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How GMO crops can be engineered to ‘rehydrate’ after intense drought

November 21st, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Scientists at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science in Japan have found that the protein NGA1 is critical for plants to have normal responses to dehydration. In plants, dehydration response is regulated by the hormone abscisic acid (ABA). Successful rehydration requires accumulation of ABA during the early stages of …

Gene silencing could ‘fool’ plants into surviving harsh environments

November 21st, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

By temporarily silencing the expression of a critical gene, researchers fooled soybean plants into sensing they were under siege, encountering a wide range of stresses. Then, after selectively cross breeding those plants with the original stock, the progeny “remember” the stress-induced responses to become more vigorous, resilient and productive plants, …

Cultivating resilience to climate change

November 7th, 2018 / Food Tank

The Crop Trust is on a mission to improve biodiversity and protect farmers against climate change through their Crop Wild Relatives project.
Crop Trust joined with The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) in June on a five-day hunt for wild relatives of potatoes in Brazil. Having found two wild potato relatives …

Securing East Africa’s cassava

August 1st, 2018 / CGIAR

Morag Ferguson is thrilled with the results of a recent genotyping study. It seems that the cassava landraces she has been working on from South, East and Central Africa are pretty unique. The genetic diversity maps show this specific group of landraces branching off clearly in isolation from the cassava …

Seed industry sees plant breeding innovation as key to sustainable agriculture

July 6th, 2018 / AgroNews

“Innovations in plant breeding are enabling us to develop plants that meet the needs of a changing world,” said President of the International Seed Federation (ISF) Jean-Christophe Gouache at the opening ceremony of the ISF World Seed Congress 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. “This is down to the ‘power of genetics,’” …

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 …

Researchers develop first gene drive targeting worldwide crop pest

April 20th, 2018 / Phys.org

Biologists at the University of California San Diego have developed a method of manipulating the genes of an agricultural pest that has invaded much of the United States and caused millions of dollars in damage to high-value berry and other fruit crops.
Research led by Anna Buchman in the lab of …

I Didn’t Think There Were Many African Women Scientists. Then …

February 12th, 2018 / NPR

Recently, an online survey asked me to name African women scientists I admired. I found myself struggling — even though I’m a Kenyan entomologist, researching sustainable ways to feed our expanding population amid a changing climate. I thought to myself, why are there so few of us?
I was wrong: We …

Why the genome of wheat is so massive

January 30th, 2018 / The Economist, UK

It has over five times as much DNA as the human genome!
THE domestication of wheat and other staple crops in the Levant some 10,000 years ago allowed for persistent settlement above a level of mere subsistence—one possible definition of the beginning of civilisation. Early farmers grew naturally occurring hybrids of …

Improving the genetics of local cattle breeds, ensuring higher milk and beef yields

January 24th, 2018 / This Day, Nigeria

The Sokoto State Cattle Breeding Project, the largest of its kind in the West African sub-region, will be inaugurated in May this year, Commissioner for Animal Health and Fisheries Development, Alhaji Tukur Alkali has said.
Conducting journalists round the project sites in Sokoto and Rabah LGA of the state, Alkali said …