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CRISPR-edited pigs could blunt swine flu epidemic threatening China’s food supply

December 5th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Inside a fortresslike megafarm on the outskirts of Beijing, dozens of pink and black pigs forage and snooze, unfazed by the chilly spring air. These experimentally bred hogs are fortified with a gene for regulating heat, buffering them against northern China’s hypothermia-inducing winters.

The gene that researcher Jianguo Zhao inserted into …

PODCAST: Wild plants help protect key food crops from climate change, disease

December 5th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Call it a tale of science and derring-do. An international team of researchers has spent six years fanning across the globe, gathering thousands of samples of wild relatives of crops. Their goal: to preserve genetic diversity that could help key crops survive in the face of climate change. At times, …

GMOs have a place in African agriculture

December 4th, 2019 / GhanaWeb

The founding director of West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) at the University of Ghana, has called on African governments to open the doors for the cultivation and use of genetically modified crops to address the food and nutrition insecurity challenges on the continent.

Professor Eric Danquah said the challenges …

GM potato trials point to blight resistant crops of the future

December 4th, 2019 / TSL

A genetically modified potato with improved tuber quality and resistance to the devastating disease late blight has progressed successfully through the latest stage of trials.

The field trials follow successful lab experiments to modify Maris Piper potatoes with late blight resistance genes from wild relatives of potato called Solanum americanum and Solanum venturii.

To improve …

Smart irrigation controllers to see rapid growth in coming years

December 4th, 2019 / African Farming, UK

Smart irrigation has been benefitted with the advent of Internet of Things (IoT), thus pushing the growth of smart irrigation controllers market at a global level, according to Persistence Market Researc.

In addition, apart from sprinkling management and management of watering schedules, several players are integrating various functionalities to make smart …

COP25: ‘Signals of hope’ multiplying in face of global climate crisis, insists UN chief Guterres

December 2nd, 2019 / UN News

“My message here today is one of hope not of despair” said UN chief António Guterres addressing journalists at a press conference in the Spanish capital on Sunday, after revealing the key takeaways from the World Meteorological Organization’s State of the Climate report, due to be published during COP25. 

“The last five years have been the …

Microloans make farming profitable for Kenyan smallholders

December 2nd, 2019 / SciDev.net

Farmers in Kenya report increased yields after signing up to microloan scheme.Groups such as One Acre Fund and myAgro give smallholders access to finance and farming inputs.More investment is essential to help small-scale farmers reach their potential. Read more …

White collar job? No thank you- Kisaakye

December 2nd, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports:

Timothy Kisaakye, 34, is considering relocating from Kampala to his home village of Kasanje on the outskirts of Masaka Town to become a full-time farmer. 

Big dream “I do not think I will get a job in Kampala that can pay me the amount of money that I …

Investing in drought-tolerant maize is good for Africa

November 30th, 2019 / CIMMYT

Zambia’s vice-president has recently called to reduce maize dominance and increase crop and diet diversification in his country. The reality is that maize is and will remain a very important food crop for many eastern and southern African countries. Diet preferences and population growth mean that it is imperative to find solutions …

E. coli bacteria engineered to eat carbon dioxide

November 30th, 2019 / Nature, UK

E. coli is on a diet. Researchers have created a strain of the lab workhorse bacterium — full name Escherichia coli — that grows by consuming carbon dioxide instead of sugars or other organic molecules.

The achievement is a milestone, say scientists, because it drastically alters the inner workings of one of biology’s most …