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Viewpoint: Activist myth-making, anti-science lobbying undermine Uganda’s path to food security

September 20th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

At the end of August, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni rejected for the second time a proposed biosafety bill that would have granted farmers access to  genetically engineered (GE) crops. Summing up his skepticism of the legislation, Museveni argued in a letter to parliament that

[S]cientific inventions may cause harm to humans and that, this …

Tomato jumping genes could help speed-breed drought resistant crops

September 19th, 2019 / ISAAA, US

Researchers from the University of Cambridge’s Sainsbury Laboratory (SLCU) and Department of Plant Sciences have discovered that drought stress can trigger the activity of a family of jumping genes (Rider retrotransposons) previously known to contribute to fruit shape and color in tomatoes. Their research revealed that the Rider family is also present and …

Wild wheat genetics offer climate hope for food crops

September 19th, 2019 / BBC, UK

Wild relatives of food crops, such as wheat, host an abundant array of genetic material to help the plants cope with a changing climate.

In a study over 28 years showed that populations of wild wheat accumulated “beneficial mutations” such as a tolerance to temperature increases.

Researchers say the results improve our …

Inducible CRISPR-Cas9 improves the precision of genome editing in rice

September 19th, 2019 / ISAAA, US

DNA delivery into tissue cultures is a simple method for expressing CRISPR-Cas9 and creating genome edits in the plants. This approach, however, allows strong doses of CRISPR-Cas9 to persist far beyond the incidence of targeting i.e. until genetic segregation of the Cas9 gene.

Although precision is an inherent quality of CRISPR-Cas9, the strong persistent doses in numerous cells throughout the …

World must transform food production or face unrest, scientists warn

September 18th, 2019 / The East African, Kenya

The world must diversify its food production and consumption, or face damaging supply disruptions that could lead to suffering and social unrest, scientists warned on Monday.

A new global study found the health and environmental benefits of transforming the way we farm would outweigh heavily the cost of doing so, with …

Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda utilize Kenya’s biotech research, while nation still bans GMOs

September 18th, 2019 / Business Daily Africa

Countries like Ethiopia, Nigeria and Rwanda are increasingly using Kenya’s biotechnology research findings to guide their food security plans as strict laws discourage GMO crops at home.

The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) scientists said Kenya has become a testing ground for technologies that end up benefiting other nations.

They …

Kenya launches Pan African research initiative to boost climate smart farming

September 17th, 2019 / China.org.cn

Kenya has launched a Pan African initiative to train the next generation of scientists who will support ongoing efforts to boost climate resilient farming in the world’s second-largest continent.

Kenya-based Africa Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) in partnership with foundations inaugurated the first cohort of African scientists who will …

Ban on GM technology, biggest obstacle to food security, scientists say

September 16th, 2019 / KBC, Kenya

The Kenyan government should embrace the use of biotechnology in order to boost food security.

According to scientists, the ban of Genetically Modified (GM) technology imposed in the country in 2012 has been the biggest obstacle to food sustainability.

The scientists have for the last ten years been carrying out successful Confined …

SATI gene editing could replace CRISPR

September 13th, 2019 / News – Medical, Life Sciences, UK

The ability to edit genes within living cells and organisms at all levels, using tools like the well-known and powerful CRISPR-Cas9, is one of the most sophisticated and useful advances in modern biology. However, the technique has been limited by a myriad of safety concerns.

Now, scientists at the Salk Institute …

Sequenced pea genome aids effort to improve global nutrition, boost sustainable farming

September 13th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

An international team of researchers has assembled the first genome of the field pea, providing insight into how Mendel’s original genetic model evolved and help future improvements of the crop. The study, published in Nature Genetics, has important implications for global nutrition and sustainability of crops. Pea is the second most important grain …