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Genetically modified food fears are misguided, according to Nobel laureates

December 10th, 2018 / Inquisitr, US

American professor Frances Arnold and British biochemist Gregory Winter, this year’s winners of the Nobel Prize in chemistry, say that misguided overreaction to fears about genetically modified food is preventing society from reaping the benefits of the technology.
“We’ve been modifying the biological world at the level of DNA for thousands …

The future of food: beating the heat with genome-edited crops

December 7th, 2018 / The Mainichi, Japan

Wheat with DNA tweaked to beat the heat, and redesigned rice that can flourish in hot, dry conditions. Work is now underway to bring these kinds of genetically edited foods to dinner tables around the world, with the new rice estimated to be in bowls by about 2039, all necessitated …

Ugandan researchers look to biotechnology to bolster food production in the face of climate change

December 7th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
As the impact of climate change continues to grow worldwide, farmers are likely to face new challenges in the form of emerging pests, diseases, lengthy droughts and floods. The planet’s shifting weather patterns may very well represent the biggest health and food security threat of the …

‘Switching off’ genes could speed efforts to breed disease-resistant plants

December 7th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Researchers from [the French Agricultural Research Centre CIRAD] recently showed that inactivating a gene, RECQ4, leads to a three-fold increase in recombination in crops such as rice, pea and tomato …. This discovery, published in the journal Nature Plants could speed up plant breeding and development of varieties better suited …

Young Ugandan farmers push for homegrown GMO crops

December 5th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Though Uganda’s Parliament passed a biosafety bill last week, it remains unclear whether it will benefit a coalition of young cassava farmers who are demanding access to genetically modified (GM) crops.
Some Ugandan scientists have said the bill’s strict liability clause will effectively stifle the research and commercial release of crops …

Parliament passes GMO Bill

December 4th, 2018 / The Observer, Uganda

Parliament has passed the Genetic Engineering Regulatory Bill, 2018, formerly known as the National Biotechnology and Bio-safety Bill. The bill seeks to provide a regulatory framework for safe development and application of biotechnology and release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
Parliament earlier passed the same bill on October 4, 2017 but …

New biocontainment strategy controls spread of escaped GMOs

November 30th, 2018 / Phys.org

Hiroshima University (HU) researchers successfully developed a biocontainment strategy for genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Their new method prevents genetically modified cyanobacteria from surviving outside of their test environment, enabling ways to more safely research the effects of GMOs. Their results were published in ACS Synthetic Biology.
The applications of bioengineered …

President Kenyatta ties revival of textile sector to GM cotton

November 30th, 2018 / Sunrise, Uganda

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has instructed key government ministries to identify mechanisms for reviving the nation’s cotton production, which could include growing the genetically modified Bt cotton.
The announcement follows the government’s approval last summer of an environmental assessment that authorized the national performance trials that are required prior to commercial …

Closer to harvest? The status of the Golden Rice project

November 29th, 2018 / Flip Science, Philippines

A variety of Oryza sativa (rice) genetically engineered using recombinant DNA technology, Golden Rice contains beta carotene, an antioxidant which the body converts into Vitamin A. This gives the rice grain the yellow-orange or gold color that inspired its name.
However, the Golden Rice project is still on its way to …

Can genetic engineering deliver a natural microbial fertilizer for crops?

November 27th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

At the turn of the previous century, German scientists Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch got all the credit for finding a way to convert atmospheric nitrogen (in its very stable N2 form) into a charged ion that could be “fixed” or applied as a chemical fertilizer. Both eventually were awarded …