In the news...

Use of CRISPR systems in plant genome editing: toward new opportunities in agriculture

November 21st, 2017 / Emerging Topics in Life Sciences, UK

Initially discovered in bacteria and archaea, CRISPR–Cas9 is an adaptive immune system found in prokaryotes. In 2012, scientists found a way to use it as a genome editing tool. In 2013, its application in plants was successfully achieved. This breakthrough has opened up many new opportunities for researchers, including the …

African seed body backs use of genetically engineered seeds

November 21st, 2017 / Xinhua, China

A continental seed body on Friday supported the coexistence of genetically modified (GMO) seeds and conventional ones.
The Secretary General of African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA) Justin Rakotoarisaona said farmers stand to benefit greatly once they embrace modern agricultural tools.
“The use of improved GMO seeds is poised to make inroads into …

GM banana shows promise against deadly fungus strain

November 20th, 2017 / Science, US

A field trial in Australia has shown that genetically modified banana trees can resist the deadly fungus that causes Panama disease, which has devastated banana crops in Asia, Africa, and Australia and is a major threat for banana growers in the Americas. The transgenic plants might reach some farmers in …

FAO launches new Climate-Smart Agriculture web platform

November 15th, 2017 / Reliefweb

To help steer our food systems in a sustainable direction, FAO has produced a new sourcebook for how to implement “climate-smart” approaches to agriculture, launched today at the Agriculture Action Day on the sidelines of the COP23 climate summit in Bonn.
“Hunger, poverty, and climate can be tackled together through approaches …

Increased food production and reduced water use through optimized crop distribution

November 14th, 2017 / Nature Geoscience, UK

Growing demand for agricultural commodities for food, fuel and other uses is expected to be met through an intensification of production on lands that are currently under cultivation. Intensification typically entails investments in modern technology — such as irrigation or fertilizers — and increases in cropping frequency in regions suitable …

Wheat leaf disease, a potential threat

November 14th, 2017 / Farmers' Weekly, South Africa

Outbreaks of a previously unknown wheat leaf disease have been reported in South Africa, which could have a serious impact on food security and sustainable wheat production in the country.
The disease involved severe discolouration of wheat leaves and, according to Dr Tarekegn Terefe, senior researcher at ARC-Small Grain in Bethlehem, …

Long-term study finds that the glyphosate does NOT cause cancer

November 13th, 2017 / The Scientist, US

A new study has found no conclusive link between exposure to glyphosate—the main ingredient in a popular weedkiller—and cancer.
The new study, which was seen by Reuters, draws on long-term data collected through the Agricultural Health Study. This has monitored the health of nearly 90,000 people in Iowa and North Carolina …

GMO potatoes provide improved Vitamin A and E profiles

November 10th, 2017 / Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, US

Genetically modified crops have had no shortage of controversy over the years, much of it rooted in fear and the general lack of fundamental scientific knowledge. Yet researchers have pushed forward in developing crops that could help boost basic nutritional requirements for developing nations that rely heavily on foods that …

Farmers opt for GM cowpea?

November 10th, 2017 / News Ghana

Some farmers in Nyakpala in the Northern Region have opted for Biotech (Bt) Cowpea or Genetically Modified (GM) Cowpea, due its ability to withstand the most deadly pests that destroy cowpea in the area.
The farmers say they witnessed high yields due to the strength of the Bt Cowpea against the …

Kenyan scientists find new striga resistance genes in wild sorghum

November 9th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Wild sorghum will soon provide a reservoir for resistance genes against Striga. A research team lead by Dr. Steven Runo of the Plant Transformation Laboratory (PTL) at Kenyatta University and Professor Michael Timko of University of Virginia has identified three wild sorghum accessions resistant to Striga hermonthica (witchweed), a parasitic …