Agriculture & crop technologies
2.3K views | +0 today
Follow
 
Rescooped by Jonathan Lapleau from Plant Pathogenomics
onto Agriculture & crop technologies
Scoop.it!

Trends In Genetics: Transposable Elements Direct The Coevolution Between Plants And Microbes

Trends In Genetics: Transposable Elements Direct The Coevolution Between Plants And Microbes | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

Transposable elements are powerful drivers of genome evolution in many eukaryotes. Although they are mostly considered as ‘selfish’ genetic elements, increasing evidence suggests that they contribute to genetic variability; particularly under stress conditions. Over the past few years, the role of transposable elements during host–microbe interactions has been recognised. It has been proposed that many pathogenic microbes have evolved a ‘two-speed’ genome with regions that show increased variability and that are enriched in transposable elements and pathogenicity-related genes. Plants similarly display structured genomes with transposable-element-rich regions that mediate accelerated evolution. Immune receptor genes typically reside in such regions. Various mechanisms have recently been identified through which transposable elements contribute to the coevolution between plants and their associated microbes.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
more...
No comment yet.
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

CRISPR Plants Won’t Be Regulated

CRISPR Plants Won’t Be Regulated | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

In a big win for the biotech industry, the US Department of Agriculture says it won’t regulate plants whose genomes have been altered using gene-editing technology.


Why it’s a field day: The decision means that we could see a boom in newfangled plants from firms like Monsanto, universities, and startups like Calyxt, whose oil-altered soybeans featured in our cover story late last year.


What changed? Under President Obama, the USDA laid out plans to regulate genetically edited plants for safety. But the Trump administration scuttled those rules. Now the USDA says these plants pose “no risk.”


Here’s the logic: The USDA says gene editing is just a (much) faster form of breeding. So long as a genetic alteration could have been bred into a plant, it won’t be regulated. That includes changes that create immunity to disease or natural resistance to crop chemicals, as well as edits to make seeds bigger and heavier. It doesn’t include transgenic plants (those with a gene from a distant species)—those will still be regulated.


Problems ahead: Trade in major crops is a global affair. Unless Europe and China agree with the US, exports of CRISPR plants could yet be blocked.

Jonathan Lapleau's insight:
That's one small step for biotechnologies, one giant leap for mankind
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Jonathan Lapleau from GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture
Scoop.it!

Translating High-Throughput Phenotyping Into Genetic Gain

Translating High-Throughput Phenotyping Into Genetic Gain | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it
Although the development of effective field-based high-throughput phenotyping remains a bottleneck for future breeding advances, particularly those related to yield potential and stress resilience, progress in sensors, aeronautics, and high-performance computing is paving the way.

The growing interest in affordable solutions for remote-sensing approaches as well as data management may facilitate technological adoption by breeders.

However, phenotyping is more than just choosing the correct selection traits, deployment tools, evaluation platforms, or basic data-management methods.

Trial management and spatial variability handling, definition of the key environmental conditions that are prevalent in the targeted regions, and the development of more comprehensive data management, including crop modeling, are components of the phenotyping pipeline that need to be taken into consideration.

Inability to efficiently implement high-throughput field phenotyping is increasingly perceived as a key component that limits genetic gain in breeding programs. Field phenotyping must be integrated into a wider context than just choosing the correct selection traits, deployment tools, evaluation platforms, or basic data-management methods. Phenotyping means more than conducting such activities in a resource-efficient manner; it also requires appropriate trial management and spatial variability handling, definition of key constraining conditions prevalent in the target population of environments, and the development of more comprehensive data management, including crop modeling. This review will provide a wide perspective on how field phenotyping is best implemented. It will also outline how to bridge the gap between breeders and ‘phenotypers’ in an effective manner.

Via Christophe Jacquet
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

'Solution For Problem That Doesn't Exist'? Australian Politicians Considering Compensation Fund To Cover 'Contamination' From GMO Crops

'Solution For Problem That Doesn't Exist'? Australian Politicians Considering Compensation Fund To Cover 'Contamination' From GMO Crops | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

THE lawyer who spearheaded Kojonup farmer Mike Baxter’s legal defence in the landmark legal test case over Genetically Modified (GM) crops has issued a stern warning about a political inquiry that’s considering setting-up a compensation fund for GM “contamination” in WA.


Brian Bradley of Bradley Bayley Legal says the inquiry is “looking for a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist”, based on the findings of the legal battle in the WA Supreme Court, as ruled by Justice Ken Martin in his 150-page judgment handed down in 2014 and confirmed by subsequent appeals.


