Volume 18. Number 5. 2013

610 Scientific Articles Confirm Safety of Food and Feeds Derived from Genetically Modified Crops

ChileBio published a listing of scientific papers which have evaluated the safety of foods derived from GM crops. As of this writing, there are already 610 articles published in peer-reviewed journals. Analysis of the published articles along with tests required by countries regulating GM crops represent evidence that the global scientific community can use to support that foods derived from GM crops are safe to human and animal consumption.

The list at contains original papers that can be found in scientific databases such as PubMed or in Web of Science.Crop Biotech Update 31 July 2013.

The Sodium Reduction Challenge

Health Directives, Product Solutions & Formulation Tactics The directive to reduce sodium is coming from within companies, as well as from public sources. Many countries, even cities, have established directives to reduce consumption, and consumer groups have weighed in. Just recently, the USDA published new regulations regarding snacks and entrees that reduce the sodium content allowed in the U.S. National School Lunch Program.

Food scientists needed

New program encourages students to explore food science careers

The demand for food scientists in the United States will increase by 10% in the next seven years. While there is a definite need for more individuals to enter the field of food science, many students aren't aware of these opportunities.

This is why Feeding Tomorrow, the Foundation of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), is leading an initiative called Food4Thought to promote food science as a career and show students how they can make a difference by becoming a food scientist. This new initiative was announced July 14th during the 2013 IFT Annual Meeting & Food ExpoŽ held at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill.

The first program launched as part of Food4Thought is that four girls from Girls, Inc. of Orange County, Calif., came to Chicago to attend the IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo so they could see firsthand what food science is all about. During their stay, they toured the Expo floor, attended sessions, visited local food companies, and got to see several Chicago landmarks.

"Food4Thought will raise the visibility of the profession and help create real-world experiences to share the wonder of food science with students," said IFT Executive Vice President Barbara Byrd Keenan. "Specifically, Food4Thought will position food science as a key STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) providing students with unique career opportunities that make a difference in how we live and eat. "IFT The Weekly of 17 July 2013.

Scientists Conduct Multigene Engineering to Improve Maize Starch

Scientist Lili Jiang from Northeast Normal University in China, and colleagues aimed to improve the starch content and composition of maize. They used multigene engineering approach to target the complex traits involved. Genes Bt2, Sh2, Sh1 and GbssIIa (involved in the activity of sucrose synthase, AGPase and granule-bound starch synthase) were