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Grey Market: When nearly a million Indian farmers plant ‘unapproved’ GM cotton – September 28, 2017
A number of Indian farmers started growing herbicide-tolerant (HT) cotton in India, though government has not approved it as yet, as reported in leading English daily. If farmers have adopted HT cotton and reaping benefit of the technology, government need to consider for its approval rather farmers are growing it illegally.

CRISPER-CAS9 genome editing in microRNA of rice – September 6, 2017
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that play important roles in plant development and stress responses. Loss-of-function analysis of miRNA genes has been traditionally challenging due to lack of appropriate knockout tools. A group of scientists from China and US studied that single miRNA genes (OsMIR408 and OsMIR528) and miRNA gene families (miR815a/b/c and miR820a/b/c) in rice were targeted by CRISPR-CAS9. Our work not only provides empirical guidelines on targeting miRNAs with CRISPR-Cas9, but also brings new insights into miRNA function and complex cross-regulation in rice.

Genetically-modified wheat used to make coeliac-friendly bread- September 26, 2017
The group of scientists from Spain and USA developed gluten-free wheat using  CRISPER-CAS9 technology. The low-gluten, transgene-free wheat lines described here could be used to produce low gluten foodstuff and serve as source material to introgress this trait into elite wheat varieties.

“Imperatives of Global Climate Change for Agricultural Research in Asia-Pacific” – Strategy Paper by Dr. R.S. Paroda, Executive Secretary, APAARI and Chairman, TAAS
The major challenges in the twenty-first century are the rapid increase in the world population, the degradation of agricultural land and other natural resources and above all the emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that contribute to climate change.

“Intensive Efforts Needed for Food and Nutrition Security” – Chairman, Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS) and Former Director General, ICAR and Secretary, DARE
After Green Revolution, we thought that we had achieved self-sufficiency and solved our problem of food security. Somehow, the things have changed and there are many challenges and concerns that require our immediate attention.

Tsukuba Declaration on Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change
The last few years have witnessed a wide range of concerns on climate change and the challenges associated with it, particularly as highlighted in IPCC reports. Several thematic conferences, symposium, workshops have been organized globally and the topic well‐discussed.

“Strategy for increasing productivity growth rate in Agriculture”
To attain a sustained growth rate of 8% during XIth Five Year Plan, India must accelerate the pace of agricultural growth from the current around 1% to at least 4%. Hence, a Mission Program for Accelerating Productivity Growth Rate in Agriculture is called for as a matter of priority. It would, therefore, need a dynamic approach oriented towards focussed strategy which is well planned, coordinated and monitored. Business as usual will not work. Concerted efforts would be required for meeting the targets that are achievable but were not so well addressed in the past in a holistic manner.

Outputs from the FAO International Symposium on Agricultural Biotechnologies (18 July 2016)
The FAO international symposium on “The role of agricultural biotechnologies in sustainable food systems and nutrition” took place from 15 to 17 February 2016 at FAO headquarters, Rome. Its objective was to explore the application of biotechnologies for the benefit of family farmers in developing sustainable food systems and improving nutrition in the context of unprecedented challenges, including climate change.

FAO and ACP member states share strong focus on nutrition and climate change (15 April 2015)
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, in a speech today to the Committee of Ambassadors of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries, reiterated the Organization’s commitment to addressing food security and nutrition and also stressed the need to tackle as a high priority the impacts of climate change.

Healthy Food for a Healthy World: Climate change puts global nutrition at risk (1 April 2015)
The Chicago Council’s campaign, “Healthy Food for a Healthy World,” builds awareness about the important role food can play in promoting health and alleviating malnutrition. We publish a blog post weekly exploring these issues and the series will culminate in the release of a new Chicago Council report at the Global Food Security Symposium 2015 on April 16.

US FDA issues safety clearance for Innate potatoes and Arctic apples (25 March 2015)
US Food and Drug Administration completed the evaluation for Arctic apples and Innate potatoes. The FDA concluded that the biotech foods are as safe and nutritious as conventional varieties.  Arctic apples are genetically engineered to resist browning caused by cuts and bruises through reducing the amount of enzymes that cause browning.

2014-2015 Global Food Policy Report
This 2014–2015 Global Food Policy Report is the fourth in an annual series that provides a comprehensive overview of major food policy developments and events. In this report, distinguished researchers, policymakers, and practitioners review what happened in food policy in 2014 at the global, regional, and national levels, and—supported by the latest knowledge and research—explain why.

