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Student to boost Vitamin A content of chickpea

June 22nd, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Chickpeas may soon be added to the list of vitamin A-enriched crops. Vitamin A has been proven to enhance brain function, improve sight and skin health, and slow down aging.
According to Bunyamin Tar’an, professor at the University of Saskatchewan and chickpea breeder, chickpeas are a well-known source of protein and …

Future of corn: genetics could improve maize’s sustainability and productivity

June 20th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

A new, much more detailed reference genome for maize, or corn, as it is called in the U.S., [was] published in Nature [June 12]. In its accounting of the sequence of DNA letters in the plant’s 10 chromosomes, the new version helps us understand as never before why maize, and …

How to boost coffee yields amid harsh weather conditions

June 20th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Coffee is a major agricultural commodity in Africa, including Uganda. It is where most people derive their livelihood because it is mainly grown for commercial benefits.
The main type of coffee produced in Uganda is Robusta and it grows well in low altitude areas of central, eastern, …

Why did Tanzanian farmers demand growing GM crops?

June 19th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports:
An online weekly newsletter, Crop Biotech Update, reported on June 6, 2017, that farmers in Mwanza Province, North Eastern Tanzania urged their government to hasten delivery of GM crops which they said would save them from crop failure.
The maize, cassava, and cotton farmers whose crop has …

Why farmers should be interested in beans

June 15th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Traditionally, beans were grown for home consumption but after realising the benefits, bean growing transcended to being commercial. Reasons why you should be grow beans include a ready market, they grow fast, they’re not susceptible to diseases, and they have nutritional value. And we give some quick tips on growing …

Researchers Identify gene against wheat streak mosaic virus

June 14th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Researchers from Kansas State University have identified a gene that can resist wheat streak mosaic virus. The team identified Wsm3 gene, the third gene known to resist the virus, and the first that can do so at outdoor temperatures of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and higher. Read …

Scientists discover plant ‘brain’ controlling seed development

June 9th, 2017 / Phys.org

A new study by scientists at the University of Birmingham has revealed a group of cells that function as a ‘brain’ for plant embryos, capable of assessing environmental conditions and dictating when seeds will germinate.
A plant’s decision about when to germinate is one of the most important it will make …

Uganda: IITA’s breeding efforts to benefit 15,000 farmers

June 9th, 2017 / IITA News

The new 4-year project, run by National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL) Kawanda, will be piloted in 3 districts in Mbarara (Western region), Nakaseke district (Central region) and Kabarole district (Rwenzori region). A total of 5,000 households in each region are expected to benefit. The project dubbed “Improving scalable banana agronomy …

Unraveling the tea genome

June 7th, 2017 / Stir, Thailand

The tea plant contains three billion base pairs of DNA, four times more than coffee or cacao. It took five years to unravel but the first high-quality map of the genome was published in May. Now it’s time to get to work coming up with practical applications of the tea …

Study finds large chromosomal swaps key to banana domestication

June 7th, 2017 / Phys.org

Bananas are one of the most important staple crops of the tropics, transported with great care over great distances to satisfy the world’s appetite. And today, with more than half the world’s bananas coming from a single, Cavendish variety, they may increasingly become susceptible to funguses that threaten its livelihood, …