GENET-news

 Below you find the postings of the last seven days.

 

2009-01-29 |

U.S. scientists bredd non-GE scab-resistant apple

A new, late-ripening apple named WineCrisp which carries the Vf gene for scab resistance was developed over the past 20 plus years through classical breeding techniques, not genetic engineering. License to propagate trees will be made available to nurseries through the University of Illinois. Being resistant to apple scab is a big plus for growers, said University of Illinois plant geneticist Schuyler Korban, as it significantly reduces the number of chemical fungicide sprays. ”Apple scab is the number one disease that growers have to spray for — 15 to 20 times per season — so not having to spray for apple scab lowers the cost for the grower and is better for the environment.”

2009-01-29 |

BASF develops alternative to GM crops

BASF expects to have its new herbicide-resistant canola crops on the market as soon as 2013, said Dale Carlson, a senior plant scientist with the company. That is much quicker than commercialising a new GM trait, because the regulatory process is less demanding. ”Even in the countries such as the US, where GM is widely accepted, the regulatory process for GM crops can take several years longer than for directed mutagenesis,” said Stephen Evans-Freke, Cibus chairman. [...] But Elise Kissling, of BASF Crop Protection, said the announcement should not be seen as a step away from GM. ”We are not against GM and will continue to develop GM traits, but we want to give growers a choice,” she said.

2009-01-29 |

Italian Agricultural Minister convinced GE crops cannot resolve hunger

The first summit of agriculture ministers from G-8 countries will be held in the northern Italian province of Treviso. Agriculture Minister Luca Zaia [...] said he is extremely convinced that the problem of world hunger cannot be resolved with genetically modified food. Often behind this there are other motivations.

2009-01-29 |

U.S.-African partnership developing drought-tolerant maize

Biotechnology is a key component of a public-private partnership that could save millions of lives by developing drought-tolerant maize for small-scale farming operations in sub-Saharan Africa. [...] ”This project, conducted mostly in Africa for Africans, will result in improved maize hybrids, yielding an additional 25 percent more grain under moderate drought conditions, compared to the best African seed currently available,” Vanessa Cook, U.S. agricultural company Monsanto’s WEMA project lead, told America.gov.

2009-01-29 |

Dow AgroSciences receives approval for cultivation of HERCULEX® I corn in Brazil

The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture has authorized Dow AgroSciences to sell its first corn hybrids with HERCULEX® I Insect Protection technology. This authorization was given for 2B710HX, 2B688HX, 2B707HX, 2C520HX and 2A525HX corn hybrids. Dow AgroSciences also announced that it plans to be able to offer the Brazilian market its full range of corn hybrids with this technology in the future.

2009-01-29 |

Deltapine Class of 09 BT cotton introduced in the USA

If the U.S. cotton industry is to survive and prosper through the current economic uncertainty, U.S. cotton producers must be able to harvest more of their crop on the same number of acres, experts say. In that respect, cotton growers got some good news during the Beltwide Cotton Conferences with the announcement by Monsanto’s Delta and Pine Land Business Unit that is introducing five new varieties that could increase yields by an average of 5 percent to 8 percent.

2009-01-28 |

Are non-target pests becoming a problem for Bt-cotton?

Bt cotton acreage decreased for the second straight year in 2008, although this is more reflective of an overall decline in cotton acreage. Around 90 percent of U.S. cotton acreage had some type of transgenic technology, according to the report. The cost of Bt cotton exceeded the cost of foliar application this year, ”and I believe that is the first year I’ve seen that happen,” Williams said.

2009-01-28 |

Trashing GM paddocks completely acceptable, say Australian activists

Leading anti-GM activists have condoned the sabotage of paddocks sown with genetically modified canola in a bid to stop WA’s planned crop trials. Greenpeace anti-GM campaigner Louise Sales said it would be ”completely acceptable” for protesters to trash crops and that such actions would be for the ”wider good”.
”I think it’s acceptable for citizens to take matters into their own hands when the Government is ignoring their wishes and releasing crops that threaten the environment,” she said.

2009-01-28 |

Textile Minister of Pakistan announces Bt cotton approval

Farmers will start growing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton with official permission from next kharif, Federal Textile Minister Rana Farooq Mohammad Khan informed a gathering of local businessmen on Thursday at Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The textile minister in his first visit to the KCCI told businessmen about his efforts within the government to ensure payment of Rs10 billion arrears of the research and development subsidy to textile exporters.