Giant gene banks take on disease (14 October 2014)
Early last year, three researchers set out to create one genetic data set to rule them all. The trio wanted to assemble the world’s most comprehensive catalogue of human genetic variation, a single reference database that would be useful to researchers hunting rare disease-causing genetic variants.

FAO: Good harvests and ample stockpiles continue to drive international food prices down (9 October 2014)
Food markets are more stable and prices for most agricultural commodities are sharply lower than they have been in recent years, according to the latest edition of FAO’s biannual Food Outlook report and a new update to the Organization’s monthly Food Price Index, both out today.

China to battle GMO crop fear from field to dinner table (9 October 2014)
The Chinese government is trying to convince Zhou Guangxiu that the corn in the congee she wants to feed her son is safe. That may not be easy. Zhou, the owner of a recycling business in the northeast coastal city of Weihai, said one source of her concern was an anonymous article shared online by her friends that alleges genetically modified crops cause infertility in Asians, part of a U.S. ploy against China. She fears her 21-year-old son won’t have his own family if she feeds him the corn-meal porridge.

UN meeting agrees on decisions to advance the implementation of the International Agreement on the safe use of living modified organisms
Parties to the Cartagena Protocol also agreed to continue to identify living modified organisms intended for direct use as food or feed, or for processing that are subject to transboundary movement.

2nd Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference
The South Asia Biosafety Program (SABP), the ILSI Research Foundation, the Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL) and the Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy (MERE), Sri Lanka, with support from the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences, and the Pakistan Academy of Sciences, organized the 2nd Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference in Colombo from 15-16 September 2014.

FAO calls for “paradigm shift” towards sustainable agriculture and family farming (29 September 2014)
Policy makers should support a broad array of approaches to overhauling global food systems, making them healthier and more sustainable while acknowledging that “we cannot rely on an input intensive model to increase production and that the solutions of the past have shown their limits,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today in his opening remarks to the 24th session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG).

Mixed results for yellow cassava’s vitamin A trial (28 July 2014)
Eating yellow cassava bred to be richer in beta-carotene increased the level of vitamin A in children’s blood by only a small amount, according to new results. But some experts, including the scientist leading the trial, say there is potential for growing yellow cassava in Africa and parts of Asia to correct vitamin A deficiency — which leads to blindness and death in many thousands of children.

European scientists call for GMO legislation revamp to prevent stifling genome editing (25 July 2014)
Scientists are calling for a reform of the regulations governing genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe in order to accommodate the latest advances in a nascent technology, genome editing. A powerful technology that allows researchers to make minute changes to crops with pinpoint accuracy, genome editing could be stifled if the European Commission lumps it together with conventional GM technology that faces significant regulatory barriers, according to the scientists.

GM’s potential in Africa impeded by ‘dysfunctional debate’ (23 July 2014)
Opportunities to enhance crop yields and reduce poverty in Africa are being lost because of a “polarised public debate” on the continent, according to a report released this week (21 July) by international policy institute Chatham House.

ISAAA Brief 47: The Status of Commercialized Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh (23 July2014)
ISAAA releases the latest Brief 47: The Status of Commercialized Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh. Brief 47 presents a thorough review and analysis of the deregulation of Bt brinjal in Bangladesh – from the scientific and biosafety assessment and commercial release to the planting of Bt brinjal by farmers in Bangladesh.

Gene edits boost wheat defences ( 23 July 2014)
Researchers have used advanced gene-editing techniques to generate disease-resistant wheat. Genetically altering Triticum aestivum wheat is difficult to do, in part because the plant has six sets of chromosomes instead of the two sets found in humans. So Caixia Gao and Jin-Long Qiu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and their colleagues used two gene-editing approaches — TALEN enzymes and the CRISPR–Cas9 system — to disable a gene called MLO in all of the plants’ chromosomes.

Cutting down crop waste could feed 3 billion (21 July 2014)
Feeding the world sustainably is a global challenge. But reforming food production in only a few regions could increase crop yields enough to feed an extra 3 billion people and reduce damage to the environment, researchers report today in Science1.

Fiendish wheat genome reveals grain’s history
A draft genome sequence of wheat promises to speed efforts to breed new types of one of the world’s most important crops — and to reveal the tangled genomic history of an ancient staple. In a suite of papers published today in Science1–4, the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium has unveiled initial portraits of the genome from Triticum aestivum, better known as bread wheat.

A chromosome-based draft sequence of the hexaploid bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) genome (18 July 2014)
An ordered draft sequence of the 17-gigabase hexaploid bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) genome has been produced by sequencing isolated chromosome arms. We have annotated 124,201 gene loci distributed nearly evenly across the homeologous chromosomes and subgenomes.

