Tag Archives: Biotechnology

United Kingdom seeks more research collaboration with Brazil

30By Elton Alisson
Agência FAPESP – On June 14, FAPESP was visited by a delegation from the United Kingdom’s Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC). The objective of the visit was to discuss possible program partnerships and combining research and strategies to promote innovation and excellence in research.
One of the seven member bodies of Research Councils United Kingdom (RCUK), the BBSRC invests approximately 400 million pounds sterling (R$ 1.36 billion) in funding for biotechnology and bioscience research throughout the United Kingdom each year.
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Transgenics: A new breed

36Nature – When the first genetically modified (GM) organisms were being developed for the farm, says Anastasia Bodnar, “we were promised rocket jet packs” — futuristic, ultra-nutritious crops that would bring exotic produce to the supermarket and help to feed a hungry world.

Yet so far, she says, the technology has bestowed most of its benefits on agribusiness — almost always through crops modified to withstand weed-killing chemicals or resist insect pests. This has allowed farmers to increase yields and spray less pesticide than they might have otherwise.

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Biotechnology: Africa and Asia need a rational debate on GM crops

39By Christopher J. M. Whitty, Monty Jones, Alan Tollervey and Tim Wheeler
Nature – In Europe, scientists, politicians, industry representatives and environmentalists often present genetically modified (GM) crops either as a key part of the solution to world hunger or as a pointless but dramatic threat to health and safety. Neither position is well founded.

Recently, the often shrill debate that has unfolded in some European countries, including France and the United Kingdom, for the past 20 years has been spilling over to developing economies. The government of India, for instance, is considering banning all field trials of GM crops for the next decade — a move that could hurt large- and small-scale farmers by blocking their access to certain crop varieties that have been modified to grow better in local conditions, including types of cotton, soya bean and tomato. Meanwhile, in Kenya, where more than one-quarter of the population is malnourished, the government chose to ban the import of GM food at the end of last year but not GM crop research1. Like similar rulings made in Europe, such decisions seem to be based in part on emotional responses to the technology.

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Fields of gold – Research on transgenic crops must be done outside industry if it is to fulfil its early promise.

35Nature – It was 30 years ago this month that scientists first published the news that they could place functional foreign genes into plant cells. The feat promised to launch an exciting phase in biotechnology, in which desired traits and abilities could be coaxed into plants used for food, fibres and even fuel. Genetically modified (GM) crops promised to make life easier and nature’s bounty even more desirable.

As a series of articles in this week’s Nature explores, things have not worked out that way. The future matters more than the past, but when it comes to GM crops, the past is instructive.

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Embrapa and RDA define strategic partnership in projects for agriculture

00001Labex Korea (Embrapa) and the International Technology Cooperation Center (ITCC/RDA) organized the 3rd Workshop RDA/Embrapa in Suwon on March 25 – 29. This event was proposed with the objective to establish strategies for cooperation between both Institutions to toward technological innovations through research, development and technology transfer, which enable to boost the agricultural sector in both countries.

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Will biotechnology provide food security?

TrigoWorld Economic Forum – According to David Lawrence, biotechnology, like all technologies, is not in itself good or bad. It’s what we do with it that decides
The way we human beings behave can be strange. For at least 30 years I used to give talks which included a slide showing how population increase was reducing the land available to feed an individual, pointing out that unless we changed something, at some point we would run the risk of not being able to feed everyone on the planet. Every few years I would update it, and while the trends continued as predicted, no one seemed to want to pay any attention. Historic stocks were depleted, the rich ate more, and more people fell into hunger.
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New International Wheat Initiative Aims to Improve Global Wheat Yields

new internationalFood Security Portal – As one of the world’s most important staple crops, wheat plays a crucial role in the global agricultural economy and in global food security. The grain accounts for an estimated 20 percent of calories consumed throughout the world. But a burgeoning global population and changing climate are putting ever greater pressure on wheat farmers to produce bigger yields. A new multinational initiative, the Wheat Yield Network, has recently been launched to help raise global wheat yields and develop new wheat varieties that are better adapted to meet the world’s changing needs.

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