremely limited. You could opt for selective breeding, try bombarding seeds with radiation in the hope of inducing a favourable change, or else opt to insert a snippet of DNA from another organism entirely.

But …

Scientists using CRISPR-based technology to target agricultural pests

January 15th, 2019 / European Scientist

A new paper published on 8 January in Nature Communications describes a ‘precision-guided sterile insect technique’ that can effectively alter insect genes to control female viability and male fertility. The method could potentially be used to suppress increasing pest populations that threaten agricultural crops and to prevent the transmission of deadly diseases. The controllable, …

Hybrid rice engineered with CRISPR can clone its seeds

December 17th, 2018 / Science News

After more than 20 years of theorizing about it, scientists have tweaked a hybrid variety of rice so that some of the plants produce cloned seeds. No plant sex necessary. The feat, described December 12 in Nature, is encouraging for efforts to feed an increasingly crowded world.
Crossing two good varieties …

Gene-edited cassava could help millions of farmers

September 24th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Based on the breathless coverage of CRISPR genome editing technology thus far—the famed patent dispute, the overhyped promises of designer babies, the fears of urban biohackers gone mad—you’d be forgiven for thinking that CRISPR is a first-world solution for first-world problems. Indeed, the first CRISPR product to make it out …

CRISPR-Cas9 used to reduce symptoms of Cassava Brown Streak Disease

August 30th, 2018 / ISAAA

Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD), which is caused by Cassava brown streak virus and Ugandan brown streak virus, interferes with successful cassava propagation in East and Central Africa. The disease is mediated by the interaction of these viruses with the viral genome-linked protein (VPg) and host eukaryotic translation initiation factor …

Europe’s decision to reject gene edited crops signals it is losing its commitment to sustainable agriculture

August 21st, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

At the same time as Swedish agriculture is affected by the worst drought in recent memory, the European Court of Justice has made a decisive decision that will have far-reaching consequences for Swedish agriculture beyond this hot summer. [On July 25th], it was decided that crops in which targeted mutations …