Asia-Pacific Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology and Bioresources

Current News

First Annual Crop Wild Relatives Week kicks off 
22-29 SEP 2018
The Crop Science Society of America is proud to host Crop Wild Relatives Week on September 22 – 29, 2018, to celebrate the contribution that these humble and hearty plants have made to increasing food security around the world. The collections of plants; the work being done to collect, conserve, characterize, and use them; and the importance of continuing to do so will be highlighted in blogs, web stories, and infographics. Online resources for anyone interested in learning more crop wild relatives can be found (https://www.crops.org/crop-wild-relative).

 

Biotech Country Facts and Trends
24 SEP 2018
Biotech Country Facts and Trends summaries in 1-2 pages that highlight the commercialization of biotech crops in the developing countries have been released by ISAAA. Data on biotech crop commercialization (hectarage and adoption), approvals and planting, benefits and future prospects in each country are presented in a brief and easily understandable manner.

 

Field trials of GM canola are permitted in Australia
6 SEP 2018
Australia’s Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) has permitted field trails of GM canaola for altered oil content and herbicide tolerance for 5 years to gather the data for agronomic performance, oil profile and content, nutritional assessment, compositional analysis, molecular analysis, and genetic stability.

 

Crop wild relative week
22-29 SEP 2018
Crop Science Society of America celebrates ‘Crop Wild Relative (CWR) week’ during September 22-29, 2018. To learn more but in simple way through web blogs, video and other stories about CWR and its use in crop improvement programs, visit the above link.

 

Japan government panel has decided not to regulate some genome editing procedures.
21 AUG 18
The Members of Ministry of Environment (MoE), Government of Japan, agreed in a Technical Committee meeting that as long as a product of gene editing technology does not contain nucleic acids from a foreign source, it should not be regulated under the existing genetic engineering regulations in Japan. The MoE is of the opinion to have an “Advisory Panel on GMOs” meeting shortly which will include legal experts also to discuss the decision of Technical Committee.

South Asia Biosafety Program – August newsletter
AUG 2018
Relevant news about biosafety regulation and policy developments in India and Bangladesh, as well as updates about the capacity building activities through the South Asia Biosafety Program are highlighted in this newsletter.

 

Philippines farmer leaders support the application of biotechnology in agriculture
19 AUG 18
Twenty-eight farmer-leaders from six regions in Mindanao, including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, added their signatures to more than 200 other previous signatories in the “Declaration of Support for the Application of Biotechnology in Agriculture.”

 

Shifting the limits in wheat research and breeding using a fully annotated reference genome
17 AUG 18
The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium gives hope to wheat farmers as they publish the fully annotated reference wheat genome, opening new vistas in research and breeding of wheat which is one of the major staple food crops in the world.

 

APAARI participate in 3rdSenior Official Meetings of APEC Economies held at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
16 AUG 2018
Dr Rishi Tyagi, Coordinator, Asia-Pacific Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology and Bioresources (APCoAB), Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), participated in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (APEC HLPD AB),  22ndAgricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group(ATCWG) Meeting and ABAC Food Security Symposium, on August 6-9, 2018, held at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

APCoAB Coordinator visits Philippines research organizations
16 AUG 2018
Dr Rishi Tyagi, Coordinator, APCoAB, APAARI, visited Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources (DOST-PCAARRD), National Institute of Molecular Biology (NIMBB) and Biotechnology, and Science and Education for Agriculture and Development (SEARCA) at Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines, on August 13, 2018

 

Nitrogen fixation in a landrace of maize is supported by a mucilage-associated diazotrophic microbiota
07 AUG 2018
Hundreds years old corn landrace from Mexico has evolved in a way to make its own nitrogen, which could revolutionize farming.

 

 

GMO eggplant crop expands in Bangladesh
06 AUG 2018
Farmers are continuing to rapidly adopt Bt eggplant (brinjal) in Bangladesh, resulting in reduced pesticide use and higher incomes, according to a new paper authored by scientists involved in developing and releasing the pioneering genetically modified crop.

 

Bt Eggplant Project in Bangladesh: History, Present Status, and Future Direction
03 AUG 2018
History, accomplishments, and future direction of the Bt brinjal (eggplant) program in Bangladesh.

