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An international team of researchers from Spain, the United States, and the United Kingdom has successfully created a strain of genetically modified (GM) rice that will produce HIV-neutralizing proteins.


Source: PNAS, 30 July 2018.

A study found that biotech foods have gained more acceptance in Vermont since a labeling law was passed in 2014. According to the study, the transparency offered by labeling foods with biotech ingredients adds to people's trust of the food.


Source: The Burlington Free Press, 28 June 2018.

DowDuPont spoke out against an EU court's decision to include new techniques of genetic engineering in biotech food labeling rules. DowDuPont's Gregg Schmidt said the technology will benefit consumers and farmers by making vegetables healthier and improving the hardiness of crops.


Source: Delaware Pubic Media, 30 July 2018.

Scientistst at the Universidad del Litoral in Argentina have succeeded in inserting the HB4 gene to soybeans. This gene confers resistance to drought and to saline soils applicable to wheat and soybeans. The gene is the main asset of the company Bioceres, composed of 308 members who are leading agricultural producers who bet on plant technology.

The HB4 has already been approved by the local authorities for soybeans and is about to be authorized by China, one of the main destinations for Argentine soybeans.


Source: DVI Report, 24 July 2018.

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.

A new approach in using machine learning was developed by researchers from the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which will speed up development of biomolecules for biofuel production. The technique is used by scientists to predict the amount of biofuel produced by pathways added to E. coli bacterial cells.


Source: Biofuels Digest, 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.


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