GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture
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GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture
Site with information in English and French, used for teaching and educational purposes. Information about sustainable development, mainly related to agriculture, as well as assessment of [CO2] and climate change impact on plants;  or methods to decrease the use or the amount of  pesticides will be included on this site. Because biotechnologies are a part of the answer to these agricultural challenges, information about GMOs will be largely reported here.
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Rescooped by Christophe Jacquet from Ag Biotech News
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The future of CRISPR technologies in agriculture - Nature Rev (2018) 

Conventional plant breeding is unlikely to meet increasing food demands and other environmental challenges. By contrast, CRISPR technology is erasing barriers to genome editing and could revolutionize plant breeding. However, to fully benefit from the CRISPR revolution, we should focus on resolving its technical and regulatory uncertainties...

The biggest potential pitfall for the use of CRISPR technologies in agriculture is not scientific but public acceptance and government regulation. The majority of expected uses would produce ‘nature-identical’ traits... that could also be derived by conventional plant breeding... Such uses can easily be distinguished so that nature-identical CRISPR applications would not need to be equated with genetically modified organisms.

Despite this, confidence in applying CRISPR tools in agriculture remains limited owing to the uncertain global regulatory environment. Overcoming this will require a political willingness to establish a clear position on CRISPR technologies and striving for some form of consistency among countries...

Providing transparency to CRISPR breeding methods... would be crucial for gaining public trust and influencing regulatory policies that are evolving to govern the use of CRISPR technologies in agriculture. What has been achieved so far with CRISPR technologies is just the tip of the iceberg.

A sustainable future for agriculture can now be imagined using this new powerful plant breeding tool. With that comes a responsibility to continue to resolve both the scientific and public concerns regarding its usage.

http://doi.org/10.1038/nrm.2018.2


Via Alexander J. Stein
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Are GM Crops for Yield and Resilience Possible?

Are GM Crops for Yield and Resilience Possible? | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it
Crop yield improvements need to accelerate to avoid future food insecurity. Outside Europe, genetically modified (GM) crops for herbicide- and insect-resistance have been transformative in agriculture; other traits have also come to market. However, GM of yield potential and stress resilience has yet to impact on food security. Genes have been identified for yield such as grain number, size, leaf growth, resource allocation, and signaling for drought tolerance, but there is only one commercialized drought-tolerant GM variety. For GM and genome editing to impact on yield and resilience there is a need to understand yield-determining processes in a cell and developmental context combined with evaluation in the grower environment. We highlight a sugar signaling mechanism as a paradigm for this approach.
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Arabidopsis Novel Glycine-Rich Plasma Membrane PSS1 Protein Enhances Disease Resistance in Transgenic Soybean Plants

Arabidopsis Novel Glycine-Rich Plasma Membrane PSS1 Protein Enhances Disease Resistance in Transgenic Soybean Plants | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it
Nonhost resistance is defined as the immunity of a plant species to all nonadapted pathogen species. Arabidopsis ( Arabidopsis thaliana ) ecotype Columbia-0 is nonhost to the oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora sojae and the fungal plant pathogen Fusarium virguliforme that are pathogenic to soybean ( Glycine max ). Previously, we reported generating the pss1 mutation in the pen1-1 genetic background as well as genetic mapping and characterization of the Arabidopsis nonhost resistance Phytophthora sojae -susceptible gene locus, PSS1 . In this study, we identified six candidate PSS1 genes by comparing single-nucleotide polymorphisms of (1) the bulked DNA sample of seven F2:3 families homozygous for the pss1 allele and (2) the pen1-1 mutant with Columbia-0. Analyses of T-DNA insertion mutants for each of these candidate PSS1 genes identified the At3g59640 gene encoding a glycine-rich protein as the putative PSS1 gene. Later, complementation analysis confirmed the identity of At3g59640 as the PSS1 gene. PSS1 is induced following P. sojae infection as well as expressed in an organ-specific manner. Coexpression analysis of the available transcriptomic data followed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction suggested that PSS1 is coregulated with ATG8a ( At4g21980 ), a core gene in autophagy. PSS1 contains a predicted single membrane-spanning domain. Subcellular localization study indicated that it is an integral plasma membrane protein. Sequence analysis suggested that soybean is unlikely to contain a PSS1-like defense function. Following the introduction of PSS1 into the soybean cultivar Williams 82, the transgenic plants exhibited enhanced resistance to F. virguliforme , the pathogen that causes sudden death syndrome.
Plant Science's curator insight, January 14, 2018 4:00 AM
Sometimes, we do not have to go far to find good resistance genes : an Arabidopsis gene can improve disease tolerance in Soybean. This could help improve soybeans yields worldwide and is also another good example of resistance enhancement using GM technology.
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Les services écosystémiques rendus par les habitats semi-naturels

