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Agricultural universities need greater investment

November 25th, 2019 / University World News

Urgent and considerable investment is needed if African agricultural and life sciences universities are to reach their potential, according to Professor Adipala Ekwamu, executive secretary of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM).

Speaking to University World News ahead of the 15th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting (AGM) taking place at the University …

CRISPR, disease-sensing technologies could yield a ‘cornucopia’ of healthier, tastier foods

November 25th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Consumers may soon begin purchasing fun-sized fruits and vegetables, as well as processed foods that incorporate healthier ingredients …. And producers may be able to grow crops that are drought- and flood-tolerant, yield more per acre, and are easier to harvest and transport—and are tastier, more nutritious, and less allergenic, …

Key steps in curbing aflatoxin in maize

November 25th, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Aflatoxin is a fungal polyketide secondary metabolite caused by two main fungi; Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, both of which produce four types of aflatoxins; aflatoxin B1, B2, G1 and G2. Aflatoxin B1 is the most common and can be carcinogenic if the toxicity level exceeds the set thresholds. 

Maize is …

Will following the regulatory script for GMOs promote public acceptance of gene-edited crops?

November 21st, 2019 / Science and Society

Risk-disproportionate regulation of gene-edited crops has been proposed to gain public acceptance for this breeding technique. However, confounding safety regulations with advocacy for an underlying technology risks weakening achievement of both objectives. Dedicated factual communication and education from trusted sources is likely to better support public acceptance of gene-edited crops. …

GM foods: the battle for Africa

November 21st, 2019 / Africa Business Magazine

A combination of climate change, population growth and regional conflict has created the worst food crisis across Africa since 1945, according to aid agency World Relief.

In 2018, the African countries suffering the worst food shortages due to declining harvests driven by drought were, in order of severity, Democratic Republic of Congo, …

Leaked document suggests EU may relax its strict CRISPR-edited crop regulations

November 19th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The European Commission plans to create specific legislation to facilitate the production of genetically edited crops, following the July 2018 European Court of Justice decision that gene-edited crops should be regulated as GMOs. The Community Executive is considering developing a “new framework appropriate to the new genomic techniques”, as it …

GMO technology is in Uganda’s interests

November 18th, 2019 / PML Daily

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:

We should remember that Modern biotechnology is not only about Genetic Modification (GMO) or Genetic Engineering (GE) which the Parliamentary Forum for Ethics and Integrity seems to be vehemently opposed to. Nor is it, really, about ethics and integrity.

Biotechnology is described by scientists as a …

Redesigning photosynthesis in key crops could help sustain global food production

November 15th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Scientists have solved the structure of one of the key components of photosynthesis, a discovery that could lead to photosynthesis being ‘redesigned’ to achieve higher yields and meet urgent food security needs.

The study, led by the University of Sheffield and published [Nov. 13] in the journal Nature, reveals the structure of cytochrome b6f …

New gene-edited canola variety resists deadly disease, expected to drastically boost crop yields

November 15th, 2019 / ISAAA, US

Three new traits for canola, which can increase crop yields and reduce harmful environmental impacts, has been developed by Cibus, a biotechnology company that has pioneered precision gene editing for agriculture. The new traits pertain to pod shatter, resistance to Sclerotinia, and weed control.

The new traits precisely edit the canola genome to reduce pod shatter, the tendency …

Scientists develop biodegradable plastic from cassava starch

November 14th, 2019 / SciDev.net

A team of scientists in Brazil has developed a biodegradable plastic that could be used for food packaging or carrier bags, by applying ozone gas to cassava starch.

The ozone (O3) gas changes the molecular properties of the starch from the root vegetable to produce a bioplastic 30 per cent tougher than those …