Archive for 2022


EU - COUNTRIES MOVE ON GENE EDITING DESPITE EU’S RESTRICTIVE POLICIES

Source: Genetic Literacy Project – 28 March 2022

Great Britain has already decided to take the first steps, as has Switzerland: dealing with simple genome-edited plants will be made easier. The strict genetic engineering laws should no longer be the sole benchmark.

The EU is also working on a reform. What it should look like is unclear, but it is already highly controversial – and it will take years. Many countries on all continents have long since made progress.


USA - GENE-EDITED COW APPROVAL

Source: Alliance for Science – 29 March 2022

Though the technology behind genetic modification has been around since the 1980s, the lineup of genetically modified (GM) food animals has been limited to just one fast-growing fish and a hypoallergenic pig.

This month, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the first GM bovines — two slick-coated, heat-tolerant cows — a nod. The news met little fanfare, though the regulatory process that Recombinetics pursued for the gene-edited animals was streamlined compared to what the pioneering salmon and pig went through.

…What allowed them to stampede their way through review, while the salmon treaded water? The answer is simple and logical. The gene required to give cows a slick coat came entirely from other cows and could have been introduced via breeding — albeit much, much, much more slowly.


AUS - GM SAFFLOWER DEMAND GROWING

Source: ABC Rural – 23 March 2022

Global demand for palm and crude oil alternatives combined with concern about Ukraine’s oilseed crop production this season has significantly increased demand for Australian grown high oleic safflower oil…

Melbourne-based bio lubricant developer GO Resources has been developing an Australian safflower crop, with varieties bred using genetic modification to have ‘super high’ levels of oleic acid, ranging between 92 to 95 per cent. 


AUS - SPEED BREEDING FOR MANGO AND MACADAMIA CROPS

Source: Food and Beverage Industry News – 18 March 2022

Dr Stephanie Kerr from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has been awarded funding for two research projects on speed breeding new mango and macadamia crop varieties that protect from pests, disease and climate change. 

Kerr received $22,000 from Hort Innovation to investigate genetic techniques to speed up flowering of mango and macadamia trees. She also received the $22,000 Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia’s Award to test findings by speed breeding macadamia trees. …

Through her research, Kerr will test novel transformation technologies that influence the gene expression for flowering to help speed up development of elite mango and macadamia tree crop cultivars. 


NIGERIA - GM COWPEA IN HIGH DEMAND

Source: Cornell Alliance for Science – 22 February 2022

Nigeria’s private local seed companies are expanding production of genetically modified (GM) cowpea seeds to supply farmers eager to grow the pest-resistant crop.

Farmers faced a widespread shortage of the now commercially available GM cowpea seeds last year as strong demand for the variety outstripped supply.  The crop increases yields, while slashing the need for pesticides. As a result, farmers earn higher profits while reducing the environmental and health impacts associated with pesticides.


EU - GM CROPS COULD SLASH EMISSIONS

Source: Alliance for Science – 24 February 2022

Though Europe has long rejected genetically modified crops, a new study suggests their adoption could significantly boost yields and slash climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

Wider adoption of the already-existing GM crops in the European Union could result in a reduction equivalent to 7.5 percent of the total agricultural GHG emissions of Europe, researchers observe in a new paper published in Trends in Plant Science.


AUS - NITROGEN-EFFICIENT BARLEY IN PIPELINE

Source: Farm Weekly – 14 February 2022

New barley varieties with significantly improved nitrogen efficiency to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions are on the horizon, as a result of advances made by a Western Australian research collaboration…

The nitrogen content of the new barley lines was up to 50 per cent higher at half the nitrogen rate, when compared with the control varieties in glasshouse trials, while grain yields increased by up to 30pc under typical nitrogen fertiliser application rates


INT - GENE TECH RESEARCH TO CONTROL FALL ARMYWORM

Source: Cornell Alliance for Science – 02 February 2022

Genetically modified insects offer a sustainable solution for controlling fall armyworm, a devastating agricultural pest that has already developed resistance to both insecticides and Bt crops, a new study finds.

The peer-reviewed research, published in BMC Biotechnology Journal, found that Oxitec Ltd.’s Friendly technology can effectively reduce populations of fall armyworm, offering hope for long-term protection against the pest.

“Our results provide promise for a new and valuable addition to future integrated pest management programs for fall armyworm, and for other pests in which insecticide resistance has become a significant challenge for farmers,” the authors wrote. “Preservation of, and reducing over-reliance on, existing tools whilst minimizing their ecological impact will improve food security, farmers’ livelihoods, and environmental sustainability.”

The proprietary Friendly technology works by genetically modifying (GM) insects to introduce a gene that prevents offspring of the pests from surviving into adulthood. The modified male fall armyworms are released into areas of infestation where they mate with wild females, reducing the number of female offspring in the next generation and thereby dramatically reducing the population. The introduced gene is self-limiting…


CANADA - TIME TO RE-THINK GM WHEAT?

Source: AgWeb – 09 January 2022

It’s safe. It would help farmers deal with drought, support biodiversity, protect the environment and decrease a farms carbon footprint. It would help consumers cope with inflation and pay their food bills.

So why aren’t we growing genetically modified wheat?

We’re asking this question again because of the news from South America late last year that Brazil will accept the importation of genetically modified wheat flour from Argentina…

In the case of [this GM] HB4 wheat, scientists have developed a seed technology that is drought tolerant.  Field trials have shown that when this technology is partnered with regenerative soil practices like no-till, the carbon footprint for this crop decreases while yields are protected when water is limited.

Droughts are a growing threat in my region as Canada, along with much of the world, is experiencing unpredictable extreme weather events…

Genetically modified wheat would help farmers like me contend with problems such as this.