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The judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union on 13 September marked clearly against unfounded fears of GMOs and against the trend to break down the concept of a Common Agricultural Policy in the EU.


Source: Euractiv, 21 September 2017.

The judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union on 13 September marked clearly against unfounded fears of GMOs and against the trend to break down the concept of a Common Agricultural Policy in the EU. This provides a timely opportunity to slow down and ask: do we really wish to have a science-based society or should we let ourselves be governed by prejudices and misconceptions?


Source: Euractiv, 21 September 2017.

Cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and cassava brown streak (CBSD) are still the most challenging constraints for cassava production in the Sub-Saharan Africa. Using biotech tools, a farmer preferred variety (TME 204) was successfully transformed for resistance against CBSD. However, it did not have significant resistance against CMD. This called for conventional breeding to address the gap, since there are already farmer-preferred varieties that are resistant to CMD.


Source: Crop Biotech Update, 20 September 2017.

Duitse zuivelproducenten hebben 'GMO-vrij' ontdekt als onderscheidend middel om middel niet alleen maar melk te laten zijn. Onderscheid levert de 'eerlijke' meerprijs op waar boeren en melkfabrieken zo om roepen. Afgelopen jaar gebruikten ze de claim twee keer zo vaak als in de rest van Europa al jarenlang gebruikelijk is.


Source: VMT, 19 September 2017.

Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have harnessed the untapped power of genome editing to improve agricultural crops. Using tomato as an example, they have mobilized CRISPR/Cas9 technology to rapidly generate variants of the plant that display a broad continuum of three separate, agriculturally important traits: fruit size, branching architecture and overall plant shape. All are major components in determining how much a plant will yield. The method is designed to work in all food, feed, and fuel crops, including the staples rice, maize, sorghum and wheat.


Sourcve: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 17 September 2017.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today approved a new cancer therapy that involves genetically modifying a patient’s immune cells. The agency called the decision a “historic action” because the therapy, developed by Novartis, is the first gene therapy treatment approved in the United States.


Source: Science, 30 August 2017.

Hybrids between the indica and japonica subspecies of rice (Oryza sativa) are usually sterile, which hinders the use of heterosis in the inter-subspecific hybrid breeding. The complex locus Sa comprises two adjacently located genes, SaF and SaM, which interact to cause abortion of pollen grains carrying the japonica allele in japonica-indica hybrids. In this study, Yongyao Xie of the South China Agricultural University aims to restore male fertility in indica-japonica hybrids via silencing of SaF or SaM.


Source: Crop Biotech Update, August 2017.

Biotech moths will be released this summer in upstate New York as part of a field trial. The biotech male diamondback moths created by Oxitec possess a "time bomb" gene that kills offspring, thereby reducing the need for pesticides in the fight to control the insects, which have caused billions of dollars in crop damage.


Source: Scientific American online, 25 August 2017.

A vast array of technologies are rapidly developing and converging to fundamentally change how research is performed, and who is able to perform it. Gene editing, DNA synthesis, artificial intelligence, automation, cloud-computing, and others are all contributing to the growing intelligence and connectivity of laboratories. This development and its implications is describer by Garrett Dunlapp and Eleonore Pauwels in the Wilson Center's Brief of September 2017: The Intelligent and Connected Bio-Labs of the Future: Promise and Peril in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

A group of scientists at ETH Zurich has developed a multinutrient biotech rice that could help reduce micronutrient malnutrition. The rice has increased levels of iron and zinc plus a significant level of beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A.


Source: Futurity, 8 August 2017.

Complicated labeling regulations in the US are keeping AquaBounty Technologies' FDA-approved biotech salmon from reaching the marketplace, although 5 tons of the fillets have been sold in Canada, according to the company. Eric Hallerman, a fish genetics expert at Virginia Tech, said he expects to see more biotech animals on shelves across the world in the future.


Source: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model), 4 August 2017.


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