Les services écosystémiques rendus par les habitats semi-naturels | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it

Le document “Quantifier les services écosystémiques rendus par les habitats semi-naturels”, paru fin d’année 2017, présente des résultats et recommandations concrètes en la matière, mais aussi en terme de méthodologie et d’évaluation.

Éditée par le groupe de travail QuESSA (http://www.quessa.eu/), dans le cadre d’un projet européen, cette synthèse est destinée aux agriculteurs, conseillers agricoles, enseignants et décideurs publics.

Des résultats et recommandations par couple culture-service y sont par exemple présentés :

- Pollinisation et régulation biologique des pucerons sur potiron : importance de la lutte biologique par conservation et des bandes fleuries.


- Pollinisation et régulation biologique du méligèthe du colza : venez y découvrir en exclusivité les synergies entre ces 2 services !


- Régulation biologique de la mouche de l’olive : important rôle des araignées et de la conduite de la culture.

 

Brochure-QuESSA-Web-VF-Quantifier-services-ecosystemiques-rendus-par-habitats-semi-naturels.pdf
https://www.herbea.org/fr/downloads/6495/Brochure-QuESSA-Web-VF-Quantifier-services-ecosystemiques-rendus-par-habitats-semi-naturels.pdf

 



Via Bernadette Cassel
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With A Free Pass, CRISPR-Edited Plants Reach Market In Record Time

With A Free Pass, CRISPR-Edited Plants Reach Market In Record Time | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it

CRISPR–Cas9-edited plants can be culti- vated and sold free from regulation, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is mak- ing increasingly clear. The agency gave a free pass to Camelina sativa , or false flax, with enhanced omega-3 oil. And more recently, in October, said that a drought-tolerant soybean variety developed with CRISPR falls outside of its regulatory purview. This laissez faire attitude from the agency shaves years and tens of millions of dollars off the cost of bringing a biotech plant to market. “It eliminates that huge barrier to entry for agbiotech companies,” says Oliver Peoples, CEO of Woburn, Massachusetts– based Yield10 Bioscience (formerly Metabolix) which developed the camelina. 


It would have taken Yield10 at least six years and $30–50 million to test and col- lect the data necessary to bring genetically engineered camelina through the full USDA regulatory process, says Peoples. “We did this in two years and [USDA’s decision] took two months, and I assure you we didn’t spend $30 million on it,” he says. The company will present its technology to the US Food and Drug Administration’s voluntary review process, he says.


The USDA’s change in attitude toward genetic engineering came with the arrival of new technologies to modify plants. Unlike transgenic plants modified using older technologies, plants modified with CRISPR–Cas9 and other new gene editing techniques do not require USDA oversight because the resulting plants don’t contain DNA from “plant pests” such as viruses or bacteria. Such organisms were a necessary component in early plant modification tools, such as Agrobacterium -mediated transfor - mation, and triggered regulatory oversight when the US government in the 1980s and 1990s wrote its framework for regulating biotech crops. Although the USDA recently reviewed the old biotech framework, so far, the agency has not broadened the regulatory net to catch organisms made with the newer techniques.


Via Loïc Lepiniec, Plant Science
Plant Science's curator insight, January 11, 2018 7:34 AM
CRISPR crops are developing so fast ! This is a good news for agriculture and consumers. But unfortunately, not in Europe...
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Infographie - L'agriculture Bio

Infographie - L'agriculture Bio | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it

Via Agriculture Nouvelle
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Concentration et changement technique dans l'industrie mondiale des semences par S. BONNY - Agro Perspectives - Agronomie - Diffusion des techniques innovantes en agriculture

