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Opposing ‘Golden Rice’ is anti-human

April 10th, 2018 / National Review, US

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if half a million destitute children could be saved each year from blindness and/or death from Vitamin A deficiency? Well, they can be by adding a simple GMO food to their diets known as “golden rice.”
Golden rice is not toxic. It does not genetically engineer, say, …

GMO crops can empower smallholder women farmers in Africa

April 9th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Efforts to get products of modern agricultural technologies, such as GM crops, into the hands of farmers have so far been stymied by the absence of an enabling national policy. Uganda’s National Biosafety Act, passed by Parliament in October 2017, was referred back to lawmakers by President Museveni, who cited …

New genomic tool searches wheat’s wild past to improve crops of the future

April 9th, 2018 / John Innes Centre, UK

A new genetic directory launched today will enable researchers and breeders to scan the genomes of wild relatives of modern wheat to find disease-fighting properties lost to domestication.
The time-travelling trawl is possible following the launch of Open Wild Wheat, a directory which includes the genetic sequences of 150 wild wheats …

Hybrid swarm of ‘mega-pests’ threatens crops worldwide, warn scientists

April 9th, 2018 / The Independent, UK

A pair of major agricultural pests have combined to produce a “mega-pest” that could threaten crops around the world.
Losses from the original pest species, cotton bollworms and corn earworms, already amounts to billions of dollars worth of food.
But a hybrid of the two, shows signs of rapidly developing …

Project using R&D is changing wheat farming in Africa

April 9th, 2018 / SciDev.net, UK

Wheat farmers in 12 African Countries – Benin Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are benefiting from a project aimed at increasing production and reducing demand gap of …

Kenyan maize farmers raise alarm as armyworms resurface

April 9th, 2018 / Xinhua, China

Kenyan maize farmers are set to go through another tough year as the fall armyworm strikes the crop again this season.
The pest, which was first detected in Kenya in March last year, contributed to decline in maize production, from over 40 million bags production a year to 32 million, according …

US gene-editing ruling delights plant scientists

April 9th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

Researchers in the US have been given the go-ahead to use gene-editing techniques to alter crops and plants. The decision opens the door for scientists to create a new generation of genetically altered crops without serious restriction and paves the way for approvals for similar work in Britain and the …

The USDA says Crispr-edited foods are just as safe as ones bred the old-fashioned way

April 4th, 2018 / Quartz

Last week the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it would no longer regulate crops that have been genetically edited.
Gene editing, which includes Crispr techniques, enables researchers and now farmers, to genetically nip and tuck the DNA of living things and sell them to consumers. This could mean …

Scientists examine threats to food security – even if we meet the Paris climate targets

April 4th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

We have delayed action for so long on handling climate change, we now can no longer can “will it happen?” Rather we have to ask “how bad will it be?” and “what can be done about it?” As our society thinks about what we should do to reduce our carbon …

GMO maize could halt devastating fall army worm invasion in Uganda—if it gets approved

April 4th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Mary Yangi trekked a long journey from South Sudan to Uganda’s West Nile region to settle as a refugee and, a few months later, into farming. Unlike others, who were reliant upon food rations from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the 59-year-old widow saw …