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Kenyan scientists find new striga resistance genes in wild sorghum

November 9th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Wild sorghum will soon provide a reservoir for resistance genes against Striga. A research team lead by Dr. Steven Runo of the Plant Transformation Laboratory (PTL) at Kenyatta University and Professor Michael Timko of University of Virginia has identified three wild sorghum accessions resistant to Striga hermonthica (witchweed), a parasitic …

CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome editing of cassava

November 9th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

CRISPR-Cas9 has proved to be a powerful genome-editing tool for introducing genetic changes into crop species. However, it has not yet been used to edit cassava (Manihot esculenta). To test the capacity of CRISPR-Cas9 in cassava, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center researcher John Odipio and his team targeted the …

Gene silencing could control disease, contamination in wheat and other crops

November 5th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Fusarium graminearum is a major fungal pathogen of cereals worldwide, causing seedling, stem base and floral diseases, including Fusarium Head Blight (FHB). In addition to yield and quality losses, FHB contaminates cereal grain with mycotoxins, including deoxynivalenol (DON), which are harmful to human, animal and ecosystem health. Currently, FHB control …

Scientists engineer cowpea to produce Bt protein against raruca pod borer

November 2nd, 2017 / ISAAA, US

In a report in Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture (PCTOC), scientists have engineered cowpea — one of the most important sources of vegetable protein for rural families in Sub-Saharan Africa — to produce a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) protein, which protects against the Maruca pod borer that plagues the crop. …

Scientists develop groundnut resistant to aflatoxin

November 2nd, 2017 / Phys.org

Scientists at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, in St. Louis, MO and their collaborators at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Louisiana State University have made a significant research breakthrough by suppressing the aflatoxin-producing fungus …

Viewpoint: Why GMO crops are planet’s best ecological choice

November 1st, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Food insecurity and malnutrition are serious concerns across the globe. Over 796 million people out of a total 7.3 billion population are suffering from chronic undernourishment. And millions lose their lives due to inadequate consumption of basic nutrients. One of the major challenges before the food and agricultural industry is …

Will CRISPR-Cas kick start a new Green Revolution?

November 1st, 2017 / Agprofessional.com

CRISPR-Cas was called molecular scissors during a panel at the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium. That’s much easier than saying the full name: Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats and CRISPR-associated protein. The system, however, may be worth all the syllables.
CRISPR-associated protein 9, or Cas9, works like a search function in …

Farm experts take stock to tackle food security in Nigeria

October 30th, 2017 / Premium Times, Nigeria

Farm experts drawn from the diverse field of the country’s agricultural value chain rose from a two-day meeting, at the Reiz continental hotel Abuja, on Tuesday, hearing how a German development initiative, the Green Innovations Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector in Nigeria, has trained over 27,000 farmers and …

Cowpea protected from a devastating pest, free for smallholder farmers

October 27th, 2017 / Science Magazine, US

Across Africa, armies of hungry caterpillars destroy the flowers and pods of cowpeas; casualties can reach 80 percent of this staple food crop if no measures are taken. But the real victims are smallholder African farmers who feed their families on farms smaller than five acres. Next year, they will …

SA scientist’s maize weevil control breakthrough

October 27th, 2017 / Farmers Weekly, South Africa

Maize is the most widely grown grain variety in the world, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. It is a vital staple food for primarily lower income groups, especially in Africa, and is grown on both a subsistence and large commercial scale.
Pests therefore pose a serious threat …