Concentration et changement technique dans l'industrie mondiale des semences par S. BONNY - Agro Perspectives - Agronomie - Diffusion des techniques innovantes en agriculture | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it
La concentration du secteur semencier durant les dernières décennies et en 2015-2017 préoccupe de nombreux acteurs. Ils s'inquiètent de ses conséquences sur le prix et la diversité des semences, ainsi que du pouvoir alimentaire acquis par les plus grandes firmes du domaine. Cependant le secteur des semences est plutôt mal connu. Aussi est-il utile de chercher à mieux le connaitre et à explorer les impacts possibles de la concentration accrue sur la chaîne agroalimentaire. Un article en accès libre vient de paraitre à ce sujet dans la revue scientifique à comité de lecture SUSTAINABILITY. Il dresse un panorama du secteur mondial des semences et de sa grande diversité en apportant de nombreux éléments chiffrés et des données en la matière. Il présente également l'évolution technologique du secteur et les enjeux liés. Puis il examine les points de vue des différents types d'acteurs sur le mouvement de concentration en cours. Les analyses opposées sur ses effets paraissent liées aux controverses sur l'orientation que l'agriculture doit prendre pour faire face aux multiples enjeux du 21ème siècle, les uns prônant une agriculture high-tech, d'autres des orientations plus paysannes et agroécologiques.
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Balancing Immunity and Yield in Crop Plants - ScienceDirect

Balancing Immunity and Yield in Crop Plants - ScienceDirect | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it
Crop diseases cause enormous yield losses and threaten global food[ED1] security. The use of highly resistant cultivars can effectively control plant diseases, but in crops, genetic immunity to disease often comes with an unintended reduction in growth and yield. Here, we review recent advances in understanding how nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich repeat (NLR) receptors and cell wall-associated kinase (WAK) proteins function in balancing immunity and yield. We also discuss the role of plant hormones and transcription factors in regulating the trade-offs between plant growth and immunity. Finally, we describe how a novel mechanism of translational control of defense proteins can enhance immunity without the reduction in fitness.
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New Phytologist: Sugar flux and signaling in plant‐microbe interactions (2017)

New Phytologist: Sugar flux and signaling in plant‐microbe interactions (2017) | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it

Plant breeders have developed crop plants that are resistant to pests, but the continual evolution of pathogens creates the need to iteratively develop new control strategies. Molecular tools have allowed us to gain deep insights into disease responses, allowing for more efficient, rational engineering of crops that are more robust or resistant to a greater number of pathogen variants. Here we describe the roles in disease progress of SWEET and STP transporters, which are membrane proteins that mediate transport of sugars across the plasma membrane. We discuss how these transporters may enhance or restrict disease through controlling the level of nutrients provided to pathogens and if the transporters play a role in sugar signaling for disease resistance. This review indicates open questions that require further research and proposes the use of genome editing technologies for engineering disease resistance.


Via Ricardo Oliva, Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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A modern Green Revolution gene for reduced height in wheat

A modern Green Revolution gene for reduced height in wheat | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it
Increases in the yield of wheat during the Green Revolution of the late 20th century were achieved through the introduction of Reduced height (Rht) dwarfing genes. The Rht-B1 and Rht-D1 loci ensured short stature by limiting the response to the growth-promoting hormone gibberellin, and are now widespread through international breeding programs. Despite this advantage, interference with the plant's response to gibberellin also triggers adverse effects for a range of important agronomic traits, and consequently modern Green Revolution genes are urgently required. In this study, we revisited the genetic control of wheat height using an association mapping approach and a large panel of 1110 worldwide winter wheat cultivars. This led to the identification of a major Rht locus on chromosome 6A, Rht24, which substantially reduces plant height alone as well as in combination with Rht-1b alleles. Remarkably, behind Rht-D1, Rht24 was the second most important locus for reduced height, explaining 15.0% of the genotypic variance and exerting an allele substitution effect of –8.8 cm. Unlike the two Rht-1b alleles, plants carrying Rht24 remain sensitive to gibberellic acid treatment. Rht24 appears in breeding programs from all countries of origin investigated, with increased frequency over the last decades, indicating that wheat breeders have actively selected for this locus. Taken together, this study reveals Rht24 as an important Rht gene of commercial relevance in worldwide wheat breeding.
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Tough GC beats transgene silencing

Tough GC beats transgene silencing | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it
Solid genetic and genomic data now reveal that high guanine–cytosine content can prevent transgenes from RNA silencing, and enhance expression and transgenerational stability.

