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Will gene editing boost food production? The potential of a ‘revolutionary technology’

December 14th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

With the progress already made in the development of genome-editing tools and the development of new breakthroughs, genome editing promises to play a key role in speeding up crop breeding and in meeting the ever-increasing global demand for food. Moreover, the exigencies of climate change call for great flexibility and …

New tomato variety resists leaf curl virus and wilting

October 29th, 2018 / FarmBiz Africa

In dealing with losses caused by leaf curl and other deadly wilts in tomatoes, a seed company has come up with a tomato hybrid that is least affected by the diseases.
TM 20 F1 is hybrid that has been developed to help farmers escape the losses to the above diseases, which …

Wild cousins of finger millet show promise of parasite resistance

October 16th, 2018 / ICRISAT

Finger millet can be grown at altitudes ranging from sea level to over 2000 metres above sea level, can withstand drought, and has high levels of essential amino acids and micronutrients.
Dr Chrispus Oduori kneels amidst a sea of colorful plastic buckets in a screenhouse in Western Kenya and shifts some …

Why Ugandan banana breeders say it’s critical to add genetic engineering to their toolbox

October 11th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Ugandan researchers have been successful at developing robust hybrid bananas through conventional breeding techniques. Yet they see a strong need to adopt GM varieties of the fruit that is so critical to the nation.
They argue that using conventional breeding to develop hybrid cooking bananas is a …

Improved cowpea in the offing for Ghanaian smallholders

October 5th, 2018 / SciDev.net

“These novel cowpeas will sustain the cowpea industry and provide foundation for further breeding and improvement of the crop.”
Aaron Asare, Ghana’s University of Cape Coast.
Ghanaian smallholders could by the end of this year get access to new, disease-resistant cowpea varieties that mature early and improve yields, says an expert who …

SARI applies science in addressing post food losses

October 4th, 2018 / Daily Guide, Ghana

Scientists from the Savannah Agriculture Research Institute (SARI) under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have introduced and exposed close to 300 farmers to two improved varieties of cowpea in the Binduri and Bawku West Districts of the Upper East Region.
The beneficiary farmers are those who farm along …

Pioneering biologists create a new crop through genome editing

October 3rd, 2018 / Phys.org

Crops such as wheat and maize have undergone a breeding process lasting thousands of years, in the course of which mankind has gradually modified the properties of wild plants into highly cultivated variants. One motive was higher yields. A side effect of this breeding has been a reduction in genetic …

Hybrid maize resists lethal necrosis

September 26th, 2018 / Daily Nation, Kenya

The disease can destroy entire harvests and is thus a severe food security risk.
A centralised maize lethal necrosis disease screening facility established in Naivasha five years ago has released 15 disease-resistant hybrid maize varieties in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
After screening more than 150,000 maize germplasms, the team validated genomic regions …

UCC develops high yielding drought and disease resilient cowpea varieties

September 24th, 2018 / Ghana News Agency

A team of researchers from the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, University of Cape Coast (UCC) has developed eight different varieties of cowpea as part of its “Cowpea Project”.
The varieties, which are more drought and disease resilient and high yielding are expected to be released to seed production companies …

African researchers identify four high-protein maize varieties resistant to or tolerant of Striga

June 21st, 2018 / ISAAA, US

A study by researchers from Africa identified four varieties of high-protein maize, which are resistant to, or tolerant of semi-parasitic weed, Striga.

The high-protein maize varieties would prove to be advantageous for both farmers and consumers around the globe. Many small farmers would not have to buy chemicals to control Striga …