Mr Bradley’s legal team won the litigation claim that was pursued by Mr Baxter’s neighbours, Steve and Sue Marsh, seeking compensation for losing their organic certification, when GM canola swaths were detected on their farm in late 2010.


Mr Bradley said the legal test-case cleared the GM farmer of any wrongdoing and showed GM canola was considered scientifically safe.


He said at trial, the defence called Dr Patrick Rudelsheim - an expert witness from Belgium - who gave evidence that GM canola wasn’t toxic or harmful and was incapable of causing any damage to people, animals or the land.


His evidence established that GM canola was incapable of cross-pollination with just about any other plant, except canola, and had a “remote chance” of cross pollination with some turnip varieties.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

Monsanto Glyphosate Class Action Suit Dealt Another Blow As Judge Says Evidence Of Cancer Link 'Pretty Sparse'

Monsanto Glyphosate Class Action Suit Dealt Another Blow As Judge Says Evidence Of Cancer Link 'Pretty Sparse' | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

A lawsuit claiming Monsanto Co.’s popular weed killer Roundup causes cancer was dealt a blow by a judge’s conclusions that the opinions of the experts testifying against it are "shaky," a potentially devastating development for the case getting to trial.


U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria is the first judge to weigh in on the toxicity of the world’s most popular herbicide, the subject of a heated debate among scientists and regulators worldwide for more than 30 years. Any key witnesses who are cut from the lineup may profoundly shape the outcome of more than 300 lawsuits collected before the judge -- all the cases in federal courts that seek to hold Monsanto liable for its failure to warn about the risks of using Roundup.


The San Francisco judge heard from about a dozen witnesses including toxicologists, statisticians and an oncologist. But he took an especially keen interest in a couple of epidemiologists who study how humans contract disease.


“I do have a difficult time understanding how an epidemiologist in the face of all the evidence that we saw and heard last week” can conclude that glyphosate “is in fact causing” non-Hodgkin lymphoma in human beings, he said [March 14]. “The evidence that glyphosate is currently causing NHL in human beings” at current exposure levels is “pretty sparse,” he said.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

GMO Rejectionism Appeals To Catastrophists And Conspiracy Minded

GMO Rejectionism Appeals To Catastrophists And Conspiracy Minded | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

Opponents to the GMO issue generally believe there is something sinister about how science “dangerously manipulates organisms” for use in agriculture ... They adamantly claim that GMOs are a cause of concern for the environment as well, despite overwhelming scientific research that shows otherwise. While it may be true that some concern, such as herbicide resistance in weeds and the involvement of multinationals, are not without risks, they are not specific to GMOs alone.


Talking about the dangers ... is appealing because if it were true that genetically modified organisms were a threat to human life it, might explain a plethora of unresolved issues, like claims that genetically modified organisms are responsible for mysterious and even assumed illnesses, or a culprit that negatively affects the environment. Liken it to any good conspiracy theory; it seems to explain the things we do not understand. Believing untrue claims about GMOs fits well into the fears of the misinformed; things we do not fully understand we seldom trust, and therefore do not support.


Dr. Sheri Jacobson is an accredited psychotherapist who says catastrophizing is what is known in psychology as a “cognitive distortion” — an habitual and unconscious way of thinking that something is not realistic and based instead on misperception. In the case of believing genetically modified organisms are the blight of scientific research, thinking it becomes a case of negative exaggeration, an antithesis, the refusal to believe what can scientifically be endorsed is a falsehood.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

Artificial Intelligence Poised To Revolutionize Farming

Artificial Intelligence Poised To Revolutionize Farming | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

Computer vision specialist Blue River Technology has developed a solution for [pesticide risk], using advanced machine learning algorithms to enable robots to make decisions, based on visual data (just as we would do ourselves) about whether or not a plant is a pest, and then deliver an accurate, measured blast of chemical pesticides to tackle the unwanted pests.


Farm equipment and services giant John Deere saw the potential of this development and acquired the start-up late last year and added it to the catalog of high tech, data-powered services it already offers its customers.


The large-scale mechanization of agriculture means that accurate data is available from the machines which spread seeds and harvest crops. Robots - such as those developed by Google-funded Abundant Robotics which suck ripe fruit from branches with vacuums -naturally record everything they do and every parameter of their operation. This structured machine data meshes well with unstructured data from meteorological or satellite imagery, and when filtered through AI algorithms will provide insights that more accurately predict yields and losses.