Modern agriculture and synthetic biology increasingly rely on transgenic approaches. Numerous strategies have been applied to increase transgene yield, including implementation of strong regulatory elements, synthesis of plant-favoured codons, and sorting of products to designated organelles, among others. Such strategies often prove fruitful, but in many cases they encounter RNA silencing — a major obstacle that causes poor production and transgenerational instability of transgenes. In this issue of Nature Plants, Sidorenko et al. present intriguing results and provide a promising prescription to cure this obstinate headache1.
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Rice so nice it was domesticated thrice

Rice so nice it was domesticated thrice | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it
Rice is unique among wild plants for having been domesticated independently on three continents: Asia, Africa, and now South America, researchers have discovered. The New World variety, tamed about 4000 years ago, apparently was abandoned after Europeans arrived. But its genetic legacy could potentially help improve Oryza sativa, the Asian rice species that is now a dietary staple for half the world’s population.

Despite widespread consumption of wild rice by indigenous peoples, scant evidence supported the grain’s domestication in the New World. But botanists have become increasingly adept at analyzing phytoliths, microscopic bits of silica drawn from the soil that accumulate in the tissues of plants as they grow. Phytoliths persist after the vegetation decays and scientists can decipher, from their shapes, the genus and sometimes the species of plant in which they formed and whether they came from the stalk, leaves, or seeds.

A group led by archaeobotanist José Iriarte of the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom examined 320 rice phytoliths recovered from a trench at Monte Castelo, an archaeological site in the southwestern Amazon basin in Brazil that was occupied for millennia: from more than 9000 years ago into the 14th century. The phytoliths increased in size and number from the oldest layers of the dig to the youngest, indicating that “wild rice was modified by human intervention to produce larger grains,” the authors conclude in a paper published online this week in Nature Ecology & Evolution. It’s “another proof of the ingenuity of Native American plant breeders,” Iriarte says.
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CIAG - Légumineuses - Volume 60 / Octobre 2017

CIAG - Légumineuses - Volume 60 / Octobre 2017 | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it
Différentes sessions ont permis de faire le point sur les grands verrous et leviers actuels au développement des légumineuses pour l’alimentation humaine et animale, allant du niveau très organisationnel des politiques et filières, passant par les leviers en culture qui permettraient une augmentation des volumes de production (nouveaux systèmes de culture, variétés, efficience des symbioses), jusqu’aux aspects de qualité des produits bruts ou des procédés de transformation qui peuvent améliorer la valeur nutritionnelle ou santé et apporter de la valeur ajoutée (nouveaux systèmes de production et variétés, nouveaux produits dans l’alimentation humaine ou dans les systèmes d’élevage).
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Frontiers | Tobacco BY-2 Media Component Optimization for a Cost-Efficient Recombinant Protein Production | Plant Science

Frontiers | Tobacco BY-2 Media Component Optimization for a Cost-Efficient Recombinant Protein Production | Plant Science | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it
Plant cells constitute an attractive platform for production of recombinant proteins as more and more animal-free products and processes are desired. One of the challenges in using plant cells as production hosts has been the costs deriving from expensive culture medium components. In this work, the aim was to optimize the levels of most expensive components in the nutrient medium without compromising the accumulation of biomass and recombinant protein yields. Wild-type BY-2 culture and transgenic tobacco BY-2 expressing green fluorescent protein–Hydrophobin I (GFP-HFBI) fusion protein were used to determine the most inexpensive medium composition. One particularly high-accumulating BY-2 clone, named ‘Hulk,’ produced 1.1 ± 0.2 g/l GFP-HFBI in suspension and kept its high performance during prolonged subculturing. In addition, both cultures were successfully cryopreserved enabling truly industrial application of this plant cell host. With the optimized culture medium, 43–55% cost reduction with regard to biomass and up to 69% reduction with regard to recombinant protein production was achieved.
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Can We Use Entomopathogenic Fungi As Endophytes For Dual Biological Control Of Insect Pests And Plant Pathogens ?

Can We Use Entomopathogenic Fungi As Endophytes For Dual Biological Control Of Insect Pests And Plant Pathogens ? | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it
Highlights
• Fungal entomopathogens as endophytes are garnering increased research attention.
• These agents have a promising potential for biocontrol of insect and pathogen pests.
• Consistent plant colonization must be established to achieve endophytic protection.
• Interaction with other endophytes should be considered to attain optimal efficacy.
• Elucidating modes of action is essential to realize their full biocontrol potential.

