Roger Beachy still remembers the excitement of planting the first genetically altered food crop into United States soils. It was the summer of 1987 when he, along with a team of Monsanto scientists, transplanted tomatoes modified to resist a virus at the company’s research farm, near Jerseyville, Illinois. It would take almost a full decade before transgenic plants gained a serious foothold in U.S. soils, and they would not be those the idealistic young scientist envisioned.
According to a Reuters report, France sees crops developed using gene-editing techniques as different to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and opposes a European Union court decision to put them under strict GMO regulations, the countrys agriculture minister said. The decision was welcomed by some environmentalists who have long opposed GMOs as a threat to ecosystems, and criticised by seed makers and scientists as penalising Europes agricultural research capacity.
HZPC’s CEO, Gerard Backx says: “What we can contribute are new varieties that can help to improve environmental impact in the future. We try to develop different disease resistances to make sure that our potatoes can be grown without or with a very reduced amount of pesticides. Of course, yield is important too, because if you can produce more product on the same amount of land with the same amount of energy, then you are more sustainable.”
The future of crop protection? GM plant grows insect sex pheromones as alternative to crop pesticides
Scientists have discovered how to genetically modify the camelina plant to produce pheromone precursors that can control agricultural insect pests without the use of pesticides. Revolutionary research is being done by ISCA, Inc., a green agricultural technology company based in Riverside, Calif., in collaboration with Lund University in Sweden. ISCA says pheromone controls are the future of crop protection.
Thousands of farmers in Bangladesh grow potatoes on over one million acres of land, spending up to a fourth of their investment on fungicide sprays to fight late blight. The disease damages 20 percent of the total potato production in the country. The Bangladeshi government has finally allowed its scientists to import two blight resistant (RB) potato varieties, developed at the Michigan State University (MSU), and agreed that field trials can be conducted with the varieties.
The World Potato Congress (WPC) is pleased to present its next webinar on December 15, 2020 with Dr Mark Taylor, Co-leader of Potato Genetics and Molecular Physiology, at The James Hutton Institute in the UK. Dr Taylor’s presentation will highlight some of the key challenges in developing new potato varieties that could deliver the full potential of the crop. Recent achievements in overcoming some the obstacles to improving varieties will be reviewed briefly and important traits for the future considered.
Through sharing excellence across programs and geographies, crop breeders are ready to deliver higher rates of genetic gain and varietal turnover. This was the theme of November 10-12s Excellence in Breeding (EiB) Virtual Meeting 2020, where nearly 250 breeders and leaders came together to share principles, successes and opportunities.
Researchers from the National Agricultural Research Organisation Uganda and the International Potato Center, have developed a new variety of potato which is resistant to late blight. Using new molecular techniques, they transferred late-blight resistance genes into the popular East African potato variety Victoria. The new variety, known as 3R Victoria, is almost identical to the variety farmers now plant in Uganda, with one crucial difference. It contains three genes from a potato relative that provide it with complete resistance to the late blight pathogen.
Historically, biotech has been primarily associated with food, addressing such issues as malnutrition and famine, writes Brian Colwell in this article published by Genetic Literacy Project (GLP). Colwell concludes his article saying: “Today, biotechnology is being used in countless areas including agriculture, bioremediation and forensics, where DNA fingerprinting is a common practice. Industry and medicine alike use the techniques of PCR, immunoassays and recombinant DNA. Genetic manipulation has been the primary reason that biology is now seen as the science of the future and biotechnology as one of the leading industries.”
The expression genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is not only void of scientific value, but has negative effects on agricultural progress and food policy, writes Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue in this article published by European Scientist. According to Tagliabue, Anti-GMOers show a “peculiar, recurrent absence of logic when they demonize GMOs as a supposed whole… Tagliabue then cite examples from the US, the UK and the European Union to back up his argument, saying that “These stories have surely shown that GMO(s) is a misleading notion, a damaging meme that should dissolve: in time, it will be considered a subject as interesting as the sex of angels used to be.”
As Europe moves to reduce its reliance on agrochemicals in the farming system over the next 10 years and beyond, a crucial question emerges: what replaces them? Agricultural biotechnology could provide the answer, writes Farhan Mitha in this insightful article published by Labiotech Insider. The use of agrochemicals pesticides, fertilizers, and plant growth enhancers has been crucial to humanity over the last century. Yet, their impact on the environment has become too profound to ignore, and theyre increasingly seen as 20th-century instruments that are ill-suited for 21st-century challenges.
Talking Biotech: Where did GMOs come from? Former Monsanto scientist Robb Fraley recounts the advent of biotech crops
On the five-year anniversary of the Talking Biotech podcast published on the Genetic Literacy Project (GLP) website, host and plant geneticist Kevin Folta sits down with former Monsanto chief technology officer Robb Fraley. He recalls the race to transform plants and his work as a leader at Monsanto. While the company did important work to advance crop biotechnology, Fraley says, Monsanto made little effort to explain genetic engineering to food companies, the media and consumers and was thus unprepared for the backlash against GMOs in the 1990s.
