In poor parts of the world, people may rely on a single staple crop to meet a substantial proportion of their energy requirements. Many denizens of Africa rely on cassava. The trouble with cassava, however, is that it is nutrient-poor. Partially as a result, iron and zinc deficiencies are common in Africa. Iron deficiency results in anemia, zinc deficiency in susceptibility to death by diarrhea, and each is also associated with impaired cognitive development. Breeding better varieties of cassava that absorb and store more of these nutrients is made difficult by a lack of genetic diversity. So, scientists have turned to biotechnology.
Archive for 2019
Source: Genetic Literacy Project
Genetically engineered (GE) crops producing insecticidal proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) (mainly Cry proteins) have become a major control tactic for a number of key lepidopteran and coleopteran pests, mainly in maize, cotton, and soybean.…Over the past 20+ years, extensive experience and insight have been gained through laboratory and field-based studies of the non-target effects of crops producing Cry proteins. Overall, the vast majority of studies demonstrates that the insecticidal proteins deployed today cause no unintended adverse effects to natural enemies.
Source: The Land
Fake news from powerful lobbies is thwarting the urgent access producers need to gene technologies to adapt to drought, flood and the myriad of other challenges climate change is throwing forward. This was the message delivered at a workshop of global economists and researchers dealing with agricultural and food policy, held in Melbourne. Dr Alison Van Eenennaam, from the University of California, said fear mongering around gene technologies was a far larger hindrance to the take-up of critical farming innovation than slow producer adoption.
Source: Farm Online
A move by the Greens in Western Australia to bring in legislation protecting farmers in the wake of contamination by GM crops, is unlikely to progress. A parliamentary inquiry in WA found the current mechanisms in place to deal with compensation claims for farmers who believe they have suffered economic loss caused by contamination by genetically modified material are adequate.
Source: Genetic Literacy Project
New disclosure requirements finalized by USDA for biotech foods will mandate the use of the term “bioengineered” while providing a key exemption for ingredients such as vegetable oils, sugar and other foods where the genetically altered DNA of the GMO crop can’t be detected. The requirements, which will be enforced starting in 2022, also will exempt foods that contain as much as 5 percent of a bioengineered ingredient that the manufacturer can prove was sourced as non-GMO. USDA released two symbols for bioengineered foods that companies can use on labels. One symbol is for products on which disclosure is required, while the other is for companies that want to label ingredients that are otherwise exempt from the rules. The symbols can be used in full color or black-and-white display.
For more, see: USDA Press Release
Source: BBC News
Scientists in the US have engineered tobacco plants that can grow up to 40% larger than normal in field trials. The researchers say they have found a way of overcoming natural restrictions in the process of photosynthesis that limit crop productivity. They believe the method could be used to significantly boost yields from important crops. The study has been published in the journal Science. The team is now hoping to use these findings to boost the yields of soybean, rice, potato and tomato plants. The research is being funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and the UK’s Department for International Development.