 

 

How to make the gene-editing tool CRISPR work even better
02 AUG 2018
Scientists have found conclusive evidence that Cas9, the most popular enzyme currently used in CRISPR gene editing, is less effective and precise than one of the lesser-used CRISPR proteins, Cas12a. Because Cas9 is more likely to edit the wrong part of a plant’s or animal’s genome, disrupting healthy functions, the scientists make the case that switching to Cas12a would lead to safer and more effective gene editing.

Feeling the pulse: Towards better self-sufficiency in pulses in India
28 JUL 2018
Pulses are a key source of protein in most Indian diets and India is the biggest consumer of pulses in the world. Yet, with stagnation of production in spite of increase in demand, there has been an increasing demand-supply gap for pulses in India. A multi-pronged approach including quality seed availability and increased profitability for farmers can help India bridge this gap.

 

EU will regulate gene-edited organisms as GMOs
26 JUL 2018
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has reached the conclusion that organisms made by any mutagenesis method are GMOs under the European GMO regulations. They must meet the same regulatory requirements that more traditional GMOs must abide by, such as an environmental risk assessment and government authorization.

 

Commercialization of Bt brinjal is likely to be next year in Philippines.
22 JUL 18
Associate Professor Cesar Quicoy of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños told in a symposium that the Institute of Plant Breeding is already in the process of applying for commercialization of Bt brinjal, 10 years after its introduction in the country. According to his statement, commercialization of Bt brinjal will be possible by next year in Philippines.

For noncommercialization of Bt eggplant, Filipino farmers losing P33.85 billion
22 JUL 18
Filipino farmers are losing as much as P33.85 billion annually due to noncommercialization of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) eggplant as the genetically modified (GM) crop could double their net income, according to an economist.

 

Vietnamese farmers optimistic about genetically modified maize
16 JUL 2018
Genetically modified maize (GMM) is a pest resistant crop. If GMM is farmed on a large scale, the amount of maize Vietnam needs to import will decrease. However, the GMM cultivated areas remain far below expectations.

 

Saving the seed: A bank that secures the future of agriculture
12 JUL 2018
The RS Paroda Genebank at ICRISAT hosts 126,830 accessions collected from 144 countries. It is one of the largest international repositories of plant genetic resources. Each accession is now being accorded a globally unique and permanent identifier or Digital Object Identifier (DOI) just as is done for published research. DOI assignment guidelines have been issued by FAO and Treaty on September 23, 2016.

Indian Farmers want GM Cotton Seeds
12 JUL 2018
Indian farmers are ready to buy GM cotton seeds at all costs because GM seeds give a better productivity and profitability to cotton growing farmers.

 

Australian government authorizes GM wheat field trials
11 JUL 2018
The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator has issued licence DIR 162 to CSIRO, authorising the limited and controlled release (field trial) of wheat genetically modified (GM) for rust disease resistance.

 

ASEAN-India Research Training Fellowship (AIRTF)
11 JUL 2018
A funding program to support ASEAN young researchers with aims in building their capacities and to work at any Indian research /academic Institution. A prestigious fellowship started by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India unfer the ASEAN India Science and Technology Development Fund (AISTDF) and implementing partner the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. 

Public consultations scheduled for Golden Rice field trials
06 JULY 2018
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has announced that the Philippines Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) has given the approval for the conduct of public consultations on the proposed field trials for GR2E Golden Rice.

 

Likely change in biopiracy rules under Nagoya Protocol
06 JUL 2018
European scientists believe that a change in biopiracy rules in Nagoya protocol will hamper the research and even jeopardize the food safety in the long term. However, important issues and the spirit of the Protocol should remain intact as “everyone should benefit” from the use of the information.

 

CBD limits biodiversity research
29 JUN 2018
Regulatory process under CBD framework unintentionally curtail the biodiversity research and limit the international collaboration amongst biodiversity-rich countries – an article published by Prathapan et al in Science. The views mentined in the article were endorsed by 172 co-signatories belonging to 35 countries.

 

Mandatory labels can improve attitudes toward genetically engineered food
27 JUNE 2018
Scientists from USA reported that mandatory labelling policy of GE foods in USA reduced the opposition level to GE food and helpful to communicate the benefits and risks to consumer and change their perception for GE food.

 

Fact sheet of ISAAA reiterates the potential of biotechnology
21 JUN 2018
Climate change is a major challenge for agriculture and food security and GM technology can address problems that cannot be solved through conventional crop improvement methods.

