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Can CRISPR gene editing provide hardier, more nutritious, better tasting crops?

June 15th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Using CRISPR to add—or remove—a plant trait is faster, more precise, easier, and in most cases cheaper than either traditional breeding techniques or older genetic engineering methods.
Although scientists can use CRISPR to add genes from other species to a plant, many labs are working to exploit the vast diversity of …

Using genetics to reduce greenhouse gases from cows

June 15th, 2017 / Wired, US

Bovine livestock are responsible for about 9.5 percent of global greenhouse gas output, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Farmers are trying to reduce those emissions with lots of different strategies, starting with their diets. Researchers have tried adding flaxseed oil, garlic, juniper berries, and …

Rising opportunities for youth in African agrifood systems

June 14th, 2017 / World Bank, US

Africa’s share of the global population is projected to rise dramatically from 12% in 2015 to 23% by 2050. This huge demographic trend will certainly amplify Africa’s political and economic impact on the rest of the world, and this impact will largely be determined by young Africans between 15-35 years …

The enormous challenge of sustainably feeding an expanding population

June 14th, 2017 / GMO Answers

Dr Esther Ngumbi writes: According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. This presents an enormous challenge and necessitates the need to find sustainable ways to grow food to feed this expanding population.
Just like the challenge is …

Kenya: govt commits Sh300 million to fight spread of army worms

June 13th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

The government has committed Sh300 million to fight the spread of army worms, which have been detected in Nyeri, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma and Uasin Gishu counties.
The funds will go towards the management of the pest which if not controlled, can cause a 100 per cent loss of crops.
According to the …

Africa: food insecurity strains deepen amid civil conflict and drought

June 12th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

Large agricultural harvests in some regions of the world are buoying global food supply conditions, but protracted fighting and unrest are increasing the ranks of the displaced and hungry elsewhere, according to the new edition of FAO’s Crop Prospects and Food Situation report.
Some 37 countries, 28 of which are in …

Please say no to the term ‘GMO’

June 12th, 2017 / AGDaily

In science and medicine the terminology applied can be the difference between life and death, success and failure. Words have precise meanings, and a productive dialogue in the sciences requires adherence to a common set of mutually recognized terms. Shared meaning is like a verbal handshake that ensures a positive …

Scientists discover plant ‘brain’ controlling seed development

June 9th, 2017 / Phys.org

A new study by scientists at the University of Birmingham has revealed a group of cells that function as a ‘brain’ for plant embryos, capable of assessing environmental conditions and dictating when seeds will germinate.
A plant’s decision about when to germinate is one of the most important it will make …

Q&A: Boosting bioenergy in Africa and Latin America

June 9th, 2017 / SciDev.net, UK

To find out why scientists are so optimistic about biofuel production in the developing world, SciDev.Net spoke with Glaucia Mendes Souza, researcher at the Chemistry Institute of the University of São Paulo.
Souza is also coordinator of the Bioenergy Research Program at the Brazilian research foundation FAPESP, and co-editor of …

Tanzanian farmers urge gov’t to hasten delivery of GE crops

June 8th, 2017 / ISAAA

Farmers in Mwanza Province, North Eastern Tanzania have urged their government to hasten delivery of biotech crops, which they say, may save them from crop failure. The maize, cassava, and cotton farmers whose crop has been severely affected by stalk borer pests, cassava mosaic disease and African cotton bollworm respectively, …