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Pioneering biologists create a new crop through genome editing

October 3rd, 2018 / Phys.org

Crops such as wheat and maize have undergone a breeding process lasting thousands of years, in the course of which mankind has gradually modified the properties of wild plants into highly cultivated variants. One motive was higher yields. A side effect of this breeding has been a reduction in genetic …

Hybrid maize resists lethal necrosis

September 26th, 2018 / Daily Nation, Kenya

The disease can destroy entire harvests and is thus a severe food security risk.
A centralised maize lethal necrosis disease screening facility established in Naivasha five years ago has released 15 disease-resistant hybrid maize varieties in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
After screening more than 150,000 maize germplasms, the team validated genomic regions …

Gene drive wipes out lab mosquitoes

September 26th, 2018 / The Scientist

No females were produced after eight generations, causing the population to collapse.
A gene drive has successfully caused the collapse of a malaria-carrying mosquito population in the lab, researches report today (September 24) in Nature Biotechnology. This is the first time a gene drive—a genetic element that ensures its own inheritance—has …

GMO controversy is a political debate, not a food safety issue, farmers say

September 25th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

According to a recent article in the New York Times, most consumers don’t know or realize that for decades they have been consuming foods that have been developed through bioengineering including crossbreeding, irradiating, and chemically inducing gene mutations to achieve desired characteristics. Read …

UCC develops high yielding drought and disease resilient cowpea varieties

September 24th, 2018 / Ghana News Agency

A team of researchers from the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, University of Cape Coast (UCC) has developed eight different varieties of cowpea as part of its “Cowpea Project”.
The varieties, which are more drought and disease resilient and high yielding are expected to be released to seed production companies …

Gene-edited cassava could help millions of farmers

September 24th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Based on the breathless coverage of CRISPR genome editing technology thus far—the famed patent dispute, the overhyped promises of designer babies, the fears of urban biohackers gone mad—you’d be forgiven for thinking that CRISPR is a first-world solution for first-world problems. Indeed, the first CRISPR product to make it out …

Making African agriculture more attractive for investors

September 24th, 2018 / African Business

While global population growth slows, Africa’s population is set to double over the next three decades, reaching around 2.2bn people by 2050.
This surge in numbers will have significant ramifications for the continent’s food security, which is already under pressure mainly due to climate change. The good news is that Africa’s …

An overview of agriculture, nutrition and fortification, supplementation and biofortification

September 24th, 2018 / Agriculture & Food Security

Alan Dubock writes:
The worlds growing population and limited land resources require high intensity of food production. Human nutrition needs both macronutrients and micronutrients. One way of providing micronutrients in staple crops of the poor is biofortification, through plant breeding. All methods of plant breeding are acceptable and safe, and …

As the battle against climate change intensifies, farmers find relief in agricultural innovations

September 20th, 2018 / Medium.com

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) just released its 2018 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report. Two alarming facts immediately stand out.
First, for the third straight year — and after a long period of decline — the number of undernourished people in the world has …

New technologies key to reforming Africa’s agriculture sector

September 17th, 2018 / Africa Times

Can drones save sub-Saharan Africa from starvation?
That’s the question being asked by scientists, engineers, climatologists and politicians as climate change radically alters weather patterns and temperatures on the African continent, posing new challenges to a sector that is being asked to feed a rapidly growing population while simultaneously adapting to …