 

Bacterial blight resistant rice variety developed
14 JUN 2018
Indian scientists inserted a bacterial blight resistant gene in popular rice variety, which is grown in 80,000 ha in India, through marker-assisted backcross breeding method.

 

GM crops increased farm income and production more in the developing countries than the developed countries
11 JUN 2018
On the basis of cultivation of four main GM crops – soybean, corn, cotton and canola, annual updated analysis shows that there continues to be very significant net economic benefits at the farm level amounting to $18.2 billion in 2016 and $186.1 billion for the period 1996–2016 (in nominal terms). These gains have been divided 48% to farmers in developed countries and 52% to farmers in developing countries.

Making healthy, cheap animal feeds
10 JUN 2018
Dr. Laura Pham, a chemist and food scientist from the University Researcher IV in the Oils and Fats Laboratory and Feeds and Specialty Products Laboratory of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (Biotech) of the University of the Philippines Los Baños in Laguna, developed copra meal (generally considered as waste) enriched with protein and mixed in animal feeds, making the livestock and fish healthy for human consumers.

Scientists develop early flowering transgenic mustard
07 JUN 2018
Scientists at Tata Energy Research Institute, India, developed an early flowering transgenic mustard variety. The research will help to develop a plant variety in mustard with shorter life cycle and with better yields through reduced exposure to the harsh climatic conditions in the fields.

 

Smart tech to help PHL achieve sustainable agri goals
07 JUN 18
The Philippines is promoting the adoption and practice of advanced technology and smart farming methods such vertical farming, micropropagation, cryopreservation and hydroponics, with the aim of developing technology to increase crop production and minimize losses.

 

These Indian farmers are using Whatsapp and Facebook to demand GM seeds technology
30 MAY 2018
Indian farmers are using social media to demand GM seeds of cotton. The Shetkari Sanghatana (Farmer organization) is organizing conferences for farmers and consumers to create awareness about GM seeds and its volunteers are also going directly to villages to speak to farmers about it. It will help the smallholder farmers to cut down the cost of cultivation and increase farmers’ income.

Simultaneous editing of two copies of Gh14-3-3d confers enhanced transgene-clean plant defense against Verticillium dahliae in allotetraploid upland cotton
30 MAY 2018
The CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system is a robust and highly efficient tool for generating target gene mutants, by which the genes of interest may be functionally dissected and applied through genotype-to-phenotype approaches. Using this new breeding method, Chinese scientists developed fungus-resistant cotton. These lines can be used as a germplasm to breed disease-resistant cotton varieties.

US FDA approves GMO Golden Rice as safe to eat
29 MAY 2018
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Golden Rice, marking the third positive international assessment for the genetically engineered biofortified crop. Previously, Food Standards Australia, New Zealand and Health Canada gave Golden Rice the stamp of approval in February and March 2018 respectively.

 

CRISPR-Edited Rice Plants Produce Major Boost in Grain Yield
29 MAY 2018
A team of scientists from Purdue University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has used CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology to develop a variety of rice that produces 25-31 percent more grain and would have been virtually impossible to create through traditional breeding methods.

 

Disrupting agricultural and tree biodiversity science – a review of Bioversity International’s 2017
22 MAY 2018
On the International Day of Biological Diversity, Bioversity International published its 2017 Annual Report. This report presents scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security.

 

The future of genetically modified crops in India
21 MAY 2018
Intellectual property rights in relation to plant varieties, including transgenic varieties, are the subject matter of protection under the provisions of the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Act, decided by Indian court. It may affects the investment by private sector in GM research and future of GM crops in India.

 

APSA/WorldVeg Vegetable Breeding Consortium: Growing stronger with every new member
18 MAY 2018
The Asia & Pacific Seed Association (APSA)/World Vegetable Center Vegetable Breeding Consortium held its second annual workshop on 16-17 May 2017 in Shanhua, Taiwan. 32 seed companies from the Asia Pacific region joined the workshop, for two days of discussions, seminars, and in-field evaluations of various crops. 

 

More sustainable potato production through extended IPM for late blight
15 MAY 2018
Cultivation of cisgenic or conventionally bred, late blight resistant potato varieties in combination with pathogen population monitoring and a “do not spray unless” strategy resulted in an 80 – 90% reduction of the fungicide use as compared to current common practice. A team of scientists from Wageningen University & Research andTeagasc – the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority published these findings in the scientific journal European Journal of Agronomy.

