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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, …

Solving Africa’s food insecurity through biotechnology

June 7th, 2017 / The Tribune, Nigeria

There is an increasing focus on science being linked to providing practical solutions to agricultural problems. There is also increasing awareness of technology, although the channels used for information and creating change in the way information is passed and understood by the receiver are poorly developed.
Biotechnology is no …

Millets, sorghum, and grain legumes are foods of the future

June 6th, 2017 / Foodtank.com

The Smart Food Project is hoping to popularize nutrient-rich, drought-tolerant crops in an effort to diversify diets and ensure global food security. An initiative by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the Smart Food Project is promoting the consumption of sorghum, millets, and grain legumes like …

Biofortification: is it the next ‘Green Revolution’ for more nutritious food?

June 5th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Projects, US

The Green Revolution that began in the 1940s and 50s brought about large increases in crop yields and saved millions of people from mass famine. Yet malnutrition remains widely prevalent around the globe. And, while many people eat enough calories, many do not get enough nutrients.
Now, plant breeders and biotechnologists …

Video: Pest-resistant GE cowpeas could reduce pesticide use, increase yields of African staple

June 4th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Dr. TJ Higgins discusses a global effort to genetically engineer a pest-resistant variety of cowpea (black-eyed peas) that will help small-holder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa reduce pesticide use and enjoy higher yields of a crop that is an important source of protein for more than 200 million people. View …

Nitrogen-efficient crops on the horizon: Can we grow more with fewer emissions?

June 4th, 2017 / CGIR Wheat

Through a natural, affordable alternative to farmers’ heavy use of nitrogen fertilizers, science now offers an option to boost crop productivity and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the authors of a report that will appear this week in the journal Plant Science.
The new study describes certain plants that …

Tanzania: Monsanto targets GMO seeds factory

June 1st, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

MONSANTO Tanzania, the multinational agricultural biotechnology company, plans to open Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) seeds production facility in the country.
The firm revealed during the opening of its office in Njiro Industrial Area in Arusha yesterday after seeing GMO maize seeds demand increase.
The Monsanto African Regional Lead, Dr Gyanendra Shukla said …