In the news...

How food biotechnology is improving food security

July 27th, 2018 / Borgen Magazine

Food Biotechnology Improves Crop Yields and Growing Times
Advancements in food biotechnology such as genetic engineering and gene editing have allowed for the sequencing of various crop species like pearl millet. Pearl millet is commonly cultivated in sub-Saharan Africa, India and other South Asian countries and is commonly regarded as a …

Synchronised policies needed for biotech

July 26th, 2018 / The Land, Australia

The most recent data shows that in 2017, 189.8 million hectares of biotech/genetically modified (GM) crops were planted across 24 countries, and imported by 43 countries, according to industry organisation the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).
To date, growth in planted hectares has been largely confined …

European ruling could slow Africa’s push for CRISPR crops

July 26th, 2018 / Wired.com

Many European scientists cheered back in January when it seemed the court of the European Union would ease its restrictions on gene-editing technology in food. In a 15,000-word opinion, an advisor to the European Court of Justice suggested that gene-edited crops should not face the same stiff regulations as genetically …

Vitamin-infused sweet potato that helped cut Africa’s infant mortality 25 percent

July 24th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The 2016 World Food Prize went to a group that coordinated the breeding, promotion and distribution of the orange-fleshed sweet potato in Africa. One of [the researchers] on the team was economist Dr. Jan Low. The sweet potato grows well in many parts of Africa. It is not the sweet …

European court appears poised to rule that gene edited crops should not be regulated as GMOs

July 24th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Gene editing in agriculture takes centre stage [July 25th] when Europe’s highest court rules in a case that could determine the fate of the technology that is already making waves in the field of medicine.
The European Union has long restricted the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) widely adopted around …

Securing East Africa’s cassava

July 19th, 2018 / CGIAR

IITA is eliminating viruses from cassava germplasm so it can safely be transported from East Africa to Nigeria, where it’ll be conserved & made available to breeders & farmers. Read …

Crispr can speed up nature – and change how we grow food

July 18th, 2018 / Wired

It took thousands of years for humans to breed a pea-sized fruit into a beautiful beefsteak tomato. Now, with gene editing, scientists can change everything. Read …

Tanzania: device to fight cassava diseases launched

July 12th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

A new tool to fight cassava diseases using an artificially intelligent machine has been launched.
Nuru, as the device is known, has been developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in collaboration with the Pennsylvania State University of the United States.
The machine, according to the institute’s official, can accurately …

Genome editing in agriculture: methods, applications, and governance

July 12th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) released an Issue Paper titled Genome Editing in Agriculture: Methods, Applications, and Governance. CAST explains that genome editing is a powerful new method that enables unprecedented control over genetic material and offers the opportunity to make rapid advances that influence agricultural practices. …

Will Africa embrace CRISPR gene editing and the next phase of the biotech revolution?

July 12th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Scientists around the world are increasingly turning to the promise of CRISPR gene editing to tackle any number of problems facing humanity.
These efforts may have started in the US, Europe and Asia, but they have since spread to African nations. South African scientists are exploring the …