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Is nature “natural” anymore?

March 16th, 2018 / Mapping Ignorance, Spain

It seems that we are definitely heading towards the bio-based society, a new way of interacting with the environment where fossil fuels won’t be needed anymore and “more natural” processes for producing energy, food and materials will prevail. Remarkably, this bio-turn often involves highly advanced biotechnology and strict competitive targets, …

Vitamin A-biofortified maize: exploiting genetic native variation for nutrient enrichment

March 16th, 2018 / Crop Trust, Germany

Nutrition trials in countries administering Vitamin A capsules resulted on average in a 24% reduction in child mortality. By breeding staple crops with higher amounts of Vitamin A, the supply of Vitamin A in our food sources can be sustainably increased.
Maize provides approximately 30% of the total calories of more …

Can media help to enhance the adoption of GMOs in Africa?

March 16th, 2018 / USJA, Uganda

COMESA is the only Regional Economic Community (REC) that has a policy on biotechnology and biosafety, taking into account the sovereign rights of the member states. COMESA has developed a plan to strengthen public awareness and communication on GMOs; one of the strategies aims to enhance reporting skills in science …

Bt Corn associated with higher yields, less insecticide use in neighboring fields

March 16th, 2018 / The Scientist, Canada

In 1996, scientists introduced a type of transgenic maize with built-in protection against pests, such as the European corn borer, using genes derived from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis that code for proteins toxic to some insects but harmless to humans. Since then, a host of studies have quantified the benefits—in …

Tanzania: New improved high-iron and zinc beans released

March 15th, 2018 / Sweet Potato Knowledge Portal

The high-iron beans are a special type of conventionally bred biofortified beans that contain high levels of iron and zinc. Biofortification enhances the nutritional value of staple food crops by increasing the density of vitamins and minerals in a crop through either conventional plant breeding, agronomic practices or biotechnology. Examples …

What is biodiversity and why does it matter to us?

March 15th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

The air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat all rely on biodiversity, but right now it is in crisis – because of us. What does this mean for our future and can we stop it? Read more …

Contributions of biotechnology to meeting future food and environmental security needs

March 14th, 2018 / The EuroBiotech Journa

Biotechnology, including genetic modifications, can play a vital role in helping to meet future food and environmental security needs for our growing population. The nature and use of biotechnology crops are described and related to aspects of food security. Biotechnological applications for food and animal feed are described, together with …

Can Oxitec’s genetically engineered insects combat fall armyworm crop damage and famine in Africa?

March 14th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Fall armyworm is a moth larvae that is incredibly destructive. It causes widespread crop losses in the Americas and now has been found in Africa. This pest consumes everything in its path, and can travel many miles on the wind. It is believed that this organism could cause widespread famine …

Genetic mutation can triple sorghum grain yields – and could boost rice, corn and wheat

March 13th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

A simple genetic modification can triple the grain number of sorghum, a drought-tolerant plant that is an important source of food, animal feed, and biofuel in many parts of the world. In new research reported today in Nature Communications, scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have figured out how …

Distant cousins of domesticated crops harbor traits to feed a hungry planet

March 13th, 2018 / ICRISAT

Recently, scientists found that more frequent flooding caused by storm and rainfall along with erratic temperature are responsible for the resurgence of phytophthora blight, a devastating disease that weakens pigeonpea stems irrespective of soil types and cropping patterns. With climate change, new invasive pests and changes in the farming landscape, …