USDA’s hands-off approach to gene-edited crops could revolutionize research and development
15 MAY 2018
USDA does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques as long as they are not plant pests or developed using plant pests. The USDA’s recent decision to stay out of the business of regulating gene-edited crops could be a game changer for a sector long dominated by a handful of companies armed with massive research and development budgets.

PARC Organised Workshop on Plant Genetic Resources, Gene Bank Operations
07 MAY 2018
On May 8th, Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) and COMSTECH Secretariat, Islamabad organized an ‘International Workshop on Plant Genetic Resources and Gene bank Operations Management Systems’, to train 35 participants from OIC member states.

 

Agricultural biotechnologies that improved safety, yields, food security in developing nations
02 MAY 2018
Genetic Literacy Project reports that agricultural biotechnologies has significant impact on food security and environmental safety developing countries including China, India and Pakistan.

 

Brainstorming Meeting on Strategies for Implementation of ‘Delhi Declaration for Agrobiodiversity Management’ in India – Proceedings and Action Points
02 MAY 2018
A brainstorming meeting on Strategies for Implementation of ‘Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity Management’ was organized in India to chalk out a plan for effective implementation of the 12-point Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity Management, adopted by the 1st International Agrobiodiversity Congress (IAC 2016). This document summarizes the deliberations of the meeting and the proposed action plan for management of genetic resources in India to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Aichi targets.

Discovery of new genes in rice for abiotic stress tolerance
25 APR 2018
A group of scientists from IRRI, the Institute of Crop Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), BGI-Shenzhen, and 13 other partner institutions, published a collaborative research that will enable scientists to discover new gene variants and characterize known genes for important traits, such as the natural ability of a particular variety to resist diseases and withstand floods, drought, and salty water. This study is recently published in Nature (doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0063-9).

Role of genomics in promoting the utilization of plant genetic resources in genebanks
23 APR 2018
It is estimated that about 1% of germplasm conserved in genebanks are utilized. Genomics has potential to revolutionize the utilization of genebank collections for having positive impact on food and nutritional security, concluded by Australian scientists.

 

Can genomics deliver climate-change ready crops?
21 APR 2018
This review summarizes how germplasm collections are utilized to identify superior alleles/haplotypes through NGS based sequencing approaches and how genomics-enabled technologies together with precise phenotyping are being used in crop breeding. Pre-breeding and genomics-assisted breeding approaches are contributing to the more efficient development of climate-resilient crops. 

South Asia Biosafety Program – April newsletter
APR 2018
Relevant news about biosafety regulation and policy developments in India and Bangladesh, as well as updates about the capacity building activities through the South Asia Biosafety Program are highlighted in this newsletter.

 

Injecting diversity to bolster immunity to climate change and food insecurity
16 APR 2018
Agricultural biodiversity is essential for our survival and well-being. Much like the way vaccines work to protect human health, a rich diversity of species and varieties bolster agricultural production systems to be more resilient and in many cases even ‘immune’ to climate change and food insecurity. Bioversity International and its partners in Guatemala recently implemented one such diversity ‘injection’.

Late-blight resistant potatoes hold promise for farmers in Uganda and beyond
12 APR 2018
Late blight disease is a major constraint for potato production, costing farmers an estimated $3-$10 billion per year globally. Scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) decided to try genetic engineering to transfer genes that confer resistance to late blight in wild relatives of potato into potato varieties that are popular with farmers and consumers.

 

Plant scientists welcome the US decision to not regulate the gene edited crops
08 APR 2018
The US decision to not regulate the crops developed by gene editing method paves the way for generating genetically altered crops without major regulatory restrictions. This will also open new vistas for other countries in the world.

 

Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) labelling in plant genetic resources
02 APR 2018
Maintaining this relationship is particularly important when material from genebanks is used to develop new varieties, explains Matija Obreza, Genesys Information Systems Manager at the Crop Trust. The proper identification of parents via DOIs allows the use of the material to be tracked and that helps when determining the impact of genebank collections. DOIs also allow for automated discovery of publications by scanning the Internet for a specific DOI. It will also support the effective conservation and use of PGR in crop improvement programs.