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is inviting public comment on a request from J.R. Simplot Company to extend deregulation to a potato variety, designated as Snowden Z6. The request was made today. APHIS is interested in receiving comments regarding potential environmental and interrelated economic impacts as it relates to the National Environmental Policy Act
Potato is a popular crop in Uganda with great potential for income generation and improving nutrition. So much so that the Ugandan government has declared potato a key crop for the country. In Uganda, International Potato Center (CIP) partners with the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO) to release and promote improved varieties of potato and sweetpotato. NARO and CIP have developed a new version of the Victoria variety by adding three resistance genes (3R). The 3R Victoria potatoes are completely resistant to late blight.
Are we facing an Insect Apocalypse caused by intensive, industrial farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says no
The media call it the Insect Apocalypse. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of the journalism literati, and usually associated with such apocalyptic terms as ecosystem collapse and food crisis. The culprit: modern agriculture, which is often linked to the Brave Not-So-New World of GMOs and gene-edited crops and the chemicals purportedly used to support it.
Plant biotechnology is poised to drastically improve how we consume medication. Using the modern tools of genetic engineering, researchers are developing plant-based drugs that are cheaper, easier to take and even more effective than their existing counterparts. Tautvydas Shuipys reports for the Genetic Literacy Project. A Canada-based company has announced that using this same technology, they have produced a candidate vaccine for COVID-19 in twenty days.
The FMI Foundation in partnership with the American Seed Trade Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the Farm Foundation, today released a consumer research study measuring market potential for gene-edited products. The nationwide survey examined U.S. consumers beliefs, awareness, and understanding of gene editing in food and agriculture, and their willingness to pay for gene-edited foods as it pertains to fresh[Read More…]
Millennials and Generation Z are influencing the ever-evolving clean label category, and they might be willing to consider biotechnology/genetic modification as part of the category, said Nicole Rees, product director of AB Mauri North America. They are open, she said in a March 3 presentation at the American Society of Bakings BakingTech in Chicago. Why? Because it might be more sustainable. It might be a better way to do something.
Stakeholders working within the potato sector in Uganda are confident about the wide adoption of a new bioengineered late blight resistant potato. Dubbed the 3R Victoria potato, the yet to be released variety could help over 300,000 smallholder farmers in Uganda achieve higher yields at a lower cost with less exposure to chemicals. At an expert consultative meeting held in[Read More…]
Stakeholders working within the potato sector in Uganda are confident about the wide adoption of a new bio-engineered late blight resistant potato. Dubbed the â3R Victoriaâ potato, the yet to be released International Potato Center (CIP) bred variety could help over 300,000 smallholder farmers in Uganda achieve higher yields at a lower cost with less exposure to chemicals, it is[Read More…]
Battling late blight: GMO modified Agrico potato varieties soon to be distributed to farmers in Bangladesh
With the objective of eradicating the late blight disease in potato, the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) in Domar upazila is currently growing trial varieties that are said to be resistant to the disease. Based on the success of growing the trial varieties at its Foundation Seed Potato Production Farm (FSPPF) in Domar, the BADC hopes to distribute seed of[Read More…]
Podcast: Agricultural economist explains the risks and benefits of GMOs and the future of crop biotechnology
Few academics eagerly engage the public on controversial scientific topics, content to quietly focus on their research. Agricultural economist and author Stuart Smyth isnât among them. No stranger to social media and aÂ frequent contributorÂ to the Genetic Literacy Project, Smyth has consistently worked to translate his detailed books and scholarly publications about crop biotechnology into digestible educational content geared toward a[Read More…]
The International Potato Center (CIP) is working in East Africa to breed GMO varieties of potatoes that combine three forms of resistance to late blight — the disease that can exact costly tolls on smallholding farmers. CIP states that the objective of the project is: “To develop and deliver bio-engineered potatoes completely resistant to late blight to reduce the costs[Read More…]
In a study published recently in theÂ Frontiers in Plant ScienceÂ magazine, scientists from Argentina and Sweden reported they have edited a polyphenol oxidase gene in potatoes (Solanum tubersoum L.). After successfully editing the gene, they obtained tubers free of enzymatic browning. With the approval of the National Agricultural Biotechnology Advisory Commission, field trials began that âwill … generate data to register[Read More…]
In recognition of January 2020 asÂ National Biotechnology Month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched aÂ Unified Website for Biotechnology RegulationÂ [on Jan. 9]. The Website streamlines information about the three regulatory agencies charged with overseeing agriculture biotechnology products and is part President Donald J. Trumpâs Executive Order on Modernizing the[Read More…]