2009-01-28 |

’Genetic contamination’ raises an alarm in India

What was long feared may finally turn out to be true. Genetic contamination of natural crop strains because of unsafe field trials of GM crops has reportedly begun in Jharkhand, if Gene Campaign, a Delhi-based research group, is to be believed. It alleges that seed company Mahyco was careless in its field trials of GM rice in Saparong village, Ranchi district. This, Gene Campaign says, led to a second generation of illegal GM rice in and around the trial fields.

2009-01-28 |

Nearly a billion people go hungry every day – can GM crops help feed them?

The major problem, said Watson, is not one that GM crops will solve. He stressed the need for good roads to get crops to markets, and simple technologies that will help reduce post-harvest losses in Africa, which currently stand at between 30 and 40%. ”GM is a totally oversold technique,” he said.

2009-01-28 |

Farmer defies GM ’ban’ in Wales (UK)

In what may be the first example of direct action in favour of genetically modified (GM) crops, a farmer has defied the Welsh government by growing modified maize. Farmer and agricultural consultant Jonathon Harrington says he grew small amounts of two kinds of GM maize on his farm near Hay-on-Wye, and also gave seeds to two local farmers. The Welsh Assembly Government has declared the country to be a GM-free zone, but in the wake of Harrington’s actions it admitted that it is powerless to enforce this declaration.

2009-01-26 |

Avoid GM seeds, Indian farmers told

For about 10 days now, a group of 23 farmers from South Africa has been going around the south Indian States telling farmers to be ultra cautious about the genetically modified (GM) seeds, crops and food besides learning from the Indian expertise in agriculture. The group was here on Sunday for an interactive session with organic farmers of Tamil Nadu. The meeting saw exchange of ideas and experiences in farming. Vetavalam Manikandan and other farmers traced the journey of Indian agriculture since Independence through green revolution and the gains of organic farming.

2009-01-26 |

Greenpeace calls for urgent protection of Thai rice from GMO contamination

Greenpeace unveiled the Guinness World Record certifying Thailand as the largest exporter of rice in the world. Greenpeace nominated Thailand for this prestigious record to generate greater pride about Thai rice and raise people’s awareness on the need to protect it from the dangers of genetic contamination. Thailand exported 8,094,000 tonnes of rice in 2007, which amounts to 27 percent of all rice traded in world markets.

2009-01-26 |

6,000-year-old species of rice discovered in Meghalaya (India)

Meghalaya Mission for Indigenous Knowledge has found a 6000-year-old traditional species of rice in the Garo hills of the state. [...] Women are the caretakers of these varieties of rice. They select the right varieties for cultivation and handle processing and storage of rice. Men help in cultivation and manage the fields. ”These hardy strains of rice must be protected and should not be contaminated by any hybrids or genetically modified (GM) crops,” the document paper of the Meghalaya Mission for Indigenous Knowledge noted.

2009-01-26 |

Lake County (USA) approves GE crop advisory committee members

On Tuesday the Board of Supervisors approved the membership of a new committee that will take up the divisive issue of genetically engineered (GE) crops in Lake County. Supervisors Denise Rushing and Rob Brown, along with Deputy Administrative Officer Debra Sommerfield of the county’s Economic Development Department, took applications for the committee and on Monday sat down to make their selections from among a number of qualified community members.

2009-01-26 |

Top chefs push Obama to improve food policy and label GE food

Lidia Bastianich, a New York-based Italian chef who has starred in several cooking shows on public television, says the government needs to encourage regulations and incentives to small farmers to give them the opportunity to compete against the ”big giants.” Chef Tom Colicchio, the lead judge on the popular cable television series ”Top Chef,” agrees. He says foods that are genetically engineered should be labeled as such and fewer subsidies should go to corporate farms.

2009-01-26 |

Vermont (USA) dairy cooperative to stop using rBST milk

The region’s largest dairy cooperative wants to phase out use of a controversial growth hormone that’s used to boost milk production. The Agri-Mark dairy co-op says it’s following the lead of its customers - who have rejected milk from hormone-treated cows.

2009-01-22 |

Mongolia established National Biosafety Committee

The National Biosecurity Committee held Tuesday its meeting to review the last year’s report and approve the plan for 2009. In 2000, Mongolia joined Cartagena Protocol on Biosecurity, passed the law on genetically modified organism in 2007, and established the national biosecurity committee at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

2009-01-22 |

IRRI project aims at developing rice with 50% higher yields

An international team of scientists is attempting to develop a new rice strain that will use less water and fertilizer but could boost yields by up to 50 percent to meet growing demand, a research institute said Wednesday. [...] The project aims to improve the efficiency of a rice plant’s photosynthesis, the process by which plants use solar energy to capture carbon dioxide and convert it into carbohydrates.
Some species, including rice, have a mode of photosynthesis known as C3 in which the capture of carbon dioxide is relatively inefficient. Other plants, such as maize and sorghum, have evolved a much more efficient form of photosynthesis known as C4.

