In the news...

Africa called on to embrace plant genetic varieties to boost food security

October 2nd, 2017 / Xinhua, China

African economies should take the lead in embracing crop genetic varieties in a bid to enhance food security and sustainable agriculture, experts said.
They made the call during the African Union regional forum on the Implementation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in Kigali, …

Millet genome sequenced by scientists from 10 countries

September 27th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

An international consortium of researchers from France, India, and China has published the genome sequence of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum), a cereal that belongs to the family of small-seeded grasses, grown in arid areas in the Sahel region in Africa and in Asia, especially in India.
Coordinated by the Institut de …

New cassava variety developed

September 26th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Cassava is an important source of food and income for small-holder farmers in several African countries, including Uganda because it grows well in conditions of drought and low soil fertility.
However, viral diseases especially Cassava Brown Streak Virus (CBSV) and Cassava Mosaic Virus (CMV) can destroy …

The regulatory status of gene-edited agricultural products in the EU and beyond

September 25th, 2017 / Emerging Topics in Life Sciences

Governments all over the world are struggling with the regulatory status of gene-edited organisms. Are they regulated? Should they be regulated? In the present paper, the main focus is on the regulatory status of gene-edited organisms within the European regulatory framework. A stepwise analysis is performed that comes to the …

New genomics tool is being deployed in East African cassava fields

September 19th, 2017 / Medium

TED Senior Fellow and computational biologist Laura Boykin has made her life’s work to rid cassava — a staple root crop on which 800 million people around the world rely for their daily calories — of whitefly-borne virus. Now, with a team of international scientists, including co-Principal Investigators Dr Joseph Ndunguru and Dr Titus …

Genetic markers against deadly cassava viruses found

September 18th, 2017 / SciDev.net

Scientists have identified genetic markers of resistance to two deadly viral diseases in cassava varieties of East African origin.
According to the scientists, the cassava varieties — Namikonga and Albert — which are genetically related through a West African cassava variety TME117 are preferred by farmers in Tanzania and have …

Malawi Parliamentary Women’s Caucus backs GM crop trials to avert food crisis

September 8th, 2017 / Malawi Post

Malawi’s Parliamentary Committee on Women Caucus, said it supports the current research on Genetically Modified (GM) crops in a bid to avert another food crisis in Malawi.
The Committee’s stand comes amid heavy debate among the public on whether the Malawi should embrace GM crops surpassing hybrid seed for increased food …

Scientists make breakthrough in fight against cassava diseases

August 29th, 2017 / Daily News, Tanzania

Scientists have identified the first ever genetic markers associated with resistance to two deadly cassava viral diseases in Tanzania’s grown varieties.
The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in a statement availed to the ‘Daily News’ yesterday, identified the two varieties as Namikonga and Albert.
Mostly grown by Tanzanian farmers, the varieties …

Best practices soybean farmers can adopt today

August 4th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Soybean is a legume crop that fixes nitrogen into the soil adding to its fertility and the beans are rich in vegetable protein including bioactive food components and several important nutrients such as fibre and iron.
A report about soybean research in Uganda for the year 2002 …

Cracking the code of megapests

August 3rd, 2017 / CSIRO

Led by CSIRO, in collaboration with a team of renowned experts, the researchers identified more than 17,000 protein coding genes in the genomes of the Helicoverpa armigera and Helicoverpa zea (commonly known as the Cotton Bollworm and Corn Earworm, respectively).
They also documented how these genetics have changed overtime.
This level of …