Of course, getting on-board with all these possibilities could prove challenging to some farmers who are more accustomed to running their businesses on grain silos than data silos.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

Field Studies Suggest Bee Health Issues Not Linked To Neonicotinoid Insecticides

Field Studies Suggest Bee Health Issues Not Linked To Neonicotinoid Insecticides | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

According to the European Union Food Safety Authority, most uses of neonicotinoids represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees. The report released [Feb. 28] comes out despite strong evidence that shows neonicotinoid pesticides are the least of concern when it comes to saving bees.


Researchers from the Universities of Wageningen, Ghent, and Amsterdam came to a different conclusion when they summarized 15 years of research on the hazards of neonicotinoids to bees for the first time. While many laboratory studies and other studies applying artificial exposure conditions described sublethal and other effects, no adverse effects to bee colonies were ever observed in field studies at field-realistic exposure conditions.


These findings are in line with many large-scale, multifactorial studies that were undertaken in the USA, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, and other countries. The studies have shown poor bee health is more often correlated with the presence of the Varroa mites, viruses, and many other factors, but not with the use of insecticides.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

China's 30-Year Agricultural Miracle : How 21 Million Chinese Boosted Yields And Cut Fertilizer Use

China's 30-Year Agricultural Miracle : How 21 Million Chinese Boosted Yields And Cut Fertilizer Use | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

Sustainably feeding a growing population is a grand challenge1,2,3, and one that is particularly difficult in regions that are dominated by smallholder farming. Despite local successes4,5,6,7,8, mobilizing vast smallholder communities with science- and evidence-based management practices to simultaneously address production and pollution problems has been infeasible. Here we report the outcome of concerted efforts in engaging millions of Chinese smallholder farmers to adopt enhanced management practices for greater yield and environmental performance. First, we conducted field trials across China’s major agroecological zones to develop locally applicable recommendations using a comprehensive decision-support program. Engaging farmers to adopt those recommendations involved the collaboration of a core network of 1,152 researchers with numerous extension agents and agribusiness personnel. From 2005 to 2015, about 20.9 million farmers in 452 counties adopted enhanced management practices in fields with a total of 37.7 million cumulative hectares over the years. Average yields (maize, rice and wheat) increased by 10.8–11.5%, generating a net grain output of 33 million tonnes (Mt). At the same time, application of nitrogen decreased by 14.7–18.1%, saving 1.2 Mt of nitrogen fertilizers. The increased grain output and decreased nitrogen fertilizer use were equivalent to US$12.2 billion. Estimated reactive nitrogen losses averaged 4.5–4.7 kg nitrogen per Megagram (Mg) with the intervention compared to 6.0–6.4 kg nitrogen per Mg without. Greenhouse gas emissions were 328 kg, 812 kg and 434 kg CO2 equivalent per Mg of maize, rice and wheat produced, respectively, compared to 422 kg, 941 kg and 549 kg CO2 equivalent per Mg without the intervention. On the basis of a large-scale survey (8.6 million farmer participants) and scenario analyses, we further demonstrate the potential impacts of implementing the enhanced management practices on China’s food security and sustainability outlook.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

40 Years Of Data Show Bt Corn Significantly Reduces Pests, Spraying And Crop Damage, Including In Nearby Non-GMO Fields

40 Years Of Data Show Bt Corn Significantly Reduces Pests, Spraying And Crop Damage, Including In Nearby Non-GMO Fields | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it
Area-wide Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) adoption suppresses pests regionally, with declines expanding beyond the planted Bt crops into other non-Bt crop fields. The offsite benefits to vegetable crops from such pest suppression have not been documented. We show that widespread Bt field corn adoption is strongly associated with marked decreases in the number of recommended insecticidal applications, insecticides applied, and damage to vegetable crops in the United States. These positive impacts to growers, including organic producers, in the agricultural landscape expands on known ecological effects of Bt adoption.