An increasing number of recent studies demonstrate that entomopathogenic fungi, often solely considered as insect pathogens, play additional roles in nature, including endophytism, plant disease antagonism, plant growth promotion, and rhizosphere colonization. These newly emerging, but not yet fully understood, ecological roles hint at the possibility that we have been overlooking important attributes in our quest to develop fungal entomopathogens exclusively as inundative biopesticides against insect and other arthropod pests. Such additional roles recently-discovered to be played by entomopathogenic fungi provide opportunities for the multiple use of these fungi in integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. Of particular interest is the ability displayed by various genera of entomopathogenic fungi to colonize a wide variety of plant species in different families, both naturally and artificially following inoculation, and confer protection against not only insect pests but also plant pathogens. This article reviews the literature currently available on the endophytic colonization of different host plants by fungal entomopathogens, and summarizes the negative effects of such colonization on insect pests and plant pathogens that have been reported to date. It also addresses the possible mechanisms of protection conferred by endophytic fungal entomopathogens and explores the potential use of these fungi as dual microbial control agents against both insect and pathogen pests. Moreover, interactions amongst endophytic fungal entomopathogens and other endophytes are discussed. Finally, current limitations and future research directions for the innovative use of endophytic fungal entomopathogens as dual microbial control agents are summarized.

Via Plant Science, Steve Marek
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Gene-edited soybeans and other foods avoid GMO regulations – and perhaps the whole frankenfood debate - Tech Rev (2017) 

Gene-edited soybeans and other foods avoid GMO regulations – and perhaps the whole frankenfood debate - Tech Rev (2017)  | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it

CRISPR and Talen are giving plant scientists a fast and cheap new way to create genetically modified foods. Decades of fretting over the safety and virtue of genetically modified organisms have led to a perverse outcome. Plant scientists in academia and startup companies have largely shied away from creating new GM crop varieties because it takes, on average, more than a hundred million dollars and over a decade to get such a plant approved by regulators in the United States, and also because the idea of GMO food has elicited public outrage. As a result, a few large agricultural and chemical producers like ­Monsanto... dominate the GM industry, making a killing off herbicide- and insect-resistant corn and soybeans.

The outcome has been just what GMO critics most dreaded: many farmers depend on a few large companies, whose researchers focus on traits designed to improve profits rather than produce healthier foods for consumers. For noncorporate researchers, meanwhile, genetic engineering of plants has been expensive and risky. That stunts progress in plant breeding just as climate change and population growth are putting growing pressure on agriculture. 

That’s why the work described... by our senior biomedicine editor, Antonio Regalado, is so important. Regalado explains how a leading plant geneticist is using gene editing to create a healthier soybean that farmers in South Dakota and elsewhere are beginning to plant and harvest. New gene-editing tools, either CRISPR or the slightly older TALEN, don’t insert a foreign gene into the plant to create a new trait but, rather, tweak the plant’s existing DNA. The engineered crops thus sidestep the lengthy regulatory process and could avoid the stigmas surrounding GMOs entirely.

Gene editing is cheap, powerful, and precise. Most important, it puts many more plant scientists back in the game of creating new varieties of crops, dreaming up blight-resistant potatoes, tastier tomatoes, drought-tolerant rice, and higher-fiber wheat. Until now, there has been little progress in commercializing such agricultural innovations, which are likely to represent far smaller and less lucrative markets than herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans. 


Getting gene editing into the hands of a far larger group of scientists could return us to the original vision for genetic engineering as an invaluable tool for growing healthier and cheaper foods, helping to feed the world’s growing population. Or will it? That depends on public perception. Will gene editing be viewed as a state-of-the-art tool for improving crops...? One can only hope... and that plant science can fully enter the modern age of genomics... 


https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609805/gene-editing-could-rewrite-the-gmo-debate/



Via Alexander J. Stein
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Rural Africa Could Be Powered Using Genetically Modified Algae

