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Forests key to Africa ending water crises, meeting SDGs

August 8th, 2018 / SciDev.net

Despite the contribution of forests to water sustainability, scholars and researchers have rarely studied the linkages involving forests, climate change and water in Africa, a report, Forest and Water on a Changing Planet: Vulnerability, Adaptation and Governance Opportunities, says.
According to the report, about seven billion humans currently occupying the earth …

Let’s first ask what women scientists want

August 3rd, 2018 / SciDev.net

Contrary to stereotypes, women scientists often fare better in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) than they do in other parts of the world, says Rana Dajani, a biologist from Hashemite University in Jordan. Statistics from the OECD, from UNESCO and elsewhere show high percentages of women in scientific …

Securing East Africa’s cassava

August 1st, 2018 / CGIAR

Morag Ferguson is thrilled with the results of a recent genotyping study. It seems that the cassava landraces she has been working on from South, East and Central Africa are pretty unique. The genetic diversity maps show this specific group of landraces branching off clearly in isolation from the cassava …

Genetically modifying rice to produce HIV-neutralizing proteins

August 1st, 2018 / Phys.org

A team of researchers from Spain, the U.S. and the U.K. has genetically modified a strain of rice to produce HIV-neutralizing proteins. In their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes the technique by which they modified the rice and how it might …

GM crop ruling shows why the EU’s laws are wholly inadequate

July 30th, 2018 / The Conversation

We should assess new crop varieties on the traits they are supposed to deliver, not on how those traits were introduced. The system needs to be proportional and risk-based. This should of course include consideration of the unintended effects of whatever genetic improvement process was used. Instead we spend years …

Building research capacity for sustainable water and food security in drylands of sub-Saharan Africa

July 30th, 2018 / ReliefWeb

BRECcIA is an ambitious programme that aims to develop research capacity in institutions in three sub-Saharan countries.
Climate variability is a key feature of dryland ecosystems across sub-Saharan Africa, where rain-fed agriculture and pastoralism characterises local subsistence and is the mainstay of national economies. Demand for water and food from growing …

Africa’s collaborative biotech research bears fruit

July 27th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Dr. Priver Namanya adjusted her view in the microscope, trying to get a better image of the banana cells. Then a smile lit her face. After spending the day trying to ascertain that she had incorporated a vitamin A gene into the banana cells, she had achieved success.
Namanya, a plant …

How food biotechnology is improving food security

July 27th, 2018 / Borgen Magazine

Food Biotechnology Improves Crop Yields and Growing Times
Advancements in food biotechnology such as genetic engineering and gene editing have allowed for the sequencing of various crop species like pearl millet. Pearl millet is commonly cultivated in sub-Saharan Africa, India and other South Asian countries and is commonly regarded as a …

Synchronised policies needed for biotech

July 26th, 2018 / The Land, Australia

The most recent data shows that in 2017, 189.8 million hectares of biotech/genetically modified (GM) crops were planted across 24 countries, and imported by 43 countries, according to industry organisation the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).
To date, growth in planted hectares has been largely confined …

European ruling could slow Africa’s push for CRISPR crops

July 26th, 2018 / Wired.com

Many European scientists cheered back in January when it seemed the court of the European Union would ease its restrictions on gene-editing technology in food. In a 15,000-word opinion, an advisor to the European Court of Justice suggested that gene-edited crops should not face the same stiff regulations as genetically …