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CRISPR gene editing can cause hundreds of unintended mutations

May 30th, 2017 / Phys.org

As CRISPR-Cas9 starts to move into clinical trials, a new study published in Nature Methods has found that the gene-editing technology can introduce hundreds of unintended mutations into the genome.
“We feel it’s critical that the scientific community consider the potential hazards of all off-target mutations caused by CRISPR, including single …

Geneticists engineer a virus to fight citrus disease

May 19th, 2017 / The Scientist

Since 2005, Candidatus Liberibacter, a genus of bacteria that is spread by Asian citrus psyllids (Diaphorina citri) and turns fruit green and bitter, has been devastating orange crops in the United States. “There’s a real race on right now to try to save the citrus,” Carolyn Slupsky, a food scientist …

Gene banks are forever

May 18th, 2017 / Crop Trust

There have been mergers and name changes, budget crunches and strategic re-thinks for the individual centers. And, from 1971 when it was founded, lots of structuring and restructuring – with the obligatory accompanying re-branding – for the club to which they all belong. I remember when it used to be …

Traditional breeding alters maize composition more than stacking transgenic events

April 20th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Dow AgroSciences LLC researchers, led by Rod A. Herman, evaluated the impact of crossing (stacking) genetically modified (GM) events on maize grain biochemical composition and compared it with the impact caused by generating non-GM hybrids.
The compositional similarity of seven GM stacks containing event DAS-Ø15Ø7-1 was compared to their corresponding non-GM …

Genetically engineered microbes make their own fertiliser

April 11th, 2017 / Science, US

Industrial fertilizers help feed billions of people every year, but they remain beyond the reach of many of the world’s poorest farmers. Now, researchers have engineered microbes that, when added to soil, make fertilizer on demand, producing plants that grow 1.5 times larger than crops not exposed to the bugs …

Latin American native maize reveals adaptation secrets

March 21st, 2017 / SciDev.net

An international team of scientists identified a hundred genes that influence adaptation to the latitude, altitude, growing season and flowering time of nearly 4,500 native maize varieties in Mexico and in almost all Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Creole — or native — varieties of maize are derived from improvements made …

Drought tolerant wheat on the way

March 21st, 2017 / Agriculture.com

Look for a grinning, midsize lab-coat guy this winter, wearing dark glasses possibly, at the CFIA Variety Registration Office in Ottawa or Toronto. Julian Northey plans to be there, toting his paperwork, to register a new durum wheat for trials in western Canada.
If it happens and if it holds up …

Agency seek increased funding for the domestication of GMO

February 22nd, 2017 / The Guardian, Nigeria

To fully domesticate the development of Genetically Modified crop in the country, the Nigerian Agriculture Seed Council (NASC) has called for the need to scale up funding for agricultural biotechnology in the country.
The Director General NASC, Olusegun Ojo who stated this during the training of over 20 seed scientists on …

Search for targeted pesticides leads scientists to eavesdrop on crosstalk between plants & fungi

February 13th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

In the conversation between plants and fungi, the organisms rely on a well-worn mechanism of gene-expression regulation that has stood the test of evolutionary time: RNA interference (RNAi). Listening in on the RNA crosstalk between plants and their pathogens could reveal previously unknown facets of basic plant biology, and point …

Agricultural technology can’t be ignored – Kenya ‘on the brink’

February 10th, 2017

Kenya is on the brink of embracing biotechnology in agriculture. The MIT Technology Review made the claim in October: ‘Kenya is thought to be on the brink of reversing its ban on GM imports.’ The news and commentary website Grist said it in June: ‘Kenya is on the brink of …