Archive for September, 2021


NIGERIA - GROWERS ACCESS GM COWPEA

Source: Cosmos Magazine – https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/agriculture/gm-cowpea-crop-planted-in-nigeria/

After decades of research, Nigeria’s farmers are growing a GM version of their staple legume that will help millions combat hunger and poverty. Cowpea is a hardy legume, well adapted to the dry conditions and poor soils of the tropical savannah. But while handed down the generations from farmer to farmer, it had been left behind by the breeding programs that dramatically improved the yield of staples like rice, corn or wheat.

Improving cowpea has long been the holy grail for Nigerian plant breeders.

[Article includes the vital role CSIRO scientist and ABCA’s Expert Scientific Panel Chair, Dr TJ Higgins played in the process].


AUS - GENE TECH & ANIMALS LAGGING

Source: Queensland Country Life – https://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/7393836/gene-tech-could-end-chick-culling-and-stop-african-swine-flu-deaths/?cs=4704

Using gene technology in livestock is brimming with potential, from using warthog genes to stop African swine flu killing pigs to ending the need to cull male chicks.

For more than a decade, the cropping sector has benefited from gene technology, which has been used to make species more drought or pest resistant, or more resistant to certain pesticides.

But using the same technology in animals is still in its infancy. …That could soon change, as researchers explore the practical applications of the technology and government policy slowly shifts.


INT - CLIMATE CHANGE TO IMPACT AG DISEASES

Source: Nature World Newshttps://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/46990/20210806/climate-change-may-have-had-an-effect-on-the-rise-of-agricultural-diseases.htm

According to a recent study, climate change will raise the burden of agricultural diseases in some areas of the world while decreasing it in others.

Crop disease effect is expected to decrease in tropical places such as Brazil, Sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Southeast Asia as the globe warms.

Disease risk will increase at higher latitudes (far from the equator), with Europe and China “especially vulnerable.”


INT - BIOTECH KEY TO ZERO HUNGER GOAL

Source: Genetic Literacy Project – https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2021/08/13/biotechnology-is-key-to-meeting-uns-goal-of-zero-hunger-worldwide-by-2030/

Agricultural biotechnology is a crucial tool for transforming global food systems to meet the United Nation’s goal of ensuring zero hunger by 2030, say some scientists, academics and civil society representatives.

Evidence abounds that biotechnology has had a positive overall impact on agriculture in the areas where it has been employed, they say. If adopted more widely across the globe, it could be instrumental in meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2, which aims to end world hunger, boost nutrition and support agricultural sustainability within the next nine years.

“GMO technology is working for farmers,” observed Arif Hossain, CEO of Farming Future Bangladesh. He cited the six-fold increase in income that farmers in Bangladesh have earned as a result of growing Bt eggplant, an important food crop genetically modified to resist the destructive fruit and shoot borer pest without the application of insecticides.


AUS - GM BANANA BREAKTHROUGH

Source: Fresh Plaza – https://www.freshplaza.com/article/9344136/breakthrough-in-the-tests-of-the-first-transgenic-cavendish-banana-plants-with-resistance-to-fusarium/

The trials conducted by a group of researchers at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, offer promising results in the search for Cavendish banana plants resistant to Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense Tropical race 4 (TR4).

The researchers designed several lines of genetically modified Cavendish bananas with resistance to this fungus and, after a 3-year field test carried out in lands heavily infested with TR4, they concluded that a Cavendish line transformed with a gene taken from a wild banana grew completely free of TR4, while three other lines showed partial resistance.


AUS - JCU TO MODIFY WORMS FOR TROOPS

Source: ABC Far North – https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-29/genetically-modify-worms-for-us-miltary-james-cook-uni/100331756

The US government was interested in working with Professor Loukas and James Cook University to improve troops’ protection against biological and chemical weapons. It has granted the university’s Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine $US2.5 million, across five years, to create parasitic worms that can internally protect personnel through constant secretion of antibodies.

Professor Loukas says the project is at its very start, but early evidence suggests a process of genetic engineering could be possible.


