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Hier vindt u een selectie van actueel nieuws over life sciences

Confined field trials of biotech maize in Tanzania, now in their second year, have shown that the crops are resistant to stem borers and fall armyworms and produce yield increases of up to 58% above conventional maize. The trials, conducted in semiarid Makutupora, are also assessing the plants' resilience to drought, the biggest threat to maize in Africa.


Source: Tanzania Daily News, 30 October 2018.

Researchers used CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology to change two letters in pigs' genomes to protect them from deadly infections such as transmissible gastroenteritis virus.


Source: Discover Magazine, 24 October 2018.

The Gene Technology Regulator in Australia proposed that biotech plants, microbes and animals produced from SDN-1 (Site Directed Nucleases) technique should be exempted from regulation, saying that the changes that have been made to them could occur naturally.


Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 23 October 2018.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service lifted the regulatory prohibition on farmers' cultivation of biotech cotton plants. These plants are developed using RNA interference to eliminate the toxic chemical gossypol from the cottonseeds, making them edible for people.


Source: Reuters, 17 October 2018.

Scientists from University of California, Riverside used CRISPR-Cas9 technology to develop biotech mosquitoes that have decreased body size. Researchers shortened the mosquitoes' lifespan by altering their DNA sequences and modifying their gene function to postpone development.


Source: University of California Riverside, 17 October 2018.

For the first time, researchers have used the DNA from two female mice to create healthy pups, some of which matured and had their own offspring. The scientists also produced baby mice using the combined genetic material from two male mice, although those pups lived for only a couple of days. Researchers deleted genetic regions from stem cells to create the test-tube pups, illuminating how healthy embryos develop. Most of the embryos did not survive, making it unlikely that the technique would ever be applied to humans.


Source: Nature 11 October 2018.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has funded the Insect Allies program, which is working to create biotech virus-carrying insects using CRISPR technology that are intended to protect crops if they become vulnerable to a natural blight, a drought, or a biological weapon attack. The biotech virus carried by these insects could control certain plant genes to achieve a specific goal in the infected or affected plant.


Source:ScienceAlert Australia, 5 October 2018.

Scientists from the University of Melbourne in Australia developed a way to control the production of flexible primary plant walls, which could improve the production of bioplastics, biofuels and other biomaterials. The researchers identified the mechanisms that lead to the production of thick primary walls, which can be manipulated to simplify the conversion of sugar-based polymers in the plant into biofuel.


Source: Biofuels Digest, 3 October 2018.

A study showed that by using the CRISPR-Cas9 technique to edit just two genes, ground cherries yielded more and bigger fruits. Removal of the SELF-PRUNING 5G gene allowed the plants to produce more fruits and flowers instead of additional leaves and shoots, and cutting the CLV1 gene resulted in fruit growing 24% heavier.


Source: ScienceNews, 1 October 2018.

Scientists from the Imperial College London used CRISPR technology to eliminate mosquitoes that spread the chikungunya virus, malaria and dengue fever. Researchers located the doublesex gene of female mosquitoes and altered it so that there were no longer any female mosquitoes in the population after eight generations.


Source: Chronicle of the Week, 26 September 2018.

Scientists at Imperial College in London successfully used modified genes in malaria-carrying mosquitoes to block female reproduction, and the entire population died in the lab.


Source: USA Today, 25 September 2018.


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