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Is this $13 billion food security crisis (the armyworm) an opportunity?

October 26th, 2017 / Motley Fool

A few years ago, engineered biology conglomerate Intrexon (NYSE:XON) acquired a pioneering company called Oxitec. While there are plenty of whacky technology platforms in next-generation biotech, the start-up’s technical niche still caught many people off guard: genetically engineered insects incapable of passing their genes on to the next generation.
The sudden …

Danforth researchers use CRISPR to gene-edit cassava

October 26th, 2017 / St Louis Public Radio, US

To prove that a new-gene editing technology could be used to alter the cassava plant, scientists in the St. Louis suburbs zeroed in on a gene used to process chlorophyll. Before long, they had petri dishes full of seedlings that were white as chalk.
The plan is to use CRISPR — …

Disease resistant potato field tests show positive results

October 25th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Ugandan scientists are positive that GM potatoes will be commercially available in their country in 2020.
According to Dr. Alex Barekye, Director of Kachwekano Zonal Agriculture Research Institute, research on disease resistant potato is underway. So far, three trials of Victoria potato variety have been conducted and the performance of the …

Revolutionising the way we build food and nutrition security in Africa

October 25th, 2017 / BizCommunity

Research focusing on traditional crops that are often ignored and known as “orphan crops” shows they contain minerals and vitamins that are essential for the body and are mostly consumed by rural African people. Various agricultural research institutions in Africa are currently carrying out research on these crops mainly to …

‘Supercharging’ rice with maize gene increases yields by 50 per cent

October 25th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

To improve photosynthesis in rice and increase crop yields, scientists working on the Oxford University-led C4 Rice Project have, by introducing a single maize gene to the plant, moved towards ‘supercharging’ rice to the level of more efficient crops.
Rice uses the C3 photosynthetic pathway, which in hot, dry environments is …

Peptides could revolutionise how food is grown

October 25th, 2017 / ABC News, Australia

Scientists say the discovery of a group of hormones in plants could revolutionise food production by improving yields.
The Universities of Queensland and Sydney collaborated on the study, which has found about 130 CLE peptide hormones in legumes that were essential to growth and development.
Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Integrative …

GMO debate needs more innovation, not scientific consensus

October 16th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Wouldn’t it be better to continue to work on the technology, refine it, produce further benefits and advance the knowledge and understanding of biotech? The new breeding techniques, the incredible developments (like the Innate potato or the Bt brinjal), the challenges met with impressive solutions … these are things we …

Nigeria bio-safety chief defends GMOs

October 16th, 2017 / Premium Times, Nigeria

Despite the criticism that has trailed the used of Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs, Nigeria’s bio-safety chief has defended the use of such crops.
Rufus Egbegba, who heads the National Bio-safety Management Agency, NBMA, said GMOs are the same conventional crops but improved versions for the purpose of sustainability and improved yields.
Rufus …

Pearl millet genes hold key to climate-proof cereals

October 16th, 2017 / SciDev.net

The key to breeding heat- and drought-tolerant rice, maize and wheat may lie in the ‘waxy biosynthesis’ genes of a related cereal, the pearl millet, according to a study by an international team of scientists.
In a study published in September in Nature Biotechnology, the scientists show the potential use of …

… on B4FA.org

October 14th, 2017

New on B4FA.org:
Blog: Brachiaria, the homecoming of African pasture grasses, Brachiaria grasses, which originated primarily from natural grasslands in Africa, do not look particularly remarkable. Yet these forage species for feeding farm animals are the most widely used in the tropics. Because Brachiaria is adapted to acidic, low-fertility soils and is much more …