Archive for 2018


USA - GM CROPS CAN OFFSET CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS

Source: Cornell Alliance for Science

New research suggests that the type of yield gains made possible by genetic engineering (GE) will be needed to offset climate change impacts on agriculture.

The researchers said their study, published yesterday in Environmental Research Letters, has “important implications for regions lagging in the adoption of new technologies which could help offset the detrimental effects of climate change.”

Though agricultural productivity in Africa and Asia is predicted to be heavily impacted by climate change, political leaders in those regions have been slow to adopt GE technology in the face of intense opposition driven primarily by western-funded anti-GMO activists.

However, this new study suggests that nations may not have the luxury of avoiding new technology if they want to ensure food security in a warming world.






AUS - GM COTTON THRIVES IN NORTHERN AUS

Source: ABC Landline

It’s being described as a possible game changer for farmers and even the pastoral industry in northern Australia — the resurgence of cotton.

The CSIRO has predicted that if 15,000 hectares of the crop were grown in the Ord region of the Kimberley, it would be worth $80 million.

If the same was done in Queensland, beef spin-offs would grow that figure to $340 million…

The turning point was the development of a genetically modified cotton variety called Bollard III in 2016.

It’s able to withstand the insects that can plague the northern wet season and was part of cotton’s demise last time.






SPAIN - DROUGHT RESISTANT PLANTS DEVELOPED

Source: phys.org

Extreme drought is one of the effects of climate change that is already occurring. This year, the decrease in rainfall and the abnormally hot temperatures in northern and eastern Europe have caused large losses in cereals and potato crops and in other horticultural species. Experts have long warned that to ensure food security, it is becoming necessary to use plant varieties that are productive in drought conditions. Now, a team led by the researcher at the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) Ana Caño-Delgado has obtained plants with increased drought resistance by modifying the signaling of plant steroid hormones known as brassinosteroids. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, is the first to find a strategy to increase hydric stress resistance without affecting overall plant growth.






USA - USDA APPROVES EDIBLE COTTON

Source: The Scientist

The US Department of Agriculture has announced it would deregulate a strain of cotton that university researchers had genetically engineered to carry low levels of poisonous gossypol in its seeds. The idea is that the modified cotton’s seeds could be grown for food.

Cotton is known for its white fibers that can be woven into soft fabrics. But for every pound of fluffy, white lint, the plant produces 1.6 pounds of peanut-size seeds. Those seeds contain high levels of gossypol, which protects the plant against pests and disease but makes cotton seeds inedible.

Texas A&M University’s Keerti Rathore and colleagues inserted DNA into the cotton plant to turn off the gene responsible for producing gossypol in the seeds. The genetically engineered strain still has protective levels of gossypol in its shoots and leaves, but reduced amounts in its oil- and protein-rich seeds, which could potentially be eaten by humans, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement.






INT - PROJECT UNDERWAY TO MAP EVERY PLANT, ANIMAL, FUNGUS GENOME

Source: The Guardian

An ambitious international project to sequence the DNA of every known animal, plant and fungus in the world over the next 10 years has been launched.

Described as “the next moonshot for biology”, the Earth BioGenome Project is expected to cost $4.7bn (£3.6bn) and involve reading the genomes of 1.5m species.

“Having the roadmap, the blueprints … will be a tremendous resource for new discoveries, understanding the rules of life, how evolution works, new approaches for the conservation of rare and endangered species, and … new resources for researchers in agricultural and medical fields,” said Prof Harris Lewin of the University of California, Davis.






AUS - SCIENCE BEHIND GM “NEEDS PROMOTION”

Social licence still a GM canola issue

Source: Farm Weekly (WA) – 16 September 2018

The WA agriculture industry must do more to promote the science behind genetically modified (GM) produce to ensure the technology realises its potential in the State’s grain industry.

That was one of the key messages taken home by Australia’s grain industry leaders who heard multiple presentations on the successes, developments and future prospects for GM technology from world-leading scientists at the 2018 AusCanola conference in Perth last week…






AUS - ACADEMY OF SCIENCE SETS AMBITIOUS FUTURE PLAN

Australia’s agriscience future
Australian Academy of Science, Communique – 13 September 2018
Leaders from Australia’s science and innovation sector met in Canberra today to discuss an ambitious vision for Australia’s rural research and innovation system over the coming decade. Participants included CropLife Australia, CSIRO and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.






AUS - SA LABOR SUPPORTS GM BAN REVIEW

Labor supports move to review GM moratorium

Source: Shadow Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Eddie Hughes MP, Media Release

EddieHughes_LaborSA_GMMoratorium_MR  – 14 September 2018

Labor supports a decision to review South Australia’s genetically modified crop moratorium – which is in place to 2025.

Shadow Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Eddie Hughes said the independent review should focus on the economic impact of lifting the moratorium.

Mr Hughes said policy should be guided by the best available evidence – both scientific and economic and the Marshall Government must reinvest in public research and development, in order to help our primary producers to thrive.






AUS - SA GOVT ANNOUNCES GM BAN REVIEW

Globally recognised agriculture policy analyst to lead independent review of GM moratorium

Minister for Primary Industries and Regions SA, Tim Whetsone MP, Media Release– 14 September 2018

Source: http://pir.sa.gov.au/alerts_news_events/news/primary_industries/globally_recognised_agriculture_policy_analyst_to_lead_independent_review_of_gm_moratorium

Experienced economist and agriculture policy analyst emeritus professor Kym Anderson AC has been appointed to undertake an independent review of the genetically modified food crops moratorium in South Australia. The state government is delivering on a pledge to commence a high-level independent review of the state’s GM moratorium within six months of forming government.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the independent review will evaluate the benefits and costs to the South Australian economy and our agricultural industries of the GM moratorium.“The former Labor Government rushed through a six-year extension to the GM moratorium prior to the election without any consultation,” said Minister Whetstone.

“There was no attempt by Labor to assess whether the moratorium was good or bad for the economy or our grains and agricultural industries.






AUS - ANALYSIS SHOWS THERE ARE NO PRICE PREMIUMS UNDER THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN GM CROP MORATORIUM

A report titled ‘Analysis of price premiums under the South Australian GM moratorium’ released today provides clear facts and evidence that the moratorium on genetically modified (GM) crops in South Australia does not deliver price premiums to any farmer in the state and if repealed, would not cause any loss to non-GM farmers.

The report by independent expert market analysts Mecardo, commissioned by the Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia (ABCA) and Grain Producers South Australia, has been released to provide facts and evidence on the presumed trade and marketing premiums achieved by farmers through the South Australian ban on GM crops in what to date has been a discussion based on hearsay and anecdotes.

To download your copy of the report ‘Analysis of price premiums under the South Australian GM moratorium’ visit www.abca.com.au

See also ABCA’s media release