Transgenic crops containing the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) genes reduce pests and insecticide usage, promote biocontrol services, and economically benefit growers. Area-wide Bt adoption suppresses pests regionally, with declines expanding beyond the planted Bt crops into other non-Bt crop fields. However, the offsite benefits to growers of other crops from such regional suppression remain uncertain. With data spanning 1976–2016, we demonstrate that vegetable growers benefit via decreased crop damage and insecticide applications in relation to pest suppression in the Mid-Atlantic United States. We provide evidence for the regional suppression of Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner), European corn borer, and Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), corn earworm, populations in association with widespread Bt maize adoption (1996–2016) and decreased economic levels for injury in vegetable crops [peppers ( Capsicum annuum L.), green beans ( Phaseolus vulgaris L.), and sweet corn ( Zea mays L., convar. saccharata )] compared with the pre-Bt period (1976–1995). Moth populations of both species significantly declined in association with widespread Bt maize (field corn) adoption, even as increased temperatures buffered the population reduction. We show marked decreases in the number of recommended insecticidal applications, insecticides applied, and O. nubilalis damage in vegetable crops in association with widespread Bt maize adoption. These offsite benefits to vegetable growers in the agricultural landscape have not been previously documented, and the positive impacts identified here expand on the reported ecological effects of Bt adoption. Our results also underscore the need to account for offsite economic benefits of pest suppression, in addition to the direct economic benefits of Bt crops.
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Jonathan Lapleau from Plant pathogenic fungi
Scoop.it!

Tracing The Role Of Human Civilization In The Globalization Of Plant Pathogens

Tracing The Role Of Human Civilization In The Globalization Of Plant Pathogens | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it
Co-evolution between plants and parasites, including herbivores and pathogens, has arguably generated much of Earth’s biological diversity. Within an ecosystem, co-evolution of plants and pathogens is a stepwise reciprocal evolutionary interaction: epidemics result in intense selection pressures on both host and pathogen populations, ultimately allowing long-term persistence and ecosystem stability. Historically, plants, and pathogens evolved in unique regional assemblages, largely isolated from other assemblages by geographical barriers. When barriers are broken, non-indigenous pathogenic organisms are introduced into new environments, potentially finding suitable hosts lacking resistance genes and environments favouring pathogenic behavior; this process may result in epidemics of newly emerging diseases. Biological invasions are tightly linked to human activities and have been a constant feature throughout human history. Several pathways enable pathogens to enter new environments, the great majority being human mediated.

Via Ronny Kellner, Steve Marek
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

The Hidden Face of Rubisco

The Hidden Face of Rubisco | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) is a highly abundant chloroplast enzyme that fixes atmospheric CO2 into organic compounds. It is composed of eight copies of a large subunit (RbcL) and eight copies of a small subunit (RbcS).


Genes that encode a particular RbcS (named RbcS-T) have been recently discovered in several species from different plant phyla. They are phylogenetically distant from well-characterized genes encoding RbcS (named RbcS-M), which are typically expressed in mesophyll and bundle sheaths.


Biochemical characterization of RbcS-T-containing Rubisco has revealed higher catalytic activity, higher Km for CO2, and an acidic shift of the activity versus pH profile.


Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) fixes atmospheric CO2 into organic compounds and is composed of eight copies each of a large subunit (RbcL) and a small subunit (RbcS). Recent reports have revealed unusual RbcS, which are expressed in particular tissues and confer higher catalytic rate, lesser affinity for CO2, and a more acidic profile of the activity versus pH. The resulting Rubisco was proposed to be adapted to a high CO2 environment and recycle CO2 generated by the metabolism. These RbcS belong to a cluster named T (for trichome), phylogenetically distant from cluster M, which gathers well-characterized RbcS expressed in mesophyll or bundle-sheath tissues. Cluster T is largely represented in different plant phyla, including pteridophytes and bryophytes, indicating an ancient origin.


The T-type RbcS genes are widely spread, not only in seed plants, where they are mainly expressed in restricted tissues but also in pteridophytes and bryophytes, thus designating RbcS-T as an ancestral type in eukaryotes. The few reports on the biochemical characterization of RbcS-T containing Rubisco in land species revealed an enzyme with higher catalytic rate, lower CO2 affinity, and acidic shift of the activity versus pH profile. This suggests that the RbcS-T might adapt Rubisco to high CO2 concentration typically found in cell types where photosynthesis is low or absent but where intense metabolic pathways that generate CO2 take place (Figure 4). However, more experimental work with other seed species is required to generalize this hypothesis. In addition, biochemical analysis of T- and M-type Rubisco from pteridophytes and bryophytes is required to determine their respective roles in these ancient phyla. Sequence comparison of T- and M-type RbcS has pointed out several T-type-specific residues, some of which might interact with RbcL and be responsible for the modified activity. However, the 3D structure of a T-type Rubisco should be experimentally determined to further explore the particular structural features of this enzyme (see Outstanding Questions). As Rubisco is often the limiting step in photosynthesis, this enzyme has been a target for metabolic engineering (Box 1). It would therefore be interesting to determine whether T-type RbcS could be used to improve the catalytic properties of Rubisco.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

