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CRISPR: a powerful gene-editing technology with huge potential

June 4th, 2015 / Nature, UK

CRISPR, a powerful gene-editing technology is the biggest game changer to hit biology since PCR. But with its huge potential come pressing concerns. CRISPR’s ability to precisely edit existing DNA sequences makes for more-accurate modifications, but it also makes it more difficult for regulators and farmers to identify a modified …

Nigeria’s new leadership raises hopes for science

June 3rd, 2015 / Nature, UK

Oye Ibidapo-Obe, former head of the Nigerian Academy of Science, discusses research-policy priorities for the country’s new president, Muhammadu Buhari. “The incoming government did not mention science research and funding in its campaign, probably because the average Nigerian does not see science as the core need of the country, so …

Is opposition to GM crops irrational?

June 3rd, 2015 / BBC, UK (audio)

Ask a scientist, and they will almost tell you genetically modified food is safe to eat. Yet a lot of consumers disagree. Is their fear of irrational? Earlier this year a US poll suggested that 88% of scientists think GM food is generally safe to eat, while only 37% of …

Nature: a source of innovation in poorer countries

May 31st, 2015 / SciDev.net, UK

‘Bioinspiration’ means taking ideas from nature and turning them into technical innovation. This way of doing science could help poorer countries be more competitive. Scientists in developing countries should look for inspiration in their unique environments instead of trying to replicate European and US methods, says George Whitesides, of Harvard …

Biotech crops benefiting small farmers the most

May 31st, 2015 / Farm Futures, US

Farmers in developing countries have the most to gain from using GMO crops, according to an annual report from PG Economics which documents gains in yield and producer income, as well as reductions in pesticide use and greenhouse gas emissions, due to adoption of GMO crops globally. Read …

New biotech law to boost scientific inventions in Nigeria

May 31st, 2015 / The Guardian, Nigeria

Director General of National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Lucy Jumeyi Ogbadu, has said that with the passage into law of the National Biotechnology bill in April by the Senate and House of Representatives, Nigeria is set to become a leading light in scientific and technological inventions in the …

New breeding techniques for organic farming

May 30th, 2015 / Cell Press/Trends in Plant Science

Organic farming is based on the concept of working ‘with nature’ instead of against it; however, compared with conventional farming, organic farming reportedly has lower productivity. Ideally, the goal should be to narrow this yield gap. In this review, the feasibility of new breeding techniques (NBTs) for rewilding, a …

A proposal to modify plants gives GMO debate new life

May 29th, 2015 / New York Times, US

If it’s called a genetically modified organism (GMO), many people will be dead set against it. But what if scientists used the precise techniques of today’s molecular biology to give back to plants genes that had long ago been bred out of them? And what if that process were …

Talk about food security; talk about maize

May 28th, 2015 / CIMMYT.org

Good news from Africa! Policy breakthroughs on transgenic research in Mozambique and Tanzania have led to approval of confined field trials (CFTs) and a more research-friendly regulatory framework, respectively. Mozambique’s CFTs will be at the Instituto de Investigação Agrária de Moçambique (IIAM; Agricultural Research Institute of Mozambique) research station …

Debating GMOs

May 24th, 2015 / MagicValley.com

“The anti-GMO movement has been more successful in undermining science than the anti-climate changers or the anti-vaccinators,” says Mark Lynas, GMO supporter Read …