In the news...

A new breed of edits

December 14th, 2015 / Nature, UK

Genome editing allows much smaller changes to be made to DNA compared with conventional genetic engineering. In terms of agriculture, this might win over public and regulator opinion. Genome editing offers both subtlety and speed, wherever in the genome a researcher wants to target. The speed comes from the technologies’ …

Project embeds young African climate researchers

December 1st, 2015 / SciDev.net, UK

Back in the 1980s, African scientists contributed less than two per cent of the papers in global climate change publications. This dire situation remained the same for almost 30 years. Climate models and growing evidence suggest Africa is likely to feel some of the worst impacts of climate change. …

Namulonge releases new maize, cassava varieties

December 1st, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports: The National Crop Resources Research Institute in Namulonge (NaCCRI), the maize varieties recently released are Naro Maize-03, Naro Maize-56, Naro Maize-57. These are high yielding hybrids to address the problems of diseases and declining soil fertility. Dr Michael Otim, the head of the cereals …

Coffee, Big Ag & why demonizing GE is counterproductive

December 1st, 2015 / Biology Fortified, US

Meet the scientist, Dr Nir Oksenberg: “I think it is important for people to understand that we are not just trying to make a bunch of GMOs and hope one works. We spend years, sometimes decades, studying these plants. We don’t just want to make a plant better and …

Seeds without borders – using and sharing plant genetic diversity

November 27th, 2015 / AllAfrica.com

11 African countries gathered last week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to implement seed sharing and use for climate change adaptation, food security and poverty alleviation. No single country has all the genetic resources it needs to adapt to global challenges of climate change, food security and poverty alleviation – …

Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation save farmers maize disease headache

November 27th, 2015 / Mediamax, Kenya

I have been on a two-week break and I am back to continue preaching the biotechnology gospel — at times to the chagrin of some — but then last week’s announcement on a breakthrough in the fight against the deadly Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND) by our eminent scientists, …

CSIR-SARI evaluates herbicides on GM cotton varieties

November 23rd, 2015 / Ghanaweb.com

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI) has begun undertaking a confined field research on the performance of Roundup Ready herbicides on cotton varieties being cultivated in the country. Dr Emmanuel Chamba, Principal Investigator at CSIR-SARI, who is the Lead Researcher on the programme, …

Enhancing the biotechnology of crops with microbials

November 19th, 2015 / Country Guide, Canada

B4FA Fellow, Abdallah el-Kurebe reports: When the word “biotech” first leapt onto the agri-food scene, there were plenty of proponents and opponents for the science of implanting different genes into corns, soybean and canola genetics. The first Bt hybrids offered yield advantages, and the early days of glyphosate-tolerant soybeans saw …

How modern biotechnology can create 25 000 jobs

November 19th, 2015 / NewsDiary Online, Nigeria

B4FA Fellow, Abdallah el-Kurebe reports: Nigeria Federal Government’s (FG) determination to diversify the economy as a result of the challenges in the oil sector has set it to develop immutable strategies that would ensure the creation of, at least, 25,000 jobs annually from the biotechnology sector. A statement by the …

Is biotechnology “natural”? Depends how you define “nature”

November 16th, 2015 / Mapping Ignorance

Silvia Román writes “… we are heading towards the bio-based society, a new way of interacting with the environment where fossil fuels won’t be needed anymore and “more natural” processes for producing energy, food and materials will prevail. This bio-turn often involves highly advanced biotechnology and strict competitive targets, both …