Simplot plans GMO-only seed potato farms

Officials with Simplot Plant Sciences said their company intends to eventually award contracts for propagating its Innate line of biotech potato seed exclusively to farmers willing to forgo raising conventional spuds. The planned move is among a host of precautions intended to aid in identity preservation of Innate, said Erik Gonring, Simplot Plant Sciences industry affairs manager, while offering a recent[Read[Read More…]

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Potato, sugar leaders laud GMO labeling bill

Leaders of the potato and sugar beet industries say they consider a bill that passed Congress requiring labels on food containing genetically modified organisms to be a good compromise. The House of Representatives approved the bill July 14 by a 306-117 vote and sent it to the White House. President Barrack Obama has indicated he intends to sign the legislation,[Read[Read More…]

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The Sainsbury Laboratory prepares for blight-resistant GM potato trial

After gaining government consent to field-test a genetically-modified potato, Norwich-based scientists are seeking to prove the agricultural benefits 
of GM technology – and win public approval from those who still doubt it. The subject of genetically-modified (GM) crops – and whether their commercial cultivation should be allowed in the UK – has polarised opinions for many years. And scientific reports in recent[Read[Read More…]

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Biotechnology can enhance post-harvest quality

I recently toured several supermarkets to see how the stored potato crop was looking in retail displays. The first thing I noticed was the organic potato sprouts, ranging from peepers in russets to inch-long sprouts in some fingerling potatoes. That’s not an indictment of the organic industry. It’s just a fact that it is difficult to store organic potatoes as long as[Read[Read More…]

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Uganda’s new, improved disease-resistant gmo potato variety

A new improved type of potato has been developed at the Kachwekano Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (KaZARDI) of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) near Kabale. The disease-resistant Irish potato variety was produced via biotechnology and is said to be able to ensure high yields for food security and income generation. KZARDI director, Dr Alex Barekye and the project investigator,[Read[Read More…]

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UK: GMO potato approved for field trials

The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norfolk has been given the green light by Defra to conduct a series of GM potato field trials. The laboratory will conduct field trials of GM potato crops on a designated trial site at the Norwich Research Park between 2016 and 2019. The trials are part of a project to develop a Maris Piper potato that is blight[Read[Read More…]

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New gmo potato not grown commercially in Canada this year, but might be in grocery stores

A newly-approved, genetically modified potato will not be grown commercially in Canada this year. JR Simplot, the company that created the Innate potato, said Canadian approval came too late for farmers to plant them this season. Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency approved the potatoes in late March. “The late approval did not provide us with enough time to secure[Read[Read More…]

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UK: GM potato field trials get the go-ahead

Defra has given the green light for a series of GM potato field trials by the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norfolk. The laboratory will conduct field trials of GM potato crops on a designated trial site at the Norwich Research Park between 2016 and 2019. The trials are part of a project to develop a Maris Piper potato that is blight and nematode resistant,[Read[Read More…]

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Canada: Inside Prince Edward Island’s brewing battle over an environmentally friendly GMO spud

Potatoes are prone to disease, such as the late blight fungus which is responsible for billions of dollars of annual losses. Keeping disease at bay requires a steady supply of fungicide, which can harm human health and the environment. The issue is particularly pressing on Prince Edward Island, which produces about one-quarter of Canada’s potatoes. The very characteristics that make[Read More…]

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These new GM crops will change how we farm

Three of the world’s most troubling crop diseases were just hit with three new disease-resistant crops varieties, thanks to genetic modification-each with a slightly different mechanism. The details of these modifications appear in three new papers out today in Nature Biotechnology.  The last paper deals with late potato blight, the disease blamed for Ireland’s famine in the 1800s. For that[Read[Read More…]

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Canada: GMO potato company fires back

The company responsible for creating a genetically engineered potato has taken issue with comments made by Earth Action Prince Edward Island in a recent Guardian article. Earth Action leader Sharon Labchuk said in that article that genetically modified products are unsafe. But Doug Cole, director of marketing and communications at J.R. Simplot, the Idaho-based company that developed the potato, disagrees.[Read[Read More…]

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Genetically engineered potato approved for sale in Canada

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have approved a genetically engineered potato for sale, said a U.S. based company. The non-browning spuds could be in Canadian supermarkets by Thanksgiving. J.R. Simplot Company was notified by both agencies in letters dated March 18, 2016 that it could sell its potatoes to consumers or for livestock consumption. Supposedly, the potatoes[Read[Read More…]

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US: Spud leaders laud progress of voluntary GMO labeling bill

