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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 …

Genetic modification technology benefits smallholder farms

November 27th, 2018 / The Daily Californian, US

Genetically modified organisms have the capacity to greatly benefit farmers, consumers and the environment. Genetic modifications to crop plants can reduce the need for pesticide application, improve nutritive aspects of foods and provide ecological services. The genetically modified papaya provides an excellent example of how smallholder farmers have benefitted from …

Shock as government bans GMO trials

November 27th, 2018 / The Citizen, Tanzania

B4FA Fellow B4FA Fellow Rosemary Mirondo reports:
Tanzania orders the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute to stop all Genetic Modified Organism (GMO) confined trials and destroy all test remnants.
An air of resignation characterised reactions yesterday to the government’s surprise ban on all genetically modified organism (GMO) trials in the country.
Members of the …

Biotechnology seen as a crucial step in achieving industrialization

November 21st, 2018 / Sunrise, Uganda

From B4FA Fellow Henry Lutaaya:
The Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija proclaimed ‘Industrialization for job creation and shared prosperity’ as the theme for Uganda’s current financial year budget 2018/19. The theme fits well within the wider aspirations of the African Union and the African Development Bank that seek to achieve a …

Researchers discover how to engineer plants with enhanced drought resistance without affecting growth

November 15th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Drought is one of the effects of climate change that needs serious attention. This year’s decreased rainfall and abnormally hotter temperatures in northern and eastern Europe caused large losses in cereals and potato crops and in other horticultural species.
Experts have long believed that that to ensure food security, it is …

Can we separate science from agriculture?

November 14th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
It is a big paradox that our leaders are talking passionately about training scientists and raising science teachers’ salaries and at the same time being slow to accept new scientific ideas even when they are meant to boost the country’s agricultural output, the economy, and food …

Edible GM cotton could supply protein to 600 million people daily

November 13th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

It turns out cotton seed is a great source of protein, except it’s currently toxic for humans. Cotton naturally produces gossypol, which is essentially an insecticide. While that helps the plant fight off insects, it also makes it poisonous to humans and most animals. But scientists at Texas A&M University …

Uganda MPs accept Museveni’s proposals on GMO Bill

November 13th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Legislators on the Parliamentary Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation have changed their positions on the GMO Bill and considered proposals suggested by President Museveni, Daily Monitor has established.
This comes after the President declined to sign the Bill into law in December 2017, citing lack of clarity in the legislation. …

Are GMO critics more open to gene editing that targets plant and human diseases?

November 12th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The early generations of transgenic plants focused primarily on increasing productivity, either by reducing pest damage or increasing yields by minimizing the impact of weeds. These have met with fierce opposition from anti-GMO groups and some government quarters (such as Green Party members in European parliaments).
But transgenics and other modifications …