Biotech Country Facts and Trends
24 SEP 2018
Biotech Country Facts and Trends summaries in 1-2 pages that highlight the commercialization of biotech crops in the developing countries have been released by ISAAA. Data on biotech crop commercialization (hectarage and adoption), approvals and planting, benefits and future prospects in each country are presented in a brief and easily understandable manner.

 

Field trials of GM canola are permitted in Australia
6 SEP 2018
Australia’s Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) has permitted field trails of GM canaola for altered oil content and herbicide tolerance for 5 years to gather the data for agronomic performance, oil profile and content, nutritional assessment, compositional analysis, molecular analysis, and genetic stability.

 

Japan government panel has decided not to regulate some genome editing procedures.
21 AUG 18
The Members of Ministry of Environment (MoE), Government of Japan, agreed in a Technical Committee meeting that as long as a product of gene editing technology does not contain nucleic acids from a foreign source, it should not be regulated under the existing genetic engineering regulations in Japan. The MoE is of the opinion to have an “Advisory Panel on GMOs” meeting shortly which will include legal experts also to discuss the decision of Technical Committee.

South Asia Biosafety Program – August newsletter
AUG 2018
Relevant news about biosafety regulation and policy developments in India and Bangladesh, as well as updates about the capacity building activities through the South Asia Biosafety Program are highlighted in this newsletter.

 

Philippines farmer leaders support the application of biotechnology in agriculture
19 AUG 18
Twenty-eight farmer-leaders from six regions in Mindanao, including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, added their signatures to more than 200 other previous signatories in the “Declaration of Support for the Application of Biotechnology in Agriculture.”

 

Shifting the limits in wheat research and breeding using a fully annotated reference genome
17 AUG 18
The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium gives hope to wheat farmers as they publish the fully annotated reference genome wheat opening new vistas in research and breeding of wheat which is one of the major staple food crops in the world.

 

GMO eggplant crop expands in Bangladesh
06 AUG 2018
Farmers are continuing to rapidly adopt Bt eggplant (brinjal) in Bangladesh, resulting in reduced pesticide use and higher incomes, according to a new paper authored by scientists involved in developing and releasing the pioneering genetically modified crop.

 

Bt Eggplant Project in Bangladesh: History, Present Status, and Future Direction
03 AUG 2018
History, accomplishments, and future direction of the Bt brinjal (eggplant) program in Bangladesh.

 

 

How to make the gene-editing tool CRISPR work even better
02 AUG 2018
Scientists have found conclusive evidence that Cas9, the most popular enzyme currently used in CRISPR gene editing, is less effective and precise than one of the lesser-used CRISPR proteins, Cas12a. Because Cas9 is more likely to edit the wrong part of a plant’s or animal’s genome, disrupting healthy functions, the scientists make the case that switching to Cas12a would lead to safer and more effective gene editing.

EU will regulate gene-edited organisms as GMOs
26 JUL 2018
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has reached the conclusion that organisms made by any mutagenesis method are GMOs under the European GMO regulations. They must meet the same regulatory requirements that more traditional GMOs must abide by, such as an environmental risk assessment and government authorization.

 

Commercialization of Bt brinjal is likely to be next year in Philippines.
22 JUL 18
Associate Professor Cesar Quicoy of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños told in a symposium that the Institute of Plant Breeding is already in the process of applying for commercialization of Bt brinjal, 10 years after its introduction in the country. According to his statement, commercialization of Bt brinjal will be possible by next year in Philippines.

For noncommercialization of Bt eggplant, Filipino farmers losing P33.85 billion
22 JUL 18
Filipino farmers are losing as much as P33.85 billion annually due to noncommercialization of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) eggplant as the genetically modified (GM) crop could double their net income, according to an economist.

 

Vietnamese farmers optimistic about genetically modified maize
16 JUL 2018
Genetically modified maize (GMM) is a pest resistant crop. If GMM is farmed on a large scale, the amount of maize Vietnam needs to import will decrease. However, the GMM cultivated areas remain far below expectations.

 

Indian Farmers want GM Cotton Seeds
12 JUL 2018
Indian farmers are ready to buy GM cotton seeds at all costs because GM seeds give a better productivity and profitability to cotton growing farmers.