High-Efficient A·T to G·C Base Editing By Cas9n-Guided tRNA Adenosine Deaminase In Rice

High-Efficient A·T to G·C Base Editing By Cas9n-Guided tRNA Adenosine Deaminase In Rice | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it
In summary, we have successfully developed a fluore scence-tracking adenine base editor using the Cas9n-guided TadA:TadA7.10 he teodimer, efficiently and cleanly introducing a A to G conversion in rice. rB E14, together with the other rBE vectors in the same toolkit (Ren et al., 2017; Ren et al., 2018), facilitate generation of DNA variations in rice to a large extent for both g ene function study and rice improvement in the future.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

Peptide Aptamers To Inhibit Protein Function In Plants

Peptide Aptamers To Inhibit Protein Function In Plants | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

Peptide aptamers – artificial short peptides with specific binding affinity for target molecules – can be used to interfere with protein functions and protein–protein interactions in plant cells. Therefore, peptide aptamers have emerged as a new, powerful tool with high efficiency and specificity and wide applications in functional genomics and plant biotechnology.


Proteins are key players in the control of plant life and death; thus, the exploration of protein biological functions has attracted considerable attention. It has been demonstrated that altering or impairing the activity of a target protein can inform functional genomics and has broad applications in biotechnology. This perturbation can be achieved at the DNA, RNA, and protein level. At the DNA level, emerging genome-engineering tools, particularly CRISPR–Cas9-based methods, have been widely used to knock out or alter protein functions; at the RNA level, RNAi can be used to knock down protein expression by post-transcriptional mRNA silencing. However, these techniques affect protein functions by impairing gene structure or expression.


In recent years, artificial small molecules such as aptamers have emerged as effective techniques to directly affect protein function. The term aptamer, derived from the Latin aptus (fitting) and Greek meros (part), describes small molecules (proteins or nucleic acids) that are generated by combinatorial approaches and screened for specific binding to a target protein or other molecules. Nucleic acid aptamers are short (about 25–90 nt), single-stranded DNA or RNA sequences with typical structural motifs including stems, loops, purine-rich bulges, or hairpin structures and their biological functions depend on their length and environmental conditions. Nucleic acid aptamers are increasingly used for monitoring food safety and medical diagnostic applications, because of their specific binding characteristics and minimal modifications.


Peptide aptamers can also be applied to produce broad-spectrum viral resistance in plants. For example, based on the evolutionary conservation of the N-terminal protein of tospoviruses, Rudolph et al. generated Nicotiana benthamiana transgenic lines overexpressing a 29-amino-acid peptide that strongly interacts with the nucleocapsid proteins (N) of various tospoviruses; the transgenic plants display strong resistance to at least five viruses. Reyes et al. generated broad-spectrum antigeminivirus peptide aptamers that target a highly conserved replication initiator protein (Rep/AL1) in N. benthamiana. The authors further demonstrated that peptide aptamers can be extended to produce virus resistance in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum).

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

A Multi-Layered Mechanistic Modelling Approach To Understand How Effector Genes Extend Beyond Phytoplasma To Modulate Plant Hosts, Insect Vectors And The Environment

A Multi-Layered Mechanistic Modelling Approach To Understand How Effector Genes Extend Beyond Phytoplasma To Modulate Plant Hosts, Insect Vectors And The Environment | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it
Members of the Candidatus genus Phytoplasma are small bacterial pathogens that hijack their plant hosts via the secretion of virulence proteins (effectors) leading to a fascinating array of plant phenotypes, such as witch's brooms (stem proliferations) and phyllody (retrograde development of flowers into vegetative tissues). Phytoplasma depend on insect vectors for transmission, and interestingly, these insect vectors were found to be (in)directly attracted to plants with these phenotypes. Therefore, phytoplasma effectors appear to reprogram plant development and defence to lure insect vectors, similarly to social engineering malware, which employs tricks to lure people to infected computers and webpages. A multi-layered mechanistic modelling approach will enable a better understanding of how phytoplasma effector-mediated modulations of plant host development and insect vector behaviour contribute to phytoplasma spread, and ultimately to predict the long reach of phytoplasma effector genes.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

Scientists On Brink Of Overcoming Livestock Diseases Through Gene Editing

Scientists On Brink Of Overcoming Livestock Diseases Through Gene Editing | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

Farming is poised for a gene editing revolution that could overcome some of the world’s most serious livestock diseases, the UK’s top animal scientist has said.


