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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. …

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 …

VIDEO: CRISPR Technology and Its Potential to Transform Agriculture

November 15th, 2019 / FAO

Genetic tools like CRISPR can help reduce pesticide use, pollution and boost food production without employing more land and water, natural resources increasingly strained by the growing food demand of expanding populations in the developing world. View video of the panel …

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 …

Let’s trust African scientists in war on hunger

November 13th, 2019 / Business Daily Africa

In the West, daily, people are asking themselves, “What will I eat today?” But in my home, Africa, people daily are asking themselves a more challenging question: “Will I eat today?”

In reflecting on the second question, I have concluded that it is time for the public to put their trust …

Microbes living in plant roots fight off fungal infection, cutting need for pesticides, study shows

November 7th, 2019

Micro-organisms living inside plant roots team up to boost the plant’s growth and tolerance to stress. An international research team led by the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and Wageningen UR reports its discovery in …. the scientific journal Science.

Certain species of ‘resident’ bacteria can protect plant roots against fungal infections. …

A crop that feeds billions freed from blight by CRISPR

November 6th, 2019

Bacteria that infect rice are thwarted by changes to rice genes involved in sugar transport.

Genome editing has made one of the world’s most important crops resistant to a devastating bacterial infection.

Bacterial blight, which is caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pathovar oryzae (Xoo), can slash farmers’ yields of rice, which is a staple food for billions …