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Hier vindt u een selectie van actueel nieuws over life sciences

With the Acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer 'Monsanto' will disappear as a company name. The acquired products will retain their brand names and become part of the Bayer portfolio. Bayer did not provide an official reason for this decision, but it does not come as a suprise: Monsanto weas blamed by activists for exercising too much power over food production. Moreover, two years ago the company was accused of fraud with Roundup sales figures and settled for 80 million dollar with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

Sources: Bayer, June 4, 2018; NRC Handelsblad, June 4, 2018; SEC, February 9, 2016.

Due to developments in modern biotechnology, such as genome editing, synthetic biology and regulation of gene expression, many new applications are expected in the next ten years. The method that is currently used for the assessment of risks for human health and the environment does not seem to be equipped for all future developments. These were the findings of a report by RIVM .

 

Source: RIVM, 28 May 2018.

DowDuPont is moving away from large-scale research-and-development projects in favor of less risky initiatives costing $30 million or less, says CEO Edward Breen. DuPont’s decade-long effort to make ethanol from the inedible parts of the corn plant is an example. In November 2017 the company announced the end of the project. The  $200 million cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa, capable of churning out 30 million gallons a year of ethanol from corn stalks, leaves and cobs left in the field after harvest was put up for sale.

 

Source: Bloomberg Quint, 31 May 2018.

The US Justice Department has given antitrust approval to Bayer's $62.5 billion acquisition of Monsanto. The deal would create the world's biggest producer of crop chemicals and seeds.
 

On May 24, 2018, the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) released a statement on GR2E Golden Rice, a rice genetically engineered to produce provitamin A carotenoids. The US FDA statement concurs with the assessment of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) regarding the safety and nutrition of Golden Rice.

The US FDA approval is the third positive food safety evaluation of Golden Rice, after the approvals granted by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and Health Canada in February and March 2018, respectively.
 
The testing of biotech mosquitoes as a means of eradicating Aedes aegypti mosquitoes will resume in the Cayman Islands later this month. The project will also use traditional mosquito management strategies, such as spraying insecticides from a plane, once the biotech mosquitoes are released into the test areas.
 

A new research published in eLife presents transgenic pigs with the ability to digest more nutrients, which could possibly help reduce the pork industry's environmental impact.

The group at the South China Agricultural University added three enzymes to the genome of pigs, expressed specifically in the pigs' salivary gland, allowing the digestion of phytate and non-starch polysaccharides to begin in the mouth.

 

Source: eLife, 22 May 2018.

Biotech firm Benson Hill Biosystems and seed company Beck's said their 6-year-old partnership has yielded biotech corn that increases efficiency of photosynthesis, leading to higher yields in a range of environments. Benson Hill CEO Matt Crisp did not disclose the organism that is responsible of the photosynthetic trait but he said it makes the corn plant more efficient at converting atmospheric carbon dioxide to sugar.
 
 
Farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania expressed their positive opinions toward biotech food, according to a survey. "The majority of farmers from these countries believed that [biotech food] could help increase the quality of life for farmers," says surveyor Ida Tarjem, who adds that farmers would cultivate the crops "if they were available, and supported the commercialization of the technology."
 

A group of scientists from the University of Turku in Finland found a way to convert solar energy into biohydrogen using green algae photosynthesis. "The research provides important information on how to avoid 'wasting' solar-driven energy in biomass production and how to apply this energy directly for the production of useful bio-products," says group leader Yagut Allahverdiyeva-Rinne.

 

Source: OilPrice (UK), 13 May 2018.

Researchers from Penn State University report that CRISPR gene editing could help create disease-resistant biotech cacao trees, upon which cocoa beans grow. A gene in cacao trees called TcNPR3, which is responsible for suppressing the plant's disease response, was knocked out using the CRISPR tool.

 

Source: Pennsylvania State University, 9 May 2018.

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