Prof Eleanor Riley, director of the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, said new techniques will soon allow breeders to genetically engineer disease resilience and, in some cases, immunity into pedigree animals, saving farmers millions of pounds a year.


“Genes can be modified to massively increase resistance and resilience to infection,” she said. “The health and welfare benefits of this could be enormous.”


Roslin, one of a handful of sites in the world with the capacity for both gene editing and running animal trials, recently announced it had made pigs that appear to be completely immune to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV), also known as blue ear disease, which costs the swine industry £120m a year in pig deaths and expensive biosecurity. In a separate trial, Roslin is testing pigs designed to be resistant to African swine fever, a highly infectious disease that has recently swept across the Baltic countries and into Poland, causing alarm among farmers.


Riley, who took over as director in September, said the PRRSV-resistant pigs could be approved for use on farms within three to five years, if a trial that has just finished involving a dozen pigs confirms the animals are immune.

Jonathan Lapleau's insight:
Gene editing could all but end world's most serious livestock diseases
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

Anti-GMO Demonization Of Conventional Agriculture Has Consequences

Anti-GMO Demonization Of Conventional Agriculture Has Consequences | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

The negative rhetoric surrounding GMOs, big ag and non-organic food production is due for a reckoning. At some point, many will have to wake up to the reality that their beliefs on food are less rational than they are ideological. And that, in some cases, these beliefs are slowing food production worldwide.


“The average consumer may believe that organic is better, but that same person wants his or her tomatoes to last on the counter for an entire week,” said Juan Sabater, a tomato farmer in California. “Yeah, we give our fruits a chlorine bath before they hit the market. Otherwise they won’t look fresh the next day.”


This same farmer tosses into the trash about one third of his harvest because those tomatoes don’t meet the aesthetic demands of the same consumer who has no problem deriding him for using the synthetic pesticides or bleach solutions that make a shelf-life possible.


“People think that just because something is organic, it’s better,” said Sabater. “I know of some very toxic organic pesticides. Ones that are very poisonous.”

Jonathan Lapleau's insight:
Why the anti-GMO crowd can't have it both ways
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

Our Ancestors Played 'Genetic Roulette' In Crop Breeding While Modern Genetic Engineering Is 'Controlled And Conservative'

Our Ancestors Played 'Genetic Roulette' In Crop Breeding While Modern Genetic Engineering Is 'Controlled And Conservative' | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

As much as human history is the history of agriculture, it’s also the history of genetic modification of plants, animals and microbes — which enabled humanity to overcome the myriad obstacles they faced over the millennia. It is safe to say that, without systemic genetic modification of crops and livestock, civilization would not exist.


Critics of genetic engineering portray contemporary agricultural scientists as playing God — messing with nature in dangerous ways with unknown consequences. But in reality, the level of control these new tools give us demonstrates that it was our ancestors who were playing an unpredictable game of genetic roulette. Every time farmers and ranchers of yore bred a plant or animal from among domesticated stock, or crossed them with wild varieties, they created a genome entirely new to the planet.


In contrast, today’s genetically modified organisms are incredibly modest. They involve smaller, more carefully considered, controlled and conservative changes to DNA than were ever before possible in human history.

Jonathan Lapleau's insight:
How GMOs can save civilization (and probably already have)
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

Breakthrough Research Into How Glyphosate Resistance Evolves Might Lead To New Weed Control Strategies

Breakthrough Research Into How Glyphosate Resistance Evolves Might Lead To New Weed Control Strategies | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

Kansas State University researchers have discovered how weeds develop resistance to the popular herbicide glyphosate, a finding that could have broad future implications in agriculture and many other industries.


Their work is detailed in an article that appears in the March 12 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, known as PNAS and considered to be one of the most-cited journals for scientific research in the world.


“What we found that was new was how these weeds have evolved resistance to glyphosate in such a short time. If you look at the evolution of glyphosate resistance in Palmer amaranth, based on our research, it appears to have occurred very rapidly," [said Mithila Jugulam, a K-State weed scientist and co-author of the PNAS article].


Glyphosate – the key ingredient in the popular Roundup brand – is the herbicide that is widely used for controlling many weeds. But Jugulam notes that glyphosate resistance is becoming more prevalent in many states.