 

Australian government authorizes GM wheat field trials
11 JUL 2018
The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator has issued licence DIR 162 to CSIRO, authorising the limited and controlled release (field trial) of wheat genetically modified (GM) for rust disease resistance.

 

Public consultations scheduled for Golden Rice field trials
06 JULY 2018
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has announced that the Philippines Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) has given the approval for the conduct of public consultations on the proposed field trials for GR2E Golden Rice.

 

Mandatory labels can improve attitudes toward genetically engineered food
27 JUNE 2018
Scientists from USA reported that mandatory labelling policy of GE foods in USA reduced the opposition level to GE food and helpful to communicate the benefits and risks to consumer and change their perception for GE food.

 

Fact sheet of ISAAA reiterates the potential of biotechnology
21 JUN 2018
Climate change is a major challenge for agriculture and food security and GM technology can address problems that cannot be solved through conventional crop improvement methods.

 

GM crops increased farm income and production more in the developing countries than the developed countries
11 JUN 2018
On the basis of cultivation of four main GM crops – soybean, corn, cotton and canola, annual updated analysis shows that there continues to be very significant net economic benefits at the farm level amounting to $18.2 billion in 2016 and $186.1 billion for the period 1996–2016 (in nominal terms). These gains have been divided 48% to farmers in developed countries and 52% to farmers in developing countries.

Making healthy, cheap animal feeds
10 JUN 2018
Dr. Laura Pham, a chemist and food scientist from the University Researcher IV in the Oils and Fats Laboratory and Feeds and Specialty Products Laboratory of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (Biotech) of the University of the Philippines Los Baños in Laguna, developed copra meal (generally considered as waste) enriched with protein and mixed in animal feeds, making the livestock and fish healthy for human consumers.

Scientists develop early flowering transgenic mustard
07 JUN 2018
Scientists at Tata Energy Research Institute, India, developed an early flowering transgenic mustard variety. The research will help to develop a plant variety in mustard with shorter life cycle and with better yields through reduced exposure to the harsh climatic conditions in the fields.

 

Smart tech to help PHL achieve sustainable agri goals
07 JUN 18
The Philippines is promoting the adoption and practice of advanced technology and smart farming methods such vertical farming, micropropagation, cryopreservation and hydroponics, with the aim of developing technology to increase crop production and minimize losses.

 

These Indian farmers are using Whatsapp and Facebook to demand GM seeds technology
30 MAY 2018
Indian farmers are using social media to demand GM seeds of cotton. The Shetkari Sanghatana (Farmer organization) is organizing conferences for farmers and consumers to create awareness about GM seeds and its volunteers are also going directly to villages to speak to farmers about it. It will help the smallholder farmers to cut down the cost of cultivation and increase farmers’ income.

Simultaneous editing of two copies of Gh14-3-3d confers enhanced transgene-clean plant defense against Verticillium dahliae in allotetraploid upland cotton
30 MAY 2018
The CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system is a robust and highly efficient tool for generating target gene mutants, by which the genes of interest may be functionally dissected and applied through genotype-to-phenotype approaches. Using this new breeding method, Chinese scientists developed fungus-resistant cotton. These lines can be used as a germplasm to breed disease-resistant cotton varieties.

US FDA approves GMO Golden Rice as safe to eat
29 MAY 2018
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Golden Rice, marking the third positive international assessment for the genetically engineered biofortified crop. Previously, Food Standards Australia, New Zealand and Health Canada gave Golden Rice the stamp of approval in February and March 2018 respectively.

 

CRISPR-Edited Rice Plants Produce Major Boost in Grain Yield
29 MAY 2018
A team of scientists from Purdue University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has used CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology to develop a variety of rice that produces 25-31 percent more grain and would have been virtually impossible to create through traditional breeding methods.

 

The future of genetically modified crops in India
21 MAY 2018
Intellectual property rights in relation to plant varieties, including transgenic varieties, are the subject matter of protection under the provisions of the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Act, decided by Indian court. It may affects the investment by private sector in GM research and future of GM crops in India.

 

More sustainable potato production through extended IPM for late blight
15 MAY 2018
Cultivation of cisgenic or conventionally bred, late blight resistant potato varieties in combination with pathogen population monitoring and a “do not spray unless” strategy resulted in an 80 – 90% reduction of the fungicide use as compared to current common practice. A team of scientists from Wageningen University & Research andTeagasc – the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority published these findings in the scientific journal European Journal of Agronomy.