U.S. potato industry leaders say they’re pleased by the advancement of legislation establishing a voluntary national standard for labeling of genetically modified ingredients in food. The bill, introduced by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, passed the committee March 1 by a 14-6 vote. It now awaits a vote by the full Senate. According to the National[Read[Read More…]

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Bangladesh: Genetically modified potato likely to be released this year

The government plans to release a genetically modified (GM) potato, reportedly capable of resisting late blight disease, during the upcoming season. “We are planning to apply for the approval for releasing one variety of GM potato at the end of this year,” said Rafiqul Islam Mondol, director general of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI). BARI has developed GM potatoes by inserting pest[Read[Read More…]

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Uganda’s first field trial of blight resistant GMO potatoes successful

The first field trial of genetically modified (GM) potatoes resistant to potato blight conducted in Uganda from October 2015 to January 2016 has been completed at the Kachwekano Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (KaZARDI) of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) near Kabale. In Uganda, losses due to potato late blight can reach up to 60%, forcing farmers to spray fungicides up to 15[Read[Read More…]

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Newly deregulated GMO potato aims to benefit health, reduce shrink

A new genetically engineered potato has been deregulated. The V11 Snowden was developed by J.R. Simplot Co. and has been engineered to benefit consumer health, improve product quality and reduce culls and pick-outs through low acrylamide potential, reduced black spot bruising and lowered reducing sugars. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service previously reviewed and deregulated these GE[Read[Read More…]

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Late blight resistant potatoes, improved through GM show promise in CIP labs

Results from early trials conducted by CIP, show great promise in the global quest to tame late blight, the scourge of smallholder potato farmers and large producers globally. “Everywhere you grow potatoes, you have late blight,” says Marc Ghislain, program leader at CIP. “It is the number-one disease afflicting potato crops.” Conventional potato breeding is slow and unpredictable, CIP program[Read[Read More…]

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Argentina approves GM potato for human consumption

The government celebrated the approval of the first genetically modified crops (GMOs) developed by Argentine scientists, confirmed yesterday in the Official Gazette, as a great achievement. While it certainly is an important achievement, the authorization of virus-resistant potatoes means that, for the first time, Argentina will offer its population direct consumption of GM foods. After years of analysis, the Ministry of[Read[Read More…]

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South Africa snubs GM potatoes

There will be no genetically modified (GM) potatoes grown commercially in South Africa, Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana has ruled, ending a 12-year battle to get GM spuds on the shelves. Zokwana said the reasons were that GM potatoes, engineered to produce a toxin that kills the potato tuber moth, would not yield any advantage in terms of managing pests, while[Read[Read More…]

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USDA approves 2nd generation genetically engineered potato

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a potato genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine and that still damages crops. Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co. says that the Russet Burbank can also be stored at colder temperatures longer to reduce food waste. The potato is the second generation of Simplot’s Innate potatoes and also includes the first[Read[Read More…]

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Scottish ban on GM crops: A short-sighted move?

Scotland is set to ban the growing of genetically modified crops. The Scottish Government say this is an attempt to protect the country’s “clean, green status” but, says Professor Huw Jones, this is a short-sighted and hollow gesture. From a scientific perspective, the decision taken by the Scottish parliament to place a blanket ban on the cultivation of crop varieties developed[Read[Read More…]

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Scots growers want blight-resistant spud

Trials of potatoes with new genes giving resistance to late blight have shown that the plants can thrive despite being exposed to a disease that has been known to devastate Scottish potato crops. The resistant potato is being trialled at Sainsbury’s labroratory in Norwich, along with Dutch colleagues at Wageningen University. Scientists say the gene targets elicitin, a conserved protein with[Read[Read More…]

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US: Voluntary GMO labeling garners potato support

While national produce groups are sitting on the sideline, several potato associations are among nearly 500 food groups urging the House of Representatives to pass the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which calls for voluntary labeling of GMO food products. The legislation, introduced earlier this year by U.S. Reps. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., and G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., creates a food labeling[Read[Read More…]

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UK: Crop sustainability projects secure funding

Government research councils have awarded more than £4m in research funding to six projects to help improve the sustainability of horticultural crops. The funding is the second round of awards from the Horticulture & Potato Initiative (HAPI), developed by Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Natural Environment Research Council and (NERC) the Scottish Government. The Sainsbury Laboratory group leader Professor[Read[Read More…]

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Project aims to develop biotech disease-resistant potato to pass both US and EU regulations

Spuds are a staple diet for many people on Earth. While potatoes seem like robust vegetables, they’re actually pretty susceptible to diseases. Enter the researchers from the TSL Potato Partnership Project, who want to use genetic modification to turn the lowly potato into a disease and bruise-resistant super spud. The five-year super-spud project launched earlier this week, and is headed up[Read[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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