In the news...

Popular rice variety gets extra gene power to fight bacterial attacks

June 27th, 2018 / The Hindu, India

Researchers at the Hyderabad-based Indian Institute of Rice Research have developed a new variety of the popular Improved Samba Mahsuri (ISM) rice that can resist bacterial blight disease.
Bacterial blight disease, which affects rice crop, is caused by bacteria, Xanthomonas oryzae, and drastically reduces rice productivity.
The high yielding ISM variety is …

Biofortification’s growing global reach

June 21st, 2018 / Harvest Plus

The diets of more than two billion people lack essential vitamins and minerals, making them vulnerable to disease and disability. But as our latest crop map shows, the global effort to end this hidden hunger is gaining momentum, thanks to hundreds of partners around the world.
To date, more than 290 …

GE rice transports micronutrients more efficiently

June 14th, 2018 / ISAAA

Researchers from ETH Zurich led by Navreet Bhullar from the Institute of Molecular Plant Biology have genetically modified (GM) one of the most commonly grown varieties of rice. The ETH researchers developed rice lines with iron increases equaling more than 90% of the recommended iron content and up to 170% …

Golden Rice meets food safety standards in three global leading regulatory agencies

May 30th, 2018 / IRRI

GR2E Golden Rice, a provitamin-A biofortified rice variety, completed its third positive food safety evaluation, this time from the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA). In an official response received by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on 24 May (EST), the US FDA concurred with IRRI’s assessment …

CRISPR-edited rice plants produce major boost in grain yield

May 29th, 2018 / Purdue Agricultural News

A team of scientists from Purdue University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has used CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology to develop a variety of rice that produces 25-31 percent more grain and would have been virtually impossible to create through traditional breeding methods.
The team, led by Jian-Kang Zhu, a distinguished professor …

New menacing cassava pest identified in West and Central Africa

May 25th, 2018 / African Science News

A new pest—southern armyworm, Spodoptera eridania (Stoll)—has been discovered in West and Central Africa!
Originating from the tropical regions of the Americas the fall armyworm (FAW) adult has a remarkable capacity for long distance migration and high female fertility. Its crop-destroying caterpillars can cause serious damage to maize but also to …

Rice, a potential for wealth creation

May 17th, 2018 / Front Page Africa

President George Manneh Weah of Liberia celebrated his first 100 days in office this week amid massive employment and increasing crime wave across the country. The new president has yet to share his plan for his first 100 days in office and beyond.
As the nation’s majority poor look forward to …

How rice became one of the world’s most important food crops

April 24th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project

Rice is a world food staple with an incredible story. Susan McCouch from Cornell University has been studying rice genetics for decades, and directs efforts in rice education in conjunction with the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. This episode of the Talking Biotech podcast features stories about rice …

Breakthrough in battle against rice blast

March 28th, 2018 / University of Exeter, UK

Scientists have found a way to stop the spread of rice blast, a fungus that destroys up to 30% of the world’s rice crop each year.
An international team led by the University of Exeter showed that chemical genetic inhibition of a single protein in the fungus stops it spreading inside …

Revolutionizing breeding programmes

March 27th, 2018 / Leadership, Nigeria

Cassava is one of the most important staple crops in sub-Saharan Africa, yet it stands out from other crops in many ways.
In some ways, cassava may seem an unlikely focus for a flagship project: typically considered a “poor man’s crop” and under-researched, it is the fourth most consumed staple in …