In the news...

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 …

Researchers develop disease-resistant climate-smart grains to help eradicate poverty in Africa

January 29th, 2019 / Bakeryandsnacks.com

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) says it foresees rolling roll out new varieties of drought- and disease-resistant grains to African farmers next year to increase food security in the region. Read …

Next generation cassava breeding project

December 21st, 2018

An in-depth film about the impacts of cassava brown streak disease and cassava mosaic disease on cassava production in Tanzania, and scientific efforts to breed resistant varieties using a predictive computational technique called genomic selection. See …

Researchers shine a light into the mechanisms of potato late blight infection

November 8th, 2018 / James Hutton Institute, UK

Scientists at the James Hutton Institute, in collaboration with colleagues of the University of Dundee, Huazhong Agricultural University, Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (both China) and Wageningen University (Netherlands), have shed further light into the mechanisms through which the potato blight pathogen interacts with plant cells to promote disease.
Late blight …

New tomato variety resists leaf curl virus and wilting

October 29th, 2018 / FarmBiz Africa

In dealing with losses caused by leaf curl and other deadly wilts in tomatoes, a seed company has come up with a tomato hybrid that is least affected by the diseases.
TM 20 F1 is hybrid that has been developed to help farmers escape the losses to the above diseases, which …

Scientists’ breakthrough brings hope for banana resistance breeding to deadly bacterial wilt disease

October 9th, 2018 / CGIAR: Roots, Tubers and Bananas

A team, led by scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), have announced a breakthrough in the search for banana varieties that are resistant to the lethal bacterial banana wilt disease. This debunks the notion that all banana varieties are susceptible to the disease and opens the possibility …

Hybrid maize resists lethal necrosis

September 26th, 2018 / Daily Nation, Kenya

The disease can destroy entire harvests and is thus a severe food security risk.
A centralised maize lethal necrosis disease screening facility established in Naivasha five years ago has released 15 disease-resistant hybrid maize varieties in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
After screening more than 150,000 maize germplasms, the team validated genomic regions …

UCC develops high yielding drought and disease resilient cowpea varieties

September 24th, 2018 / Ghana News Agency

A team of researchers from the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, University of Cape Coast (UCC) has developed eight different varieties of cowpea as part of its “Cowpea Project”.
The varieties, which are more drought and disease resilient and high yielding are expected to be released to seed production companies …

USDA unveils new gene-stacking tool to prevent plant diseases

August 16th, 2018 / The Scientist

If climate change is the new normal, farmers in some regions of the world will have to get used to fighting mold and mildew. For wheat growers in particular, fungal blights are already a big problem—and only expected to worsen as weather patterns change. Fungal pathogens are advancing northwards at …