Rural Africa Could Be Powered Using Genetically Modified Algae | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it
Solar power cells that use living organisms to generate electricity could one day bring power to remote communities Fuel cells powered by living algae that are five times more efficient than current models, have been designed by scientists at the University of Cambridge. It is thought they could one day be used to provide electricity to places where there is no existing electrical grid system, such as parts of rural Africa. The new design makes use of genetically modified algae capable of efficiently carrying electric charge. It uses the photosynthetic ability of plants and algae to convert sunlight into electric current.
Via Plant Science
Plant Science's curator insight, January 12, 2018 4:29 AM
Clean, renewable and sustainable energy thanks to biotechnologies !
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Bangladesh Develops First GMO Rice Variety

Bangladesh Develops First GMO Rice Variety | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it
Scientists in Bangladesh have developed the country's first biotech rice variety giving farmers an answer to the difficulties they face in harvesting the staple with machines. Stems of BRRIdhan-86, the variety that got release approval yesterday, are strong and stout and easy to reap by mechanical harvesters. This will come handy to farm owners, who have dearth of labourers and also find it difficult to use harvesters. BRRI breeders told UNB that the new variety, with half a tonne of extra yield potential per hectare over the country's most produced rice variety BRRIdhan-28, is derived from Iranian rice variety Niamat through application of a biotech tool called anther culture. The scientists at the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) have also developed a new rice variety with the highest ever zinc (27.6 mg/kg) content. BRRIdhan-84 also got approval along with three more new rice varieties yesterday. BRRI scientists told UNB that BRRIdhan-84 is also moderately enriched with another key micronutrient, iron. Zinc deficiency causes stunting, while iron deficiency is a leading cause of anaemia. More than one-third of under-five children in Bangladesh are stunted, while more than 43 percent women of reproductive age are anaemic. The new varieties come at a time when two of the country's most common rice varieties -- BRRIdhan28 and BRRIdhan-29 released in 1994 -- are losing potential due to ageing.
Via Plant Science
Plant Science's curator insight, January 11, 2018 7:00 AM
That is a great new for people living in Bangladesh ! This should also warn "us" (European) that many countries start to develop biotechnologies faster and better than us, making Europe lose technology race, economic race, but also make Europe more weak facing biotic and abiotic threats in our crops.
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 Sustaining global agriculture through rapid detection and deployment of genetic resistance to deadly crop diseases

 Sustaining global agriculture through rapid detection and deployment of genetic resistance to deadly crop diseases | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it
Genetically encoded resistance is a major component of crop disease management. Historically, gene loci conferring resistance to pathogens have been identified through classical genetic methods. In recent years, accelerated gene cloning strategies have become available through advances in sequencing, gene capture and strategies for reducing genome complexity. Here, I describe these approaches with key emphasis on the isolation of resistance genes to the cereal crop diseases that are an ongoing threat to global food security. Rapid gene isolation enables their efficient deployment through marker-assisted selection and transgenic technology. Together with innovations in genome editing and progress in pathogen virulence studies, this creates further opportunities to engineer long-lasting resistance. These approaches will speed progress towards a future of farming using fewer pesticides.

Via Nicolas Denancé, Jennifer Mach
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INRA - Usages et alternatives au glyphosate

INRA - Usages et alternatives au glyphosate | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it

Étude conduite par la direction scientifique Agriculture de l'INRA. Suite à la lettre de saisine des Ministres de l’Agriculture et de l’Alimentation, de la Transition écologique et solidaire, de la Santé, et de l’Enseignement Supérieur, de la Recherche et de l'Innovation du 2 novembre dernier l’INRA a remis le 30 novembre 2017 aux Ministres concernés son rapport sur les usages et les alternatives au glyphosate dans l’agriculture française.


Via AgroParisTech DOC IST, Centre de documentation UniLaSalle Rouen
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Transgenic expression of antimicrobial peptide D2A21 confers resistance to diseases incited by Pseudomonas syringae pv. tabaci and Xanthomonas citri, but not Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus

Transgenic expression of antimicrobial peptide D2A21 confers resistance to diseases incited by Pseudomonas syringae pv. tabaci and Xanthomonas citri, but not Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it
Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB) associated with ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (Las) and citrus canker disease incited by Xanthomonas citri are the most devastating citrus diseases worldwide. To control citrus HLB and canker disease, we previously screened over forty antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) in vitro for their potential application in genetic engineering. D2A21 was one of the most active AMPs against X. citri, Agrobacterium tumefaciens and Sinorhizobium meliloti with low hemolysis activity. Therefore, we conducted this work to assess transgenic expression of D2A21 peptide to achieve citrus resistant to canker and HLB. We generated a construct expressing D2A21 and initially transformed tobacco as a model plant. Transgenic tobacco expressing D2A21 was obtained by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Successful transformation and D2A21 expression was confirmed by molecular analysis. We evaluated disease development incited by Pseudomonas syringae pv. tabaci in transgenic tobacco. Transgenic tobacco plants expressing D2A21 showed remarkable disease resistance compared to control plants. Therefore, we performed citrus transformations with the same construct and obtained transgenic Carrizo citrange. Gene integration and gene expression in transgenic plants were determined by PCR and RT-qPCR. Transgenic Carrizo expressing D2A21 showed significant canker resistance while the control plants showed clear canker symptoms following both leaf infiltration and spray inoculation with X. citri 3213. Transgenic Carrizo plants were challenged for HLB evaluation by grafting with Las infected rough lemon buds. Las titer was determined by qPCR in the leaves and roots of transgenic and control plants. However, our results showed that transgenic plants expressing D2A21 did not significantly reduce Las titer compared to control plants. We demonstrated that transgenic expression of D2A21 conferred resistance to diseases incited by P. syringae pv. tabaci and X. citri but not Las. Our results underscore the difficulty in controlling HLB compared to other bacterial diseases.
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Transgenic Cavendish bananas with resistance to Fusarium wilt tropical race 4

Transgenic Cavendish bananas with resistance to Fusarium wilt tropical race 4 | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it

Banana (Musa spp.) is a staple food for more than 400 million people. Over 40% of world production and virtually all the export trade is based on Cavendish banana. However, Cavendish banana is under threat from a virulent fungus, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense tropical race 4 (TR4) for which no acceptable resistant replacement has been identified. Here we report the identification of transgenic Cavendish with resistance to TR4. In our 3-year field trial, two lines of transgenic Cavendish, one transformed with RGA2, a gene isolated from a TR4-resistant diploid banana, and the other with a nematode-derived gene, Ced9, remain disease free. Transgene expression in the RGA2 lines is strongly correlated with resistance. Endogenous RGA2 homologs are also present in Cavendish but are expressed tenfold lower than that in our most resistant transgenic line. The expression of these homologs can potentially be elevated through gene editing, to provide non-transgenic resistance.


Via Steve Marek
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GM banana shows promise against deadly fungus strain

GM banana shows promise against deadly fungus strain | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it

GM banana shows promise against deadly fungus strain
By Erik StokstadNov. 17, 2017 , 3:04 PM

A field trial in Australia has shown that genetically modified banana trees can resist the deadly fungus that causes Panama disease, which has devastated banana crops in Asia, Africa, and Australia and is a major threat for banana growers in the Americas. The transgenic plants might reach some farmers in as few as 5 years, but it’s unclear whether consumers will bite. The work may encourage plant breeders using traditional techniques to create resistant varieties.

Bananas, one of the world’s most popular fruits, are a staple for more than 400 million people and a huge export business. In the 1950s, a soil-dwelling fungus destroyed Latin American crops of the most popular variety at the time, Gros Michel; it was replaced by a resistant variety, Cavendish, which now makes up more than 40% of harvests worldwide. In the 1990s, the Cavendish’s own nemesis surfaced in Southeast Asia: a related fungus called Fusarium wilt tropical race 4 (TR4).

Fungicides can’t control TR4; disinfecting boots and farm tools helps, but not enough. TR4 was detected in the Middle East in 2012 and appeared in Mozambique a year later. It has reached all banana-growing regions of China and was confirmed in Laos and Vietnam this year. Only the Americas have been spared so far. “This is an extremely important crop with major problems,” says study co-author Gert Kema, a plant pathologist and banana breeder at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands.


Via Saclay Plant Sciences
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“Golden” potato delivers bounty of vitamins A and E - Ohio (2017) 

“Golden” potato delivers bounty of vitamins A and E - Ohio (2017)  | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it

An experimental “golden” potato could hold the power to prevent disease and death in developing countries where residents rely heavily upon the starchy food for sustenance... 