Money fails to flow into seed Treaty’s benefit fund (18 July 2014)
A shortfall in funding is threatening the future of an international treaty on sharing benefits from plant genetic resources, known as the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA).

Agricultural biotechnology investment booming in China (28 May 2014)
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, China is expected to remain a significant importer of biotech products and may become an exporter of biotechnology in the medium to long term.

ISAAA Crop Biotech Updated (28 May 2014)
A weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA).

GMO science denialists? ENSSER challenges WHO, National Academy of Sciences on GM safety (27 May 2014)
Scientists and science journalists just shook their heads in bewilderment. Pollan had just tweeted a news release issued by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility, better known by its acronym. ENSSER certainly has an impressive sounding title, but that disguises a questionable agenda, say scientists—one that Pollan and other journalists are certainly acquainted with.

Smallholder farmers ‘left out of most R&D’ (23 May 2014)
[VIENNA] Smallholder farmers must be more involved in the research process to meet farmers’ needs and maximise its development impact, a meeting has heard. Individual subsistence farmers and farm organisations that represent their interests are a vital but underused link in the research and development (R&D) chain, experts said earlier this month (5-8 May) at the first meeting of Agrinatura, an alliance of 31 European universities working in agricultural research, in Austria.

Uproar as anti-GM activists acquitted in France (21 May 2014)
French scientists are up in arms over the recent court acquittal of 54 activists who destroyed 70 experimental genetically modified (GM) grapevines in eastern France in August 2010. Twelve leading research agencies and university organizations released a joint statement on Monday expressing their “serious concern” over the consequences of the Colmar Appeal Court’s decision to throw out the case, and urging clarification of the relevant laws and regulations.

G8 and FAO’s open-agriculture projects set to join forces (14 May 2014)
 Interest in ensuring the openness of agricultural and nutritional data is gaining momentum and two major initiatives working to facilitate their accessibility are considering joining forces, a meeting has heard.

PG Economics: GM crop use continues to benefit the environment and farmers (6 May 2014)
‘In the 17th year of widespread adoption, crops developed through genetic modification delivered more environmentally friendly farming practices while providing clear improvements to farmer productivity and income’ said Graham Brookes, director of PG Economics, co-author of the report. ‘Half of the farm income gains and the majority of the environmental gains associated with changes in pesticide use and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions occurred in developing countries’

Influenza and the Live Poultry Trade (18 April 2014)
Live poultry trade at local markets has long been a part of China’s national identity. From small villages to big cities, the gathering and selling of different birds in this vibrant atmosphere is at the heart of the country’s cuisine culture. Unfortunately, the backdrop to this tradition has changed.

Trial of GM plants to help fight heart disease given go-ahead (17 April 2014)
Scientists have been given permission to grow genetically modified plants that could help protect against heart disease. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has given the go-ahead for the field trial of a crop of GM camelina plants, the seeds of which are modified to produce fish oils.

Predicting biodiversity change and averting collapse in agricultural landscapesYear published (16 April 2014)
The equilibrium theory of island biogeography1 is the basis for estimating extinction rates2 and a pillar of conservation science3,4. The default strategy for conserving biodiversity is the designation of nature reserves, treated as islands in an inhospitable sea of human activity.

French parliament bans cultivation of GM maize (15 April 2014)
France’s lower house of parliament adopted a law on Tuesday prohibiting the cultivation of any variety of genetically modified maize, saying it posed a risk to the environment. France adopted a decree last month to halt the planting of Monsanto’s insect-resistant MON810 maize, the only GM crop allowed for cultivation in the European Union.

ISAAA: Bt Brinjal Short Video “Bt Brinjal — Safer, Better & Affordable” (15 April 2014)
“Bt Brinjal — Safer, Better & Affordable” captures the diverse views of experts, farmers and consumers on Bt brinjal in India. The key stakeholders navigate the viewers through the confusing myths of science, safety, regulation and economics of Bt brinjal for the Indian society to make informed choice on this technological breakthrough based on evidence rather than rhetoric.

Novel plant biotechnology approach for sustainable production of pharmaceutical compounds (8 April 2014)
European scientists have made ground-breaking discoveries for improving the efficiency of the production of pharmaceuticals through plant biotechnology. Biotechnological production offers a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to the chemical synthesis of rare and complex pharmaceutical compounds currently isolated from plants. The results have been achieved in the European SmartCell project coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Sustainable food production: Facts and figures
Advances in agricultural science and technology (S&T) have contributed to remarkable increases in food production since the mid-twentieth century. Global agriculture has grown 2.5–3 times over the last 50 years.