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Talking Biotech: What’s blocking GMO crop adoption in Africa?

April 26th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Outside of South Africa, Kenya was the first place in sub-Saharan Africa to do research and development of genetically engineered crops. This week’s Talking Biotech guest, professor Matthew Harsh from Concordia University in Montreal, lived in Kenya for a year while conducting sociological and ethnographic research. He interviewed scientists, policymakers, …

Malawi progresses GM crop trials

April 26th, 2017 / Alliance for Science, US

Bolstered by a solid and functional biosafety framework, Malawi is one of the few countries in Africa poised to move forward in commercializing genetically modified crops, with cotton, cowpea and banana now in field trials.
The Biosafety Act was passed in 2002, biosafety regulations in 2007 and the National Biotechnology and …

Traditional breeding alters maize composition more than stacking transgenic events

April 20th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Dow AgroSciences LLC researchers, led by Rod A. Herman, evaluated the impact of crossing (stacking) genetically modified (GM) events on maize grain biochemical composition and compared it with the impact caused by generating non-GM hybrids.
The compositional similarity of seven GM stacks containing event DAS-Ø15Ø7-1 was compared to their corresponding non-GM …

Study shows natural genetic engineering in grafted plants

April 13th, 2017 / IAAAS, US

Rutgers University researchers led by Pal Maliga reported that grafted plants exchange mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cells which contain their own genomes. Furthermore, when the whole mitochondria from one plant get into the cells of another, they combine their DNA with that of the existing mitochondria. These findings, published …

Genetically engineered microbes make their own fertiliser

April 11th, 2017 / Science, US

Industrial fertilizers help feed billions of people every year, but they remain beyond the reach of many of the world’s poorest farmers. Now, researchers have engineered microbes that, when added to soil, make fertilizer on demand, producing plants that grow 1.5 times larger than crops not exposed to the bugs …

Future of Agriculture in Africa: breeding orange-fleshed sweetpotato

April 11th, 2017 / International Potato Centre

On March 15, Dr. Robert Mwanga, one of the 2016 co-winners of the World Food Prize (WFP) contributed to a discussion on the Future of African Agriculture at the Planet Earth Institute (PEI) in London. Robert, a sweetpotato breeder at the International Potato Center (CIP) gave a presentation on progress …

Drought resistant, higher-yielding GM rice developed by Japanese researchers

April 10th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Scientists at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science have developed strains of rice that are resistant to drought in real-world situations. Published in Plant Biotechnology Journal, the study reports that transgenic rice modified with a gene from the Arabidopsis plant yield more rice than unmodified rice when subjected to …

Kenyan youth farmers call for adoption of WEMA BT maize

April 6th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Kenyan youth farmers have rallied behind researchers in urging government to allow commencement of National Performance Trials (NPTs) for the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) Bt maize. The farmers were speaking during the 2017 agri-biotech forum held at University of Embu, eastern Kenya on March 29-30, 2017.
While expressing his …

Why GMO crops need to be embraced

April 5th, 2017 / The Standard, Kenya

In the onset of a new system, persons who have benefited from the older systems often vehemently oppose change.
While this assertion by Niccolo Machiavelli is almost trite, we still painfully await a change of heart by our policy makers. This declaration applies to all fields, where the adoption of genetically …

New generation of GMO crops could dramatically increase yield

April 4th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Farmers could one day control when their crops ripen after the development of modified rice that flowers on demand.
Despite how advanced our agricultural technology has become, outdoor plants still develop according to the whims of nature — the gentle warmth of early summer sun, the soft patter of spring rains.
Japanese …