2009-01-22 |

U.S. industry weighs benefits and perils of GM potatoes

Once burned, the U.S. potato industry is still shy about embracing genetically modified spuds. Industry leaders want assurances that major buyers, consumers and U.S. trading partners will accept genetically modified potatoes prior to any more commercial releases. ”We are concerned that the realities of some international markets may override the science and create market disruptions to important trade,” the industry’s official position statement on biotechnology says in part.

2009-01-22 |

Kerala (India) should lead the fight against GM food

”India should be declared a GM-free country,” said Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran here today. He was inaugurating the workshop on ’Impact of Genetically Modified (GM) Food and Crops on health and biodiversity’ organised by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board. The Minister said that Kerala had already been declared a GM-free State and we should lead the fight in defending the country against GM foods. ”We should abide by nature and defend ourselves from being laboratories of genetically-modified foods,” he said.

2009-01-22 |

Social and economic impacts of biotechnology

Biotechnology has the potential to substantially increase agricultural productivity, influence markets, and in some cases invent new uses for traditional crops. However, concerns accompany these potential benefits. A group of scientists from Virginia examined the benefits, costs, and risks associated with agricultural products arising from biotechnology research.
With funding from USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), George Norton and colleagues at Virginia Polytechnic Institute focused their study on two crops: tobacco and rice.

2009-01-22 |

US prepares to block influx of unapproved GM food

AFTER a decade of exporting its genetically modified crops all over the world, the US is preparing to block foreign GM foods from entering the country - if they are deemed to threaten its agriculture, environment or citizens’ health, that is. The warning was given to the US Department of Agriculture, which polices agricultural imports, by its own auditor, the Office of Inspector General (OIG): ”Unless international developments in transgenic plants and animals are closely monitored, USDA could be unaware of potential threats that particular new transgenic plants or animals might pose to the nation’s food supply.”

2009-01-21 |

EU executive recommends approval for biotech corn growing

The European Commission Wednesday recommended farmers be allowed to grow two new varieties of genetically modified crops in the European Union, only the second time it has taken such a step in the past decade, a commission spokeswoman said. The recommendation applies to two strains of genetically modified corn: Bt-11, developed by Syngenta, and 1507, created by a joint venture between Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a subsidiary of DuPont Co., and Mycogen Seeds, a unit of Dow Chemical Co..

2009-01-21 |

UK government scientific adviser: GM may help feed growing population

Bob Watson to argue research is needed to determine whether GM crops can help feed growing population in world affected by climate change
One of the government’s chief scientific advisers will wade into the debate on genetically modified (GM) foods later today, by arguing that they could make a valuable contribution to feeding the growing global population as the climate continues to change.

2009-01-21 |

New alliances for GE crop development

DuPont and Athenix today announced they have entered into a research collaboration to improve insect control in corn and soybeans. Under the agreement, DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred will use proprietary insectresistance trait genes from Athenix to develop and commercialize next-generation corn and soybean seed products.

2009-01-21 |

GTC and its GE pharma goats partly back in Nasdaq’s good graces

Transgenic therapeutics company GTC Biotherapeutics Inc. reports it has heard from the Listing Qualifications Staff of The Nasdaq Stock Market indicating that the Framingham company has regained compliance with the minimum market value requirement for continued listing on The Nasdaq Capital Market. By exceeding $35 million of market capitalization for 10 consecutive trading days, GTC has cleared one hurdle in its race to keep from being delisted. GTC also has until at least July 20, 2009, to regain compliance with the minimum $1 bid price requirement for stay listed on the Nasdaq market.

2009-01-21 |

Pharming redeems 5 mln euros in convertible debt

Dutch biotechnology firm Pharming said on Monday it is redeeming 5 million euros ($6.7 million) in convertible debt by paying 1 million euros in cash and converting the rest into shares. ”Pharming considers this situation as an opportunity to strengthen its balance sheet at favourable terms,” the company said. Rabo Securities, which rates Pharming shares ”reduce”, agreed, but said in a note it remained worried about its cash flow position.

2009-01-21 |

Hong Kong scientists produce GE rice with bird flu vaccine

Hong Kong scientists on Friday claimed to have created a genetically modified rice that provides protection for chickens from the bird flu virus. The rice contains genetic material from the traditional Chinese medicine plant called yuzhu which has been found to inhibit the growth of viruses such as the deadly H5N1.

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