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Hier vindt u een selectie van actueel nieuws over life sciences

CRISPR-Cas9 technology can be used to select or suppress certain traits in a plant's genome to create desired effects in the resulting plant, which could revolutionize plant breeding, according to a panel of expert scientists at the recent Borlaug Dialogue conference. "CRISPR-Cas9 is an affordable technology that can help us close the technology gap between the resource rich and resource poor farmers of the world," says Kevin Pixley of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.


Source: Seed World, 2 November 2017.

Scientists are developing ways to make biotech rice that produces 50% greater yields with improved photosynthesis. A maize gene, Golden2-Like, was introduced to the rice plant to convert it from a C3 photosynthesis pathway to a more productive C4 photosynthesis pathway, which allows the productivity increase.

Source: The Daily Mail (London), 19 October 2017.

October 2017

The European Citizen Science Association published a policy brief that assesses the potential and challenges of “Do-It-Yourself Biotechnology” (DIYBio) for the progression of Open Science and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). It makes recommendations to the European Commission as to how it can integrate DIYBio into existing science funding mechanisms and regulatory directives, thereby maximising benefits for European stakeholders.


‘Do It Yourself Biotechnology’ (DIYBio) for open, inclusive, responsible Biotechnology

How Anne Wojcicki led her company, the most visible face of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, from the brink of failure to scientific pre-eminence.


Source: Nature, 11 October 2017.


After a customer reached out on social media to criticize Mann Packing's use of a nonbiotech-verified check on its products, the company said it will remove it. "Many vegetables are [nonbiotech] and will always be [nonbiotech]. We are working to better educate our consumers so they can understand what that means and how it impacts things," the company said.


Source: AGDAILY, 11 October 2017.

Rutgers University scientists have found a way to enhance the nutritional value of corn by inserting a bacterial gene that causes it to produce the key nutrient methionine.


Source: Rutgers Today, 8 October 2017.

Researchers at Australia's University of Adelaide, in collaboration with US-based company DuPont Pioneer, have identified the wheat gene that, when turned off, eliminates self-pollination but still allows cross-pollination – opening the way for breeding high-yielding hybrid wheats. The researchers say the discovery and the associated breeding technology have the potential to radically change the way wheat is bred. The pollination gene is ‘biologically contained' to the breeding process and does not make its way past the grandparent stage in producing the end-user hybrid seed.

After suffering several droughts over the past three years, Karnataka is drafting a new policy about the use of biotech agriculture to address the challenges. Currently, 74% of the Indian state's cultivable land is located in drought-prone regions, leading to crop losses of up to 60%.


Source: The Times of India, 4 October 2017.

A method for precisely editing genes in human embryos hints at a cure for a blood disease.


Source: Nature, 2 October 2017.

The National Biosafety Authority of Kenya has approved the field trial of Bt cotton (MON 15985 event), as well as  transgenic bananas for resistance to Banana Xanthomas Wilt (BXW) disease, and laboratory and greenhouse trials of modified sweet potato for weevil resistance. The Bt cotton project aims to release the insect protected cotton and its varietal derivatives in Kenya, while research on transgenic bananas evaluates local Kenyan farmers' preferred varieties for resistance to BXW disease under confined field conditions. Research on GM sweet potato evaluates weevil resistance through RNAi technology under laboratory and greenhouse trials in Kenya.


Source: Kenya Gazette Vol. CXIX No. 132.

Oxitec, a British biotechnology firm that produces biotech mosquitoes, plans to build a facility in Oxfordshire, UK, to boost production of its biotech mosquito eggs twentyfold. The mosquito-control method was developed to reduce the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes' wild populations that spread chikungunya, dengue, Zika and yellow fever.


Source: Healio, September 23, 2017.


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