In the news...

Are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) a blessing or a curse?

August 30th, 2018 / Life Science Leader, US

Back in March of this year, a reader of Life Science Leader magazine submitted the above question for our popular monthly Ask The Board column. Started in our February 2011 issue, the column enables readers to submit questions, which are then posed to a member of Life Science Leader’s editorial …

Seeking medicine from the plants of Uganda

August 28th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Researchers have long looked to the plants of our world to solve many of the medical problems we face. But new technologies are rapidly opening new opportunities for those scientists.
And while much of those efforts are taking place in the US, Europe and China, that doesn’t …

Rice genes could be key to stemming nitrogen pollution

August 28th, 2018 / Scientific American

Rice, wheat and other grains that have been bred to produce larger harvests using less land have been critical to feeding Earth’s population in the past 50 years. But these crops come with a significant cost: Their thirst for the chemical nutrients in fertilizer contributes to pollution that threatens air, …

High yielding drought resistant bean variety that matures in two months is ready for market

August 28th, 2018 / FarmBiz Africa

Bean farmers in Kenya can now harvest up to 600kg per acre in just two months, thanks to a new high yielding variety dubbed Kenya Mali or KAT SW-12 launched in the market two years ago.
Kenya Mali, which was bred by researchers from the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization …

Teff love – Ethiopia’s staple crop requires a big push

August 23rd, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

Can an Ethiopian farmer benefit from the global export of this gluten-free supergrain without jeopardizing domestic consumption?
Not too long ago, teff, a gluten-free, nutrient-rich, 3,000-year-old grain native to Ethiopia, made international headlines when the world woke up to the potential of this poppy-sized wonder, instantly terming it as the next …

Europe’s decision to reject gene edited crops signals it is losing its commitment to sustainable agriculture

August 21st, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

At the same time as Swedish agriculture is affected by the worst drought in recent memory, the European Court of Justice has made a decisive decision that will have far-reaching consequences for Swedish agriculture beyond this hot summer. [On July 25th], it was decided that crops in which targeted mutations …

Wheat gene map to help ‘feed the world’

August 17th, 2018 / BBC

The starting pistol has been fired in a race to develop “climate change resistant” wheat with the publication of a map of the crop’s genes.
An international team of scientists has identified the location of more than 100,000 wheat genes.
The researchers say the map will accelerate the development of new strains …

USDA unveils new gene-stacking tool to prevent plant diseases

August 16th, 2018 / The Scientist

If climate change is the new normal, farmers in some regions of the world will have to get used to fighting mold and mildew. For wheat growers in particular, fungal blights are already a big problem—and only expected to worsen as weather patterns change. Fungal pathogens are advancing northwards at …

Trait-based regulation of GM plants is on the horizon – at last!

August 16th, 2018 / Agri-Pulse

Evan Pugh Professor Emerita and Penn State University Senior Science Advisor Nina Fedoroff writes:
We are now able to modify plants with exquisite precision to make use of the enormous fund of molecular and physiological knowledge about them accumulated over the past century. Taking apart the regulatory thicket will make …

African baobab tree big business

August 9th, 2018 / Africa News

Coca-Cola’s Innocent, U.K. yogurt maker Yeo Valley and U.S. wholesaler Costco are among the major brands to sell baobab products. The transformation has started to bring in much needed revenue to African farmers.
Through a cooperative called GIE, Baobab des Saveurs, a small company with buyers in Australia and Canada pays …