In the news...

Gene editing approach aims for broad disease resistance in staple food crops

July 4th, 2018 / AgriLife Today

A novel gene editing approach could hold the key to broad-spectrum disease resistance in certain staple food crops without causing physical detriment to the plants, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist.
Dr. Junqi Song, AgriLife Research plant pathologist in Dallas, explores how a “knock-in” gene editing approach might achieve better …

Searching for biotech solutions to problems plaguing livestock in Africa

June 26th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
In Africa, scientific research involving biotechnology innovations in agriculture has largely focused on finding ways to produce better crops. But, increasingly, researchers in animal sciences are exploring the potential of these new technologies in breeding and disease resistance.
Those efforts are bolstered by the institutions such as …

Disease-resistant GMO crops can reduce pesticide use

March 19th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Recently, University of Florida plant geneticists Zhonglin Mou and Kevin Folta, along with their team of graduate students, announced a new method to fight common diseases in fruit plants. Their discovery could drastically reduce the use of fungicides if widely implemented by growers!
Unfortunately, their methods may never be put to …

Seed Co introduces new maize variety tolerant to lethal necrosis disease

March 12th, 2018 / Farmbiz Africa

Seed Co, a company that develops and markets certified crop seeds, mainly hybrid maize seed has introduced a new maize variety that is tolerant to the maize lethal necrosis disease (MLND).
“The new maize variety KATEH 01 was developed over a period of three years since 2016 by Seed Co in …

Study shows how plants use ‘baits’ to trap pathogens

February 28th, 2018 / Earlham Institute, UK

A study published in Genome Biology shows how plants use ‘baits’ to recognize and trap disease-causing pathogens before infection can start.
Ksenia Krasileva and her team from Earlham Institute, together with researchers from The Sainsbury Laboratory, used phylogenetic analyses to identify how these ‘bait’ genes are distributed throughout different wild and …

Tanzania sets record in potato research, to release improved varieties

February 21st, 2018 / The Citizen, Tanzania

Tanzania has excelled in experimental trials of high yielding and disease resistant potato varieties under a climate smart agriculture programme aimed to improve food security.
Three of 14 varieties brought into the country by the International Potato Centre (CIP) for field trials in Lushoto district did well and two of them …

Rwanda: new banana variety to enhance productivity

February 21st, 2018 / New Times, Rwanda

A new variety of highly productive banana plants will be distributed to farmers starting next month in a bid to improve banana production and fight disease in one of the priority crops in the country.
The move, under the government’s seven year programme which will come to an end in 2024, …

Saving chocolate: Scientists develop disease-resistant hybrid cacao clones that dramatically increase yields

October 3rd, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Few cacao varieties are widely cultivated, and that’s a problem: Like many other crops, cacao is under constant threat from diseases and environmental challenges exacerbated by our tendency to grow only a few varieties with similar or identical genetic traits and defects.
In the early 1980s, Dr. Phillips-Mora worked to identify …

Kenya approves field trials for disease-resistant GMO bananas

September 26th, 2017 / Genetic literacy Project, US

The National Biosafety Authority has approved field tests for genetically modified bananas, moving the country closer to accepting growing and consumption of GMO foods.
The authority…says the approval for controlled field tests was granted on November 7 last year, paving the way for the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation to …

Uganda harvests another successful GM cassava trial

September 20th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and cassava brown streak (CBSD) are still the most challenging constraints for cassava production in the Sub-Saharan Africa. Some Ugandans describe them as HIV for cassava. Although, there are CMD resistant cassava varieties, it is still a challenge since a good number of farmers have not …