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Can we separate science from agriculture?

November 14th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
It is a big paradox that our leaders are talking passionately about training scientists and raising science teachers’ salaries and at the same time being slow to accept new scientific ideas even when they are meant to boost the country’s agricultural output, the economy, and food …

Africa: making agriculture ‘cool’ … for youth

November 14th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

At every conference she has attended on the youth, Nawsheen Hosenally has been frustrated to hear that agriculture is not ‘cool’. The 29-year-old graduate in agricultural extension and information systems knew she wanted to do something to redeem the image of agriculture among young people.
So the Mauritian and her Burkanibe, …

DNA project to decode ‘all complex life’ on Earth

November 14th, 2018 / BBC, UK

A mission to sequence the genome of every known animal, plant, fungus and protozoan – a group of single-celled organisms – is underway.
The Earth BioGenome Project (EBP) has been described as a “moonshot for biology”. A key aim is to use the information in efforts to conserve threatened species. Scientists …

Edible GM cotton could supply protein to 600 million people daily

November 13th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

It turns out cotton seed is a great source of protein, except it’s currently toxic for humans. Cotton naturally produces gossypol, which is essentially an insecticide. While that helps the plant fight off insects, it also makes it poisonous to humans and most animals. But scientists at Texas A&M University …

Small genetic differences turn plants into better teams

November 13th, 2018 / Science Daily

The ongoing worldwide loss of biological diversity is one of the most pressing challenges humankind currently faces. Biodiversity is vital to humans not least because it supports ecosystem services such as the provision of clean water and the production of biomass and food. Many experiments have shown that diverse communities …

Are GMO critics more open to gene editing that targets plant and human diseases?

November 12th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The early generations of transgenic plants focused primarily on increasing productivity, either by reducing pest damage or increasing yields by minimizing the impact of weeds. These have met with fierce opposition from anti-GMO groups and some government quarters (such as Green Party members in European parliaments).
But transgenics and other modifications …

Scientists use potato wild relatives to produce climate-resilient varieties

November 12th, 2018 / International Potato Center

As millions of small-scale farmers struggle with the effects of climate change, scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) are using wild potatoes to develop climate-resilient varieties. The resulting potatoes combine heat and drought tolerance with resistance to the most important diseases affecting potato crops, late blight and bacterial wilt, …

Safeguarding food security with plant health

November 9th, 2018 / International Potato Centre

By the year 2050, the global population is estimated to exceed 9 billion. We will need to feed more people with fewer resources while addressing the challenges posed by climate change. An expected side-effect of rising temperatures is a population boom of the insects and diseases that threaten agricultural productivity. …

Researchers shine a light into the mechanisms of potato late blight infection

November 8th, 2018 / James Hutton Institute, UK

Scientists at the James Hutton Institute, in collaboration with colleagues of the University of Dundee, Huazhong Agricultural University, Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (both China) and Wageningen University (Netherlands), have shed further light into the mechanisms through which the potato blight pathogen interacts with plant cells to promote disease.
Late blight …

Large NMBU project on seed security

November 7th, 2018 / Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Farmers’ access to seeds is the focus of a new project ‘Access to seeds: From emergencies to seed system development’, led by Ola Westengen and funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN).
Seeds are vital for food security and are a fundamental asset for the majority of rural communities in …