[Bikram Gill, director of Kansas State University’s Wheat Genetics Resource Center] said the indications are that once a weed has acquired eccDNA, the resistance may evolve as quickly as in one generation.


The research team notes that farmers should incorporate best management strategies – such as rotating herbicides and crops – to reduce weed pressure: “This may allow evolving resistance to dissipate as we know that these eccDNAs and ring chromosomes are unstable and can be lost in the absence of herbicide selection pressure,” Jugulam said.


“Glyphosate has a lot of good characteristics as an herbicide molecule,” she added. “The recommendations that K-State and many others are promoting is ‘do not abuse glyphosate.’ Use the recommended integrated weed management strategies so that we do not lose the option of using glyphosate for the sustainability of our agriculture.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

Europe Missed Out On GMO Biotech Revolution. What's Going To Happen With Gene Editing ?

Europe Missed Out On GMO Biotech Revolution. What's Going To Happen With Gene Editing ? | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

The European Union has the world’s most restrictive and cumbersome regulations on genetically modified (GM) crops. As a result, only two GM crops have ever been licensed for cultivation in Europe, and one of those, the Amflora potato, was subsequently withdrawn because the company that produced and marketed it, BASF, like many others, decided to walk away from crop biotech in Europe.


Europe risks missing out on a second crop biotechnology revolution.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

Study Of 54,000 Farmers Finding No Glyphosate-Cancer Link Could Sink Monsanto Lawsuit

Study Of 54,000 Farmers Finding No Glyphosate-Cancer Link Could Sink Monsanto Lawsuit | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

More than 300 lawsuits have been filed on behalf of farmers and others who said that Monsanto's popular weed killer, Roundup, gave them cancer.


All this was supposed to be evaluated back in December. But Laura Beene Freeman and her team changed those plans. She and her colleagues published a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute stating that among the 54,000 farmers studied, glyphosate did not appear to create an increased risk of almost any cancer.


Only one particular type of cancer, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), appeared to be linked to glyphosate. However, the link wasn’t considered “statistically significant.” David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the University of Cambridge, noted in a statement given to the U.K.’s Science Media Centre that the link was “no more than one would expect by chance when looking at 22 different cancer types.”


The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, said in 2015 that glyphosate probably could cause cancer in humans, though the evidence is still not conclusive. But a committee that included the World Health Organization said something a little different—specifically, that glyphosate on people's foods probably doesn't cause cancer.


While those assessments all relied on data and studies, few involved humans. “There are relatively few epidemiological studies of glyphosate and human cancer risk,” Beene Freeman said.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

Effects Of Long-Term Feeding With Genetically Modified Bt Rice On The Growth And Reproductive Performance In Highly Inbred Wuzhishan Pigs

Effects Of Long-Term Feeding With Genetically Modified Bt Rice On The Growth And Reproductive Performance In Highly Inbred Wuzhishan Pigs | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it
Highlights
• Safety of feeding with transgenic Bt rice was assessed in high inbred Wuzhishan pigs.
• No differences were found in growth indexes after long-term feeding with Bt rice.
• There were no adverse effects on reproductive performance after feeding with Bt rice.
• Feeding with Bt rice has no negative effects on indexes of hematology.
• No pathological abnormalities of main tissues were found after feeding with Bt rice.

Abstract
This study aimed to evaluate the safety of GM rice containing Cry1Ab protein (1.64mg/kg) as the main ingredient in the diet after 360 days of feeding in the highly inbred Wuzhishan pigs (WZSP). A total of 28 pigs aged 3 months were divided into two groups and fed with either non-GM (MH86 group, female n=7, male n=7) or GM rice (Bt group, female n=7, male n=7). The total dosage of Cry1Ab protein for female and male pigs was 0.972 and 0.963 mg/kg body weight by the end of final weighing date (D 75), respectively. The results showed that there were no differences in the average daily gain, average daily food intake, body weight, feed conversion ratio, oestrus cycle duration, oestrus period, litter size, serum steroids, or the birth and weaning weight of offspring between Bt and MH86 groups. All pigs (n=28) were sacrificed to collect tissues and blood samples for the analysis of relative organ weights, blood physiological and biochemical parameters and histopathological examinations. No significant differences existed in the tested indicators except that total protein was significantly higher in the MH86 compared to the Bt group (P < 0.05). In addition, the total bilirubin in the MH86 group was higher than the Bt group for females (P < 0.05), but no difference existed in males (P > 0.05). No pathologic abnormal changes were found from histopathological examinations of the main tissues. On the basis of these results, feeding with Bt rice for 360 days did not affect the growth, reproductive performance, hematology, or organ morphology in WZSP.
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Jonathan Lapleau from GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture
Scoop.it!