USDA’s hands-off approach to gene-edited crops could revolutionize research and development
15 MAY 2018
USDA does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques as long as they are not plant pests or developed using plant pests. The USDA’s recent decision to stay out of the business of regulating gene-edited crops could be a game changer for a sector long dominated by a handful of companies armed with massive research and development budgets.

Agricultural biotechnologies that improved safety, yields, food security in developing nations
02 MAY 2018
Genetic Literacy Project reports that agricultural biotechnologies has significant impact on food security and environmental safety developing countries including China, India and Pakistan.

 

Discovery of new genes in rice for abiotic stress-tolerance
25 APR 2018
A group of scientists from IRRI, the Institute of Crop Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), BGI-Shenzhen, and 13 other partner institutions, published a collaborative research that will enable scientists to discover new gene variants and characterize known genes for important traits, such as the natural ability of a particular variety to resist diseases and withstand floods, drought, and salty water. This study is recently published in Nature (doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0063-9).

Can genomics deliver climate-change ready crops?
21 APR 2018
This review summarizes how germplasm collections are utilized to identify superior alleles/haplotypes through NGS based sequencing approaches and how genomics-enabled technologies together with precise phenotyping are being used in crop breeding. Pre-breeding and genomics-assisted breeding approaches are contributing to the more efficient development of climate-resilient crops. 

South Asia Biosafety Program – April newsletter
APR 2018
Relevant news about biosafety regulation and policy developments in India and Bangladesh, as well as updates about the capacity building activities through the South Asia Biosafety Program are highlighted in this newsletter.

 

Late-blight resistant potatoes hold promise for farmers in Uganda and beyond
12 APR 2018
Late blight disease is a major constraint for potato production, costing farmers an estimated $3-$10 billion per year globally. Scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) decided to try genetic engineering to transfer genes that confer resistance to late blight in wild relatives of potato into potato varieties that are popular with farmers and consumers.

 

Plant scientists welcome the US decision to not regulate the gene edited crops
08 APR 2018
The US decision to not regulate the crops developed by gene editing method paves the way for generating genetically altered crops without major regulatory restrictions. This will also open new vistas for other countries in the world.

First Annual Crop Wild Relatives Week kicks off 
22-29 SEP 2018
The Crop Science Society of America is proud to host Crop Wild Relatives Week on September 22 – 29, 2018, to celebrate the contribution that these humble and hearty plants have made to increasing food security around the world. The collections of plants; the work being done to collect, conserve, characterize, and use them; and the importance of continuing to do so will be highlighted in blogs, web stories, and infographics. Online resources for anyone interested in learning more crop wild relatives can be found (https://www.crops.org/crop-wild-relative).

 

Crop wild relative week
22-29 SEP 2018
Crop Science Society of America celebrates ‘Crop Wild Relative (CWR) week’ during September 22-29, 2018. To learn more but in simple way through web blogs, video and other stories about CWR and its use in crop improvement programs, visit the above link.

 

Nitrogen fixation in a landrace of maize is supported by a mucilage-associated diazotrophic microbiota
07 AUG 2018
Hundreds years old corn landrace from Mexico has evolved in a way to make its own nitrogen, which could revolutionize farming.

 

 

Feeling the pulse: Towards better self-sufficiency in pulses in India
28 JUL 2018
Pulses are a key source of protein in most Indian diets and India is the biggest consumer of pulses in the world. Yet, with stagnation of production in spite of increase in demand, there has been an increasing demand-supply gap for pulses in India. A multi-pronged approach including quality seed availability and increased profitability for farmers can help India bridge this gap.

 

Saving the seed: A bank that secures the future of agriculture
12 JUL 2018
The RS Paroda Genebank at ICRISAT hosts 126,830 accessions collected from 144 countries. It is one of the largest international repositories of plant genetic resources. Each accession is now being accorded a globally unique and permanent identifier or Digital Object Identifier (DOI) just as is done for published research. DOI assignment guidelines have been issued by FAO and Treaty on September 23, 2016.

Likely change in biopiracy rules under Nagoya Protocol
06 JUL 2018
European scientists believe that a change in biopiracy rules in Nagoya protocol will hamper the research and even jeopardize the food safety in the long term. However, important issues and the spirit of the Protocol should remain intact as “everyone should benefit” from the use of the information.