A serving of the yellow-orange... potato has the potential to provide as much as 42 percent of a child’s recommended daily intake of vitamin A and 34 percent of a child’s recommended intake of vitamin E... Women of reproductive age could get 15 percent of their recommended vitamin A and 17 percent of recommended vitamin E from that same 5.3 ounce (150 gram) serving... 


Potato is the fourth most widely consumed plant food by humans after rice, wheat and corn... It is a staple food in some Asian, African and South American countries where there is a high incidence of vitamin A and vitamin E deficiencies.

“More than 800,000 people depend on the potato as their main source of energy and many of these individuals are not consuming adequate amounts of these vital nutrients... These golden tubers have far more vitamin A and vitamin E than white potatoes, and that could make a significant difference in certain populations where deficiencies – and related diseases – are common”... 


Vitamin A is essential for vision, immunity, organ development, growth and reproductive health. And Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children. Vitamin E protects against oxidative stress and inflammation, conditions associated with damage to nerves, muscles, vision and the immune system... 

Researchers created a simulated digestive system including a virtual mouth, stomach and small intestine to determine how much provitamin A and vitamin E could potentially be absorbed by someone who eats a golden potato. Provitamin A carotenoids are converted by enzymes into vitamin A that the body can use. Carotenoids are fat-soluble pigments that provide yellow, red and orange colors to fruits and vegetables. They are essential nutrients for animals and humans.

“We ground up boiled golden potato and mimicked the conditions of these digestive organs to determine how much of these fat-soluble nutrients became biologically available”... The main goal of the work was to examine provitamin A availability... 


The golden potato, which is not commercially available, was metabolically engineered in Italy... The additional carotenoids in the tuber make it a more nutritionally dense food with the potential of improving the health of those who rely heavily upon potatoes for nourishment.

While plant scientists have had some success cross-breeding other plants for nutritional gain, the improved nutritional quality of the golden potato is only possible using metabolic engineering – the manipulation of plant genes in the lab... 

While some object to this kind of work, the research team stresses that this potato could eventually help prevent childhood blindness and illnesses and even death of infants, children and mothers in developing nations.

“We have to keep an open mind, remembering that nutritional requirements differ in different countries and that our final goal is to provide safe, nutritious food to billions of people worldwide”... 


Failla said “hidden hunger” – deficiencies in micronutrients – has been a problem for decades in many developing countries because staple food crops were bred for high yield and pest resistance rather than nutritional quality. “This golden potato would be a way to provide a much more nutritious food that people are eating many times a week, or even several times a day”... 


https://news.osu.edu/news/2017/11/08/research-golden-potato/


Underlying paper: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187102



Via Alexander J. Stein
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Rien ne va plus : la truffe noire du Périgord pousse désormais au Royaume-Uni

Rien ne va plus : la truffe noire du Périgord pousse désormais au Royaume-Uni | GMOs, NBT & Sustainable agriculture | Scoop.it
La toute première truffe noire du Périgord a été récoltée au Pays de Galles par un groupe d’experts. Shocking : après le champagne et le fromage, le Royaume-Uni s’attaque à un autre trésor français ! Alors va-t-il concurrencer la France en la matière ? Pour l’heure, il ne s’agit que d’expérimentations.

Jamais une truffe noire du Périgord n’avait été cultivée Outre-Manche. C’est pourtant en mars dernier, à Monmouthshire dans le Sud du Pays de Galles que la première truffe a été récoltée à la suite d’un programme mené par des chercheurs de l’Université de Cambridge, par la société MSL et des fermiers locaux. Elle pèse exactement 16 grammes !

Le changement climatique et les qualités du sol en cause

Les chercheurs évoquent le changement climatique comme raison : « Il s’agit de l’emplacement le plus au nord où elle ait jamais été trouvée ». Pour Paul Thomas, de l’université de Stirling et qui travaille pour MSL, cette réussite « montre que la résistance climatique des truffes est plus importante que ce que l’on pensait jusqu’ici, mais il est probable que ce soit uniquement possible à cause du changement climatique et parce que certaines zones du Royaume-Uni sont adaptées à cette culture ». Le sol est aussi l’une des raison de la trouvaille : la truffe a besoin d’un sol calcaire pour se développer et c’est le cas dans cette région du Pays de Galles. Les résultats de cette recherche, qui ont été publiés dans la revue scientifique Climate Research, sont plutôt encourageants selon les scientifiques.
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