In the news...

The crop conundrum

December 16th, 2015 / Nature, UK

European Commission directive on releasing GM organisms into the environment covers field trials and cultivation defines GM organisms as having alterations that cannot occur naturally, which were made by genetic engineering. What is unclear is how this relates to experiments in which researchers introduce foreign DNA to direct a precise …

Myth busting: there is no such thing as GMO sugar

December 16th, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Until recently, no one really cared about the source of their sugar, because the end product, pure sucrose, is identical. What changed the dialogue was the introduction of and acceptance of genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets. Read …

Beyond the poverty of poverty reduction: the case of cotton

December 15th, 2015 / African Arguments, UK

Africa’s cotton producers still seek a better trade deal. But as the WTO Ministerial meeting convenes in Nairobi, the poverty hurdles are much higher than just trade barriers. But to move beyond the poverty of poverty reduction, decision-makers will need to embrace broader and deeper understandings of Africa’s cotton and …

Africa closer to a cure for banana disease

December 15th, 2015 / Inter Press Service

Scientists at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) headquartered in Ibadan, Nigeria in partnership with the National Agriculture Research Organisation (NARO) in Uganda are close to a breakthrough after more than eight years researching solutions to BXW.In one Ugandan dialect, ‘kiwotoka’, describes the steamed look of banana plants affected …

A new breed of edits

December 14th, 2015 / Nature, UK

Genome editing allows much smaller changes to be made to DNA compared with conventional genetic engineering. In terms of agriculture, this might win over public and regulator opinion. Genome editing offers both subtlety and speed, wherever in the genome a researcher wants to target. The speed comes from the technologies’ …

Will banana crisis force more rational consideration of GMOs?

December 14th, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The new strain of Panama Disease, known as Tropical Race 4, has already spread from Southeast Asia across the rest of the continent, as well as to Africa, the Middle East and Australia. Whenever it makes what researchers say is an inevitable jump to Latin America, it will devastate commercial …

University-made Roundup Ready seeds ready for market

December 1st, 2015 / Harvet Public Media, US

After the patent on one of the most popular versions of genetically engineered soybeans expired this year, U.S. universities are creating new generic GMO soybean varieties, many of which are designed to guard against specific, local pests. Ninety percent of soybean seeds planted in the U.S. are genetically engineered …

What everyone should know about cut-and-paste genetics

December 1st, 2015 / Nature, UK

The ethics of human-genome editing is in the spotlight again as a large international meeting on the topic is poised to kick off in Washington DC. Ahead of the summit, which is being jointly organized by the US National Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Medicine, the …

Namulonge releases new maize, cassava varieties

December 1st, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports: The National Crop Resources Research Institute in Namulonge (NaCCRI), the maize varieties recently released are Naro Maize-03, Naro Maize-56, Naro Maize-57. These are high yielding hybrids to address the problems of diseases and declining soil fertility. Dr Michael Otim, the head of the cereals …

Alliance to tackle African food security challenges

December 1st, 2015 / Business Weekly, UK

The John Innes Centre in Norwich and Nairobi’s Biosciences east and central Africa (BecA) research hub have announced advances in their collaboration which aims to find scientific solutions to African food security challenges. The BecA-John Innes Centre (JIC) alliance works on collaborative research projects and, in doing so, builds …