 

CBD limits biodiversity research
29 JUNE 2018
Regulatory process under CBD framework unintentionally curtail the biodiversity research and limit the international collaboration amongst biodiversity-rich countries – an article published by Prathapan et al in Science. The views mentined in the article were endorsed by 172 co-signatories belonging to 35 countries.

 

Bacterial blight resistant rice variety developed
14 JUN 2018
Indian scientists inserted a bacterial blight resistant gene in popular rice variety, which is grown in 80,000 ha in India, through marker-assisted backcross breeding method.

 

Disrupting agricultural and tree biodiversity science – a review of Bioversity International’s 2017
22 MAY 2018
On the International Day of Biological Diversity, Bioversity International published its 2017 Annual Report. This report presents scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security.

 

APSA/WorldVeg Vegetable Breeding Consortium: Growing stronger with every new member
18 MAY 2018
The Asia & Pacific Seed Association (APSA)/World Vegetable Center Vegetable Breeding Consortium held its second annual workshop on 16-17 May 2017 in Shanhua, Taiwan. 32 seed companies from the Asia Pacific region joined the workshop, for two days of discussions, seminars, and in-field evaluations of various crops. 

 

PARC Organised Workshop on Plant Genetic Resources, Gene Bank Operations
07 MAY 2018
On May 8th, Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) and COMSTECH Secretariat, Islamabad organized an ‘International Workshop on Plant Genetic Resources and Gene bank Operations Management Systems’, to train 35 participants from OIC member states.

 

Brainstorming Meeting on Strategies for Implementation of ‘Delhi Declaration for Agrobiodiversity Management’ in India – Proceedings and Action Points
02 MAY 2018
A brainstorming meeting on Strategies for Implementation of ‘Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity Management’ was organized in India to chalk out a plan for effective implementation of the 12-point Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity Management, adopted by the 1st International Agrobiodiversity Congress (IAC 2016). This document summarizes the deliberations of the meeting and the proposed action plan for management of genetic resources in India to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Aichi targets.

Discovery of new genes in rice for abiotic stress-tolerance
25 APR 2018
A group of scientists from IRRI, the Institute of Crop Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), BGI-Shenzhen, and 13 other partner institutions, published a collaborative research that will enable scientists to discover new gene variants and characterize known genes for important traits, such as the natural ability of a particular variety to resist diseases and withstand floods, drought, and salty water. This study is recently published in Nature (doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0063-9).

Role of genomics in promoting the utilization of plant genetic resources in genebanks
23 APR 2018
It is estimated that about 1% of germplasm conserved in genebanks are utilized. Genomics has potential to revolutionize the utilization of genebank collections for having positive impact on food and nutritional security, concluded by Australian scientists.

 

Injecting diversity to bolster immunity to climate change and food insecurity
16 APR 2018
Agricultural biodiversity is essential for our survival and well-being. Much like the way vaccines work to protect human health, a rich diversity of species and varieties bolster agricultural production systems to be more resilient and in many cases even ‘immune’ to climate change and food insecurity. Bioversity International and its partners in Guatemala recently implemented one such diversity ‘injection’.

Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) labelling in plant genetic resources
02 APR 2018
Maintaining this relationship is particularly important when material from genebanks is used to develop new varieties, explains Matija Obreza, Genesys Information Systems Manager at the Crop Trust. The proper identification of parents via DOIs allows the use of the material to be tracked and that helps when determining the impact of genebank collections. DOIs also allow for automated discovery of publications by scanning the Internet for a specific DOI. It will also support the effective conservation and use of PGR in crop improvement programs.

APAARI participate in 3rdSenior Official Meetings of APEC Economies held at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
16 AUG 2018
Dr Rishi Tyagi, Coordinator, Asia-Pacific Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology and Bioresources (APCoAB), Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), participated in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (APEC HLPD AB),  22ndAgricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group(ATCWG) Meeting and ABAC Food Security Symposium, on August 6-9, 2018, held at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

APCoAB Coordinator visits Philippines research organizations
16 AUG 2018
Dr Rishi Tyagi, Coordinator, APCoAB, APAARI, visited Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources (DOST-PCAARRD), National Institute of Molecular Biology (NIMBB) and Biotechnology, and Science and Education for Agriculture and Development (SEARCA) at Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines, on August 13, 2018