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Five popular foods genetically modified by humans–before GMOs

February 8th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to eat a completely “natural” diet? Well, for starters, you wouldn’t be able to eat any of the crops developed through conventional breeding methods. That means virtually every fruit and vegetable in your local supermarket, because they have been genetically modified …

The unfortunate sex life of the banana

February 7th, 2017 / DamnInteresting, US

The banana is a freakish and fragile genetic mutant; one that has survived through the centuries due to the sustained application of selective breeding by diligent humans. Indeed, the “miraculous” banana is far from being a no-strings-attached gift from nature. Its cheerful appearance hides a fatal flaw— one that threatens …

A coffee renaissance is brewing, and thanks to genetics

February 1st, 2017 / Wired, US

Genes are the future of coffee. Not nitro cold brewing or beans pooped out by civets, but genes. And coffee’s gene-fueled future just drew nearer, now that scientists have sequenced the genome of the Coffea arabica coffee plant—the species that makes up the vast majority of global production—and made the …

Why shortage of seed potato is an investment opportunity

January 27th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Potato production in Uganda is constrained by lack of inputs namely fertilisers, pesticides and clean seed amongst others.
Most potato producers in Kigezi region are subsistence farmers characterised by poor farming methods, which include use of poor quality inputs. For example, over 90 per cent use poor quality recycled seeds. …

How to grow more cassava

January 26th, 2017 / The Conversation, UK

Cassava is one of the most efficient producers of carbohydrates and energy among all food crops. It can produce more than 250,000 calories per hectare per day, compared to 176,000 for rice, 110,000 for wheat and 200,000 for corn.
But despite its widespread consumption, cassava yields have not improved in a …

How GM crops can help us to feed a fast-growing world

January 25th, 2017 / The Conversation, UK

The United Nations forecasts global population to rise to more than 9 billion people by 2050. Climate change may mean that the crops we depend on now may no longer be suited to the areas where they are currently cultivated and may increasingly be threatened by droughts, floods and the …

Answering the 3 Most Common Internet Objections to GMOs

January 25th, 2017 / GMO Building Blocks

Any discussion of GMOs on the internet brings a swarm of commenters. No matter the topic, an inevitable pattern of comment is “Yes, but what the author ignores is (insert common anti-GMO myth)”. Here are three of the most common tropes that litter those discussions. See …

Genetic diversity-the pillar to food security and agricultural productivity

January 23rd, 2017 / Ghana Web

Population expansion coupled with urbanisation of fertile agricultural lands together with modernisation in every aspect of human daily activities which create biodiversity are getting eroded in direct and indirect ways. Deforestation, land degradation, coastal development as well as environmental stress collectively lead to large scale extinction of plant species, more …

Addressing GMO concerns (3): big Ag won’t let farmers save seeds

January 23rd, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

This is the third article in a three-part series exploring some common concerns heard about GMOs.
There is some odd and fuzzy-headed thinking that asserts that crop breeding should be exempt from intellectual property protection. Often expressed as “Nobody should be able patent life”. There is a certain emotional appeal that …

Make agriculture biotechnology accessible to the public

January 20th, 2017 / Nature Genetics, UK

The benefits of putting a set of variation and selection lines back into the hands of farmers and the gardening public would go beyond creating a social license to operate for gene technologies. There are many ques- tions about local growth conditions and consumer preference that could be crowdsourced for …