In the news...

GMO maize could halt devastating fall army worm invasion in Uganda—if it gets approved

April 4th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Mary Yangi trekked a long journey from South Sudan to Uganda’s West Nile region to settle as a refugee and, a few months later, into farming. Unlike others, who were reliant upon food rations from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the 59-year-old widow saw …

Agrilinks releases food safety hazard factsheets

March 29th, 2018 / AgriLinks

The factsheets provide a snapshot of several key foodborne disease (FBD) causing agents (chemical and biological) commonly found in developing countries. They provide a description of the agent, major food sources, impact on human health and how to manage toxicity. These are a useful tool for those looking for a …

Myths and misleading claims about fertilizers and pesticides lead to GMO fear mongering

March 28th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Why did activists trash experimental crops of genetically modified (GM) maize and oilseed rape in the 1990s in the UK? Why were their activities closely followed by a pliant media?
Not having been closely involved with plant breeding, my first reaction was to wonder what I had missed that led the …

The future of organic farming and gene editing

March 28th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

It’s become popular in recent years for some to call for a shift away from conventional farming and wholly into organic. But is this even feasible? Not when you compare the yields of both farming methods. Organic yields are usually 20-30 percent below conventional yields, with the sometimes exception of …

Breakthrough in battle against rice blast

March 28th, 2018 / University of Exeter, UK

Scientists have found a way to stop the spread of rice blast, a fungus that destroys up to 30% of the world’s rice crop each year.
An international team led by the University of Exeter showed that chemical genetic inhibition of a single protein in the fungus stops it spreading inside …

Why African farmers should balance pesticides with other control methods

March 23rd, 2018 / The Conversation

Insect pests cause almost half of the crop losses in Africa. If the continent is to feed its growing population, farmers must find ways to control them. Pests account for high losses in other developing regions too.
For smallholder farmers in particular, pest management needs to be affordable, safe and sustainable. …

Forty years of data quantifies benefits of Bt corn adoption across multiple crops for the first time

March 21st, 2018 / Phys.org

University of Maryland researchers have pulled together forty years of data to quantify the effects of Bt field corn, a highly marketed and successful genetically engineered technology, in a novel and large-scale collaborative study. Other studies have demonstrated the benefits of Bt corn or cotton adoption on pest management for …

FAO launches mobile application to support fight against Fall Armyworm in Africa

March 21st, 2018 / Reliefweb

FAO has launched a mobile application to enable farmers, agricultural workers and other partners at the frontline of the fight against Fall Armyworm in Africa to identify, report the level of infestation, and map the spread of this destructive insect, as well as to describe its natural enemies and the …

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 …

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 …