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We need policy on new breeding technologies

July 16th, 2019

From The Standard, Kenya

A series of genome editing-related research work in Africa has triggered the need for the continent to develop a dedicated policy for new and precision breeding techniques.

According to experts who are already doing gene editing research, National Biosafety Authorities in the continent need to develop regulations on …

CRISPR gene edited soybeans suited for hotter climates offer ‘enormous’ crop yield boost

July 9th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Chinese agricultural scientists using gene-editing technology have created new soybean mutants, which could lead to soybean crops in much warmer climates including South China and countries near the Equator.

To create the soybean mutants, research teams from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences knocked out two genes using the gene-editing tool known as …

The first gene-edited soybean opens door to a slew of new CRISPR foods

July 8th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

At the beginning of the year 2019, high oleic soybean oil took its place on the market shelves. It contains several times less saturated fatty acids and healthier oleic acid than oil from conventional soybeans. 

The gene-edited crops most striking feature is that the oil made from it forms less trans …

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 …

The future of plant disease management

April 9th, 2019 / Sustainable, Secure Food

Plant scientists are looking for ways to help plants withstand infection. One of the best ways is to find plants that seem to have their own resistance. You might know individuals who never get a cold or flu – their immune systems seem to manage infections better than others. It’s …

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, …