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What everyone should know about cut-and-paste genetics

December 1st, 2015 / Nature, UK

The ethics of human-genome editing is in the spotlight again as a large international meeting on the topic is poised to kick off in Washington DC. Ahead of the summit, which is being jointly organized by the US National Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Medicine, the …

Tanzania gives farmers U.S.$36 million for inputs and improved seeds

December 1st, 2015 / AllAfrica.com

Tanzania has disbursed 2,999,778 vouchers for agriculture inputs worth $36.4 million (Tsh78.1 billion) to 999,993 farmers on the mainland so as to prepare for the new agricultural season 2015/2016. “The input subsidy vouchers have benefited many farmers of maize and rice crops by increasing production of these crops and …

Budget squeeze for South Africa’s Agricultural Research Council amid drought

December 1st, 2015 / AllAfrica.com

The Agricultural Research Council (ARC), one of South Africa’s key weapons in the fight against the current drought, has seen its net surplus decline by 300% during 2014/2015. While still in the black the ARC has experienced a 300% decrease in its surplus from R137m to R34m for the …

Project embeds young African climate researchers

December 1st, 2015 / SciDev.net, UK

Back in the 1980s, African scientists contributed less than two per cent of the papers in global climate change publications. This dire situation remained the same for almost 30 years. Climate models and growing evidence suggest Africa is likely to feel some of the worst impacts of climate change. …

Coffee, Big Ag & why demonizing GE is counterproductive

December 1st, 2015 / Biology Fortified, US

Meet the scientist, Dr Nir Oksenberg: “I think it is important for people to understand that we are not just trying to make a bunch of GMOs and hope one works. We spend years, sometimes decades, studying these plants. We don’t just want to make a plant better and …

Seeds without borders – using and sharing plant genetic diversity

November 27th, 2015 / AllAfrica.com

11 African countries gathered last week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to implement seed sharing and use for climate change adaptation, food security and poverty alleviation. No single country has all the genetic resources it needs to adapt to global challenges of climate change, food security and poverty alleviation – …

B4FA Week in Review – 25 November 2015

November 25th, 2015 / B4FA.org

As governments prepare for the UNFCCC climate conference, which starts in Paris in just a few days, headlines abound with stories about how wayward climate patterns are set to affect many – and already are. A World Bank report states climate change could push 100 million people back into poverty …

We need a voluntary international agreement to protect soil

November 24th, 2015 / Nature, UK

The history now being written in the world’s soils is not so rosy. Every year, 75 billion tonnes of crop soil are lost worldwide to erosion by wind and water, and through agriculture; this costs about US$400 billion a year3. Only a few countries have national legislation protecting soil, …

Aflatoxins poisoning health and trade in sub-Saharan Africa

November 23rd, 2015 / AllAfrica.com

Aflatoxin contamination is a growing threat to trade, food and health security in sub-Saharan Africa, where smallholder farmers are challenged by food production and now climate change. Aflatoxins are toxic and cancer causing poisons produced by certain green mould fungus that naturally occurs in the soil. The poisons have …

Sequencing date palm genomes could lead to drought, disease resistant varieties

November 20th, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

A a team of scientists has found the genetic mutation responsible for the red or yellow colour of the sugary date fruit. The discovery is part of the ongoing 100 dates! gene sequencing project at NYUAD. Thanks to a three-year collaboration between researchers in the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Syria, …