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USDA unveils new gene-stacking tool to prevent plant diseases

August 16th, 2018 / The Scientist

If climate change is the new normal, farmers in some regions of the world will have to get used to fighting mold and mildew. For wheat growers in particular, fungal blights are already a big problem—and only expected to worsen as weather patterns change. Fungal pathogens are advancing northwards at …

Trait-based regulation of GM plants is on the horizon – at last!

August 16th, 2018 / Agri-Pulse

Evan Pugh Professor Emerita and Penn State University Senior Science Advisor Nina Fedoroff writes:
We are now able to modify plants with exquisite precision to make use of the enormous fund of molecular and physiological knowledge about them accumulated over the past century. Taking apart the regulatory thicket will make …

Ghana eyes Bt cotton following its approval in nearby Nigeria

August 9th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Nigeria’s decision to commercialize Bt cotton has revived hopes for the novel variety in Ghana, its West African neighbor. Science-focused civil society groups are confident Nigeria’s move will serve as a good role model and push players in the agricultural space to resume work on processes to make Bt cotton …

Biotech update: What is CRISPR and how does it works

August 8th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Researchers have found that the CRISPR – Cas9 system can be applied to nearly every organism. Early studies using CRISPR – Cas9 for gene editing have focused on crops important for agriculture. It was realized early on that the system could be used in crops to improve traits, such as …

13 African countries have biotech crops in different stages of development, but approvals are slow

August 8th, 2018 / Genetic Literary Project, US

13 African countries have some biotech crops in different stages of development; the research involves 12 crops and 14 traits. Governments around the continent are evaluating the research and approving crops that feature stacked traits, like insect-resistance and drought tolerance in corn.
A new report published by the International Service for …

Kenya, Ethiopia show neighboring Uganda how to revive its dying cotton industry with pest-tolerant technology

August 3rd, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Cotton, once a cash cow in Uganda where growers aspired to outcompete each other in the acreage covered and income earned, could slowly become a crop of the past if nothing is done to curb the steady decline in its production.
According to data from the Cotton Development Organization, Uganda’s lint …

Genetically modifying rice to produce HIV-neutralizing proteins

August 1st, 2018 / Phys.org

A team of researchers from Spain, the U.S. and the U.K. has genetically modified a strain of rice to produce HIV-neutralizing proteins. In their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes the technique by which they modified the rice and how it might …

Financial benefit of using GM crops

July 31st, 2018 / Farming UK

A new report has quantified the significant financial benefit of using GM crop technology to maximise agricultural productivity.
The report, which has been produced by Graham Brookes and Peter Barfoot of UK-based PG Economics Ltd, looks around the world at where GM science has been used to boost productivity and save …

Biotech adoption gathers pace in Tanzania

July 31st, 2018 / The Citizen, Tanzania

The rate of biotech adoption has risen globally as Tanzania makes progress in research of
genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
A new report which indicates the global status of the commercialised GM crops indicate that planting of the biotech crops increased by three per cent to 189.8 million hectares in 2017.
It is also …

GM crop ruling shows why the EU’s laws are wholly inadequate

July 30th, 2018 / The Conversation

We should assess new crop varieties on the traits they are supposed to deliver, not on how those traits were introduced. The system needs to be proportional and risk-based. This should of course include consideration of the unintended effects of whatever genetic improvement process was used. Instead we spend years …