In the news...

Scientists identify molecular conductors that help plants respond to drought

November 9th, 2016 / ISAAA, US

A new study conducted at the Salk Institute found molecular conductors that help plants respond to stress such as drought and salinity. The study suggests that during environmental stresses, a small group of proteins acts as conductors to manage the complex responses of plants to stress. See …

Developing country universities beginning to develop GM crops

November 8th, 2016 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

… It is interesting that large developing countries, like China, India, Brazil and Argentina, and others of less magnitude, like Bangladesh, Philippines and socialist Cuba, as well as 14 African countries, are investing heavily in the development of GM crops with public funds through public agencies or state-companies to solve …

Morocco launches action plan to fight devastating climate change

November 8th, 2016 / The Guardian, UK

Morocco is using the COP22 conference to formally launch its “Adaptation of African Agriculture” (AAA) initiative. As food security becomes increasingly challenged by erratic weather patterns, the initiative proposes measures such as improved soil management, water and irrigation management and better weather forecasting and insurance programmes for farmers affected by …

What the New York Times missed with its big GMO story

November 8th, 2016 / Grist, US

… GMOs really aren’t all associated with industrial farming. The disease-resistant papaya is a wonderful innovation. The insect-resistant eggplant seems to be reducing pesticide use in Bangladesh. This banana, this cassava, and this rice could all truly improve the lives of small farmers if those new crops make it over …

Cassava brown streak virus has a crazy fast evolutionary rate

November 7th, 2016 / Computational Biology for Sustainable Agriculture

Cassava is a major staple food for about 800 million people in the tropics and sub-tropical regions of the world. Production of cassava is significantly hampered by cassava brown streak disease (CBSD), which is caused by Cassava brown streak virus (CBSV) and Ugandan cassava brown streak virus (UCBSV). The disease …

Unsung Heroes – reversing neglect

November 7th, 2016 / Claudia Canales, B4FA

The third of our periodic blogs which discuss food security, with a specific focus on how plant genetic research might contribute to addressing the challenge of feeding a fast-growing global population in increasingly uncertain climatic conditions.
Achieving food security is a complex problem that goes far beyond just producing more food. …

COP22: a defining moment for Africa’s climate movement

November 4th, 2016 / AfricanBrains, Kenya

Prone to relentless weather changes and warming up significantly over the last decades, Africa has been exposed to droughts and floods that severely affect agricultural productivity, escalating water and food insecurity. By 2030, water stress-related conflicts will increase and spread across the region. As hunger continues to be a reality …

Science needs to start speaking to people’s everyday lives in Africa

November 3rd, 2016 / The Conversation, UK

There have been wide-ranging reactions from the scientific community after a South African university student called for “Western” science to be eradicated.
The young woman argued that science “is a product of western modernity” and suggested that decolonisation would begin with the introduction of “knowledge that is produced by us, that …

The New York Times front-page screw-up on GMOs

November 3rd, 2016 / Forbes Magazine, US

The New York Times has a “thing” about the genetic engineering of plants—the same sort of thing that Creationists have about Darwinism. An article that Hakim and his researchers should have read is, “GM Crops: Global Socio-economic and Environmental Impacts 1996-2014, The New York Times has a “thing” about the …

GMOs … the debate and the science

November 2nd, 2016 / B4FA

On 29 October, the New York Times published “Doubts about the promised bounty of GM crops” (reproduced below), a critique of GM that has prompted a flurry of responses from the scientific community. These include, thus far, plant scientist Andrew Kniss’s “Strawmen and selective statistics: Did The New York Times …