Crop Modification Techniques

Crop Modification Techniques | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it
To help educate people about the many methods that are used to generate new traits in plants, Biology Fortified has created an infographic on six different crop modification techniques, with examples of crops generated with each method. Six Crop Modification … Read More

Via NBT, Christophe Jacquet
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

Gene Expression Dominance in Allopolyploids : Hypotheses And Models

Gene Expression Dominance in Allopolyploids : Hypotheses And Models | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it

An increasing number of studies are addressing the molecular bases of nonadditive contributions of the two parents to allopolyploids.


Gene expression dominance can be a genome-wide trend called genome dominance, which leaves an evolutionary footprint.


The prevailing explanation for genome dominance is that the two genomes differ in their complements of TEs, which can repress nearby genes.


Regulatory mismatches between trans effectors and their target genes can contribute to gene expression dominance.


The classical example of nonadditive contributions of the two parents to allopolyploids is nucleolar dominance, which entails silencing of one parental set of ribosomal RNA genes. This has been observed for many other loci. The prevailing explanation for this genome-wide expression disparity is that the two merged genomes differ in their transposable element (TE) complement and in their level of TE-mediated repression of gene expression. Alternatively, and not exclusively, gene expression dominance may arise from mismatches between trans effectors and their targets. Here, we explore quantitative models of regulatory mismatches leading to gene expression dominance. We also suggest that, when pairs of merged genomes are similar from one allopolyploidization event to another, gene-level and genome dominance patterns should also be similar.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

Precise A·T to G·C Base Editing In The Rice Genome

Precise A·T to G·C Base Editing In The Rice Genome | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it
In summary, we have successfully developed adenine base editors in rice, thus broadening the genome engineering tools in plants. The adenine base editors described here can efficiently and specifically con vert target A· T to G· C in a programmable manner. Importantly, we did not find a ny indels or other base transition or transversion mutations in the target sites or po tential off-target sites that were sequenced. These characteristics make adenine base editing outperform of the cytidine deaminase-mediated C-T editing and HDR-mediated seq uence substitution. Moreover, we demonstrated that our adenine base editors can b e used for multiplex base editing with high efficiency. Thus multiple genes controlli ng different agronomic traits can be edited simultaneously in the future. Taken together , the adenine base editors described here together with other genome engineering tools w ill help to advance precision molecular breeding of crops.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Jonathan Lapleau
Scoop.it!

HMOD: An Omics Database For Herbal Medicine Plants

HMOD: An Omics Database For Herbal Medicine Plants | Agriculture & crop technologies | Scoop.it
More than 50% of drugs are derived from chemical compounds that have been isolated from various plants (Fabricant and Farnsworth, 2001; Yarnell and Abascal, 2002). With the development of sequencing technology and synthetic biology, we can obtain molecular information from the transcriptomic and genomic data of plants, and then utilize bacteria to synthesize desired chemical compounds (Atanasov et al., 2015; Smanski et al., 2016). Increasing numbers of researchers have started to publish omics data for herbal plants. There has been concern that redundant data generation might occur, with some researchers expressing a desire for an all-inclusive reliable omics database for herbal medicine plants. Establishing such a database is of great importance to help the study of the biogenesis and functions of herbal medicine plants (Li et al., 2016; Xu et al., 2016; Yan et al., 2015; Zhang et al., 2015). To date, several pharmacology databases of herbal medicine have been published, but no omics database is currently available to the public.

We have built the Herbal Medicine Omics Database (HMOD, Figure 1A, http://herbalplant.ynau.edu.cn/) to provide a reliable omics resource for all researchers. In this database, we have catalogued already published herbal medicine plant genomic, transcriptomic, pathways data and metabolomics information for use by the public, as well as unpublished transcriptomic and enzyme data identified from KEGG annotation. Moreover, a generic genome browser (Gbrowse) has been integrated to allowing the viewing of genome sequences. A BLAST tool is also provided in our database. To provide the latest advances and more analysis tools for herbal medicine plants, HMOD will be updated when new data are available (ftp://202.203.187.112:2222/).
more...
No comment yet.