GMO

Biotechnology timeline: Humans have manipulated genes since the ‘dawn of civilization’

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.”

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Some potato stories: A multiple tale of “anti-GMO” detrimental nonsense

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.”

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Trending: ‘The Age of Agrochemicals is Ending – It’s Time for Agricultural Biotechnology’

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 they’re increasingly seen as 20th-century instruments that are ill-suited for 21st-century challenges.

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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.

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Simplot requests extension of deregulation of GMO potato: APHIS invites public comment

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

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Late blight resistant potatoes in Uganda promise impressive returns

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.

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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.

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Plant drug factories: GMOs and gene editing are poised to transform medicine. Here’s how.

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.

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Consumer research: Shoppers willing to buy gene-edited food if they know its benefits

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…]

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Sustainability benefits may prompt Millennials, Gen Z to embrace GMOs and gene editing

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 Baking’s BakingTech in Chicago. “Why? Because it might be more sustainable. It might be a better way to do something.

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GMO blight-resistant potato expected to help over 300,000 farmers in Uganda

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…]

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CIP in Uganda: Experts expect 40-50% adoption of new blight resistant GMO potato variety Victoria

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 “3R Victoria” 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…]

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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…]

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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 isn’t among them. No stranger to social media and a frequent contributor 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…]

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CIP: Developing late blight resistant GMO potato varieties for Africa

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…]

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Argentina: Field trials with non-browning CRISPR-edited potatoes start

In a study published recently in the Frontiers in Plant Science 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 “will … generate data to register[Read More…]

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USDA, FDA, EPA launch website to promote ‘science-based’ agriculture biotechnology rules

In recognition of January 2020 as National Biotechnology Month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a Unified Website for Biotechnology Regulation [on Jan. 9]. The Website streamlines information about the three regulatory agencies charged with overseeing agriculture biotechnology products and is part President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order on Modernizing the[Read More…]

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Webinar: Potato specialist explains how biotech project develops improved varieties for low-income farmers

The World Potato Congress (WPC) is very pleased to be offering this first webinar in its 2020 series featuring Dr. David Douches.  The Feed the Future – Biotechnology Potato Partnership (BPP) is a five-year, multi-institution cooperative agreement between MSU, USAID, Simplot Company and other global institutions to develop and bring to market improved potato products to low-income farmers in South East Asian countries.[Read More…]

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Viewpoint: Science denialism threatens the potential of gene-edited crops

The genetic revolution being ushered in by gene-editing promises to markedly improve our crops by making them resistant to drought, disease and insects, and by enhancing their nutritional content. At first blush, it might appear that foods engineered to address some of our nagging health issues would be widely embraced. Not so for the organizations that have demonized other GM[Read More…]

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Will CRISPR’s promise force the organic industry to reconsider its opposition to gene-edited crops?

Opposition to genetically modified (GM) crops advanced by organic activist groups (and official organizations like the US National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) or the EU’s European Court of Justice) is based on the claim that recombinant DNA technology introduces genes from one species into another. That’s not natural, these critics contend. By this definition, though, gene-editing techniques like CRISPR/Cas9 are[Read More…]

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Viewpoint: Developing countries need GMO, gene-edited crops to solve food security challenges

When Norman Borlaug won the Nobel peace prize in 1970 for his life-saving work on plant breeding, he said: “you can’t build a peaceful world on empty stomachs”. With one in every nine people on the planet still considered hungry, Borlaug’s statement has never been more relevant. Using such statistics, biotechnology proponents have said many times that the world must produce more food in[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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