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Researchers learn from plant viruses to protect crops

February 6th, 2018 / The Scientist, Canada

In recent years, however, scientists have turned to inventive new ways to protect crops. Genetic modification techniques developed over the last 30 years, for example, can arm plants with defenses against viral invasion, while leaving crop yields and food quality unaffected. Some of these modified plants are now in the …

Nigeria’s biosafety agency, activist clash over safety of GMOs

February 5th, 2018 / Premium Times, Nigeria

The disagreement between the National Biosafety Management Agency and anti-GMO campaigners over the safety of genetically modified foods took a new twist Wednesday with the agency accusing the activists of being “unpatriotic.”
Specifically calling out the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), a nongovernmental organization at the forefront of the campaign …

Uganda: Improving breeds to enhance food production

February 5th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Breeding agricultural products for improvement is not a recent technology because scientists in the entire globe have been doing it over a long period of time mainly for purposes of improvement for the benefit of farmers and consumers.
This started with mankind domesticating crops and animals from …

Nigeria: National Biosafety Management Agency committed to safe use of GMOs

February 2nd, 2018 / Independent, Nigeria

The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) says it is committed to ensuring the safe use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Nigeria.
The Director-General of NBMA, Dr Rufus Ebegba, gave the assurance on Wednesday in a statement signed by Mrs Gloria Ogbaki, the agency’s Head of Press in Abuja.
He said that …

Genetic engineering, CRISPR and food: What the ‘revolution’ will bring in the near future

February 2nd, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Humankind is on the verge of a genetic revolution that holds great promise and potential. It will change the ways food is grown, medicine is produced, animals are altered and will give rise to new ways of producing plastics, biofuels and chemicals.
Many object to the genetic revolution, insisting we should …

Kenya: agricultural stakeholders to market potato as the food of choice

February 1st, 2018 / FarmBiz Africa

Agricultural stakeholders led by the Kenya Health Plant Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) are set to market and promote the growing of potatoes in Kenya as a food of choice to enhance food security.
Potato marketing will be done through potato field days set to be organized by all stakeholders in the potato …

Mozambique: battling to save the world’s bananas

February 1st, 2018 / BBC, UK

Could the banana, the world’s most exported fruit and the source of nutrients for millions of people, be at risk of extinction?
Visiting the Matanuska banana plantation is not easy these days. After a two-hour drive from the nearest city in northern Mozambique, visitors who make it to the farm are …

‘Wild’ genes open up opportunities for healthier, climate-smart rice

January 31st, 2018 / International Rice Research Institute

The genome sequencing of seven wild rice varieties has finally been completed. This breakthrough is expected to provide opportunities for breeders worldwide in developing better rice varieties that will respond to the changing needs of the farmers and the consumers.
This discovery is outlined in the article Genomes of 13 domesticated …

Understanding GMOs: genetic engineering and the future of coffee

January 31st, 2018 / Daily Coffee News

Studies suggest that by 2050, climate change will impact more than half the land currently used for coffee cultivation, creating conditions unsuitable for production. While climate change is difficult to predict, the scientific community agrees the future outlook for coffee production is dire unless immediate action is taken. The response …

Why the genome of wheat is so massive

January 30th, 2018 / The Economist, UK

It has over five times as much DNA as the human genome!
THE domestication of wheat and other staple crops in the Levant some 10,000 years ago allowed for persistent settlement above a level of mere subsistence—one possible definition of the beginning of civilisation. Early farmers grew naturally occurring hybrids of …