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Wild coffee species threatened by climate change and deforestation

January 18th, 2019 / Nature, UK

Most of the world’s wild coffee species have a high chance of going extinct in the next several decades due to more frequent and lengthy droughts, loss of forests and the spread of deadly pests, according to a study1 published on 16 January in Science Advances. 

The findings signal a potential threat to …

Genetically modified ‘shortcut’ boosts plant growth by 40%

January 7th, 2019 / BBC, UK

Scientists in the US have engineered tobacco plants that can grow up to 40% larger than normal in field trials. 

The researchers say they have found a way of overcoming natural restrictions in the process of photosynthesis that limit crop productivity.

They believe the method could be used to significantly boost yields …

Africa can’t afford to miss the gene revolution

December 21st, 2018

Africa can’t afford to be left behind as the gene revolution transforms modern farming, African agricultural experts say.

This is especially true for Nigeria, which must feed its rapidly growing population, said Yarama Ndirpaya, director of partnership and linkages at the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN).

Nigeria and other African nations …

Next generation cassava breeding project

December 21st, 2018

An in-depth film about the impacts of cassava brown streak disease and cassava mosaic disease on cassava production in Tanzania, and scientific efforts to breed resistant varieties using a predictive computational technique called genomic selection. See …

Study predicts GMO cowpea will boost Ghana’s economy

December 20th, 2018

A new improved GMO cowpea variety developed by Ghanaian scientists will grow the nation’s cowpea sector by nearly 10 percent annually over the next six years, according to a new economic study.

The study forecasts the new insect resistant cowpea will add US$52million (GH₵230m) to the cowpea production economy by 2025, …

Africa Sub-regions lack knowledge of GMOs , says foundation

December 19th, 2018 / The Guardian, Nigeria

African Agricultural Technology Foundations (AATF) on Sunday expressed displeasure over lack of knowledge of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) among the African Sub-region farmers.
The Foundation’s Regional Director, Dr Issouhou Abdurhamane, made the observation when he led a team to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum to sensitize Nigerians on Genetically …

New biotech crop-breeding technologies struggle for traction across much of Africa

December 19th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Around the world, scientists using biotechnology advances to breed new crops are bound by an array of guidelines and regulations enacted by the nations in which they operate. Many of these countries have built these legal frameworks based, at least partly, on guidance from the Convention …

Significant progress in pearl millet pre-breeding to develop drought- and blast-resistant varieties

December 17th, 2018 / ICRISAT

Efforts to develop pearl millet with improved resistance to drought and blast disease recently got a major boost. The identification of promising introgression lines after multi-location trials, will help accelerate development of new varieties and increase pearl millet production and productivity.
Pearl millet is an important source of nutrition for millions …

Hybrid rice engineered with CRISPR can clone its seeds

December 17th, 2018 / Science News

After more than 20 years of theorizing about it, scientists have tweaked a hybrid variety of rice so that some of the plants produce cloned seeds. No plant sex necessary. The feat, described December 12 in Nature, is encouraging for efforts to feed an increasingly crowded world.
Crossing two good varieties …

The future of drought-tolerant wheat is near

December 17th, 2018 / Global Farmer Network

I have seen the future of wheat and it’s in Argentina.
Or at least one version of it which would be of great benefit to an Australian farmer like me.
Let me explain. Two years ago, I had the chance to visit Argentina in a low rainfall area very similar to areas …