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‘Switching off’ genes could speed efforts to breed disease-resistant plants

December 7th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Researchers from [the French Agricultural Research Centre CIRAD] recently showed that inactivating a gene, RECQ4, leads to a three-fold increase in recombination in crops such as rice, pea and tomato …. This discovery, published in the journal Nature Plants could speed up plant breeding and development of varieties better suited …

Young Ugandan farmers push for homegrown GMO crops

December 5th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Though Uganda’s Parliament passed a biosafety bill last week, it remains unclear whether it will benefit a coalition of young cassava farmers who are demanding access to genetically modified (GM) crops.
Some Ugandan scientists have said the bill’s strict liability clause will effectively stifle the research and commercial release of crops …

Ugandan scientists skeptical of revised GMO bill

December 3rd, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

The Ugandan Parliament yesterday approved a bill to regulate genetically modified organisms that has scientists skeptical the technology will ever reach the smallholder farmers it is intended to help.
“Once bitten, twice shy,” said plant biotechnologist Dr. Andrew Kiggundu in reference to last year’s events, when Parliament passed the bill, but …

Why did Tanzania just pull the plug on its GMO crop trials?

November 29th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

When the Tanzanian government announced Friday [November 23] they were ending field trials of genetically engineered crops in the country and calling for the destruction of the crops, the country’s research community was aghast, with a local paper reporting:
‘Members of the research community were in shock that the government did …

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 …

Fight crop diseases for food security

November 27th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Fertiliser use, irrigation, mechanisation, and better agronomic practices will continue to play a big role in transforming agriculture, but farmers should be helped to grow pest resistant crops, herbicide resistant crops, and drought tolerant crops developed through modern biotechnology. Read …

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 …

DIY crop speed breeding to boost drought research

November 22nd, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) Senior Research Fellow Dr. Lee Hickey said that plant speed breeding could be part of the solution to minimize the devastating effects of drought and climate change on crops in the future. He added that the technique can enable researchers and plant …