USA - GM SALMON PRODUCTION BOOST

Source: Fish Farmerhttps://www.fishfarmermagazine.com/news/aquabounty-announces-new-site-for-gmo-salmon/

US-based GMO salmon farmer AquaBounty has selected an appropriately named venue for its first full scale site – Pioneer, Ohio.AquaBounty’s AquAdvantage fish are the first GMO (genetically modified organism) salmon in commercial production.

The new farm represents an important milestone for the company. It will be AquaBounty’s first large-scale commercial facility, with a planned annual production capacity of 10,000 metric tons – approximately eight times the size of its existing farm in Albany, Indiana, which has an annual production capacity of 1,200 metric tons.


INT - STEM RUST FUNGUS GENE IDENTIFIED

Source: Crop Biotech Update – www.isaaa.org/kc/cropbiotechupdate/article/default.asp?ID=18918

Researchers from CSIRO, together with 2Blades Foundation, reported a gene in the stem rust fungus that triggers resistance in the host plant, providing a clue for scientists to develop disease-resistant wheat varieties. Their findings are published in Nature Plants.

Wheat is one of the most important crops globally and provides about 20 percent of calories and protein for human nutrition. Stem rust, a virulent wheat disease caused by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici (Pgt), has become a major threat to wheat crops in Africa and other regions.

With the recent research findings, researchers and wheat breeders will have additional insights for the introduction of multiple resistance genes into wheat. This strategy has been initiated by CSIRO and 2Blades Foundation. A proof-of-concept study has been conducted showing the efficacy of gene stacking of five cloned resistance genes to combat wheat stem rust.


PHILIPPINES - GM EGGPLANT APPROVED

Source: Crop Biotech Updatehttps://www.isaaa.org/kc/cropbiotechupdate/article/default.asp?ID=18917

Genetically engineered eggplant known as Bt eggplant has been approved for food or feed consumption by the Philippine Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI).

Bt eggplant event EE-1 is resistant to eggplant fruit and shoot borer, the most destructive pest of eggplant. It was developed by experts from the Institute of Plant Breeding of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, making it the first Filipino biotech product.

A commercial planting approval is necessary before farmers in the Philippines can avail themselves of the benefits of the Bt crop. These benefits include less dependence and exposure to insecticides, improved marketable yield, better income, and peace of mind for farmers.


PHILIPPINES - FIRST TO APPROVE ‘GOLDEN RICE’ FOR CULTIVATION

Source: IRRIhttps://www.irri.org/news-and-events/news/philippines-becomes-first-country-approve-nutrient-enriched-golden-rice

Filipino farmers will become the first in the world to be able to cultivate a variety of rice enriched with nutrients to help reduce childhood malnutrition, after receiving the green light from regulators. Golden Rice was developed by the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) in partnership with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to contain additional levels of beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A.


NIGERIA - NITROGEN-EFFICIENT GM RICE

Source: Cornell Alliance for Sciencehttps://geneticliteracyproject.org/2021/07/15/nigeria-moves-forward-with-nitrogen-efficient-gmo-rice/

Still basking in the euphoria of commercializing sub-Saharan Africa’s first genetically modified (GM) food crop — insect-resistant cowpea —Nigeria has begun moving toward the environmental release of an improved GM rice. Nigerian scientists and their counterparts in other African countries are currently meeting in Abuja to begin compiling a dossier for a national performance trial on the high-yielding nitrogen-efficient, water-efficient, salt-tolerant (NEWEST) rice.

The completed dossier will be sent to the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), which regulates the country’s GM products.


AUS - CALLS TO ADVANCE GENE EDITING

Source: Farm Weeklyhttps://www.farmweekly.com.au/story/7319361/calls-to-advance-debate-on-gene-editing/

A project which aims to build the capacity for small exporters in Australia to exploit new breeding technologies (NBT) was the focus of a webinar hosted by Murdoch University and the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications last month…

The webinar attracted 632 participants from more than 40 countries, who tuned in to learn about the forward looking project, which primarily aims to enable the Australian grains and horticultural industries to be first-movers in applying NBT, such as SDN-1, to crop improvement.