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Enhancing powdery mildew resistance in wheat

August 17th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) suffers significant yield losses due to powdery mildew, a major fungal disease caused by Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici (Bgt). The enhanced disease resistance1 (EDR1) gene plays a negative role in the defense response against powdery mildew in Arabidopsis thaliana, making EDR1 a target for improving …

Multi-nutrient rice to fight malnutrition

August 10th, 2017 / Genomics Research

ETH researchers have developed a new rice variety that not only has increased levels of the micronutrients iron and zinc in the grains, but also produces beta-carotene as a precursor of vitamin A. This could help to reduce micronutrient malnutrition, or «hidden hunger», which is widespread in developing countries.
Nearly every …

Climate change Is draining protein out of staple crops

August 4th, 2017 / IFL Science

No matter how hard we work at stopping it, some human-driven climate change is inevitable. It’s already happening, and it will continue to happen even if we drawdown carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
This means that there are certain adaptations we need to make in order to make it through the …

Can genetic modification turn annual crops into perennials?

August 3rd, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The last several decades have witnessed a remarkable increase in crop yields — doubling major grain crops since the 1950s. But a significant part of the world still suffers from malnutrition, and these gains in grains and other crops probably won’t be enough to feed a growing global population.
These facts …

Better communication is essential to the future of agriculture…and the planet

July 27th, 2017 / Huffington Post, US

On June 15, I had the honor of presenting the annual AAAS Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. Each year, one person is selected to address scientific thought leaders across all segments of the agriculture and food industry – …

Science, if used correctly, has no political affiliation

July 26th, 2017 / Salon, US

Show us your data and we’ll show you ours. That’s the stance of Scott Hamilton Kennedy, the director of the new documentary “Food Evolution,” which takes the — gasp! — position that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the agriculture industry might well be the best thing to happen to the …

Genetically engineered yeast soaks up heavy metal pollution

July 24th, 2017 / American Council on Science and Health

Environmental contamination with heavy metals is often the result of various types of industrial processes. Because heavy metals can be dangerous to humans and other wildlife, contaminated sites need to be cleaned up. This isn’t easy. Chemical extraction methods can introduce different types of pollutants into the environment.
Bioremediation — using …

Plant genetics, ecologically based farming and the future of food

July 21st, 2017 / John Wiley, US

For 10,000 years, we have altered the genetic makeup of our crops. Conventional approaches are often quite crude, resulting in new varieties through a combination of trial and error, and without knowledge of the precise function of the genes that are being transferred. Such methods include grafting or forced pollinations …

East African scientists turn to gene sequencing against Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD)

July 13th, 2017 / African Marketplace, CNN

Cassava has no defense against a tiny insect that is decimating crops across East Africa, with dire economic and humanitarian consequences.
The whitefly carries two viruses that together destroy over $1 billion worth of cassava in Sub-Saharan Africa each year. Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) is the more established threat and does …

Scientists biofortify wheat to produce flour with more iron

July 13th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Researchers from the John Innes Centre (JIC) have developed a variety of wheat that has high levels of iron. This new biofortified variety could help decrease the number of people with iron deficiency around the world.
Wheat contains iron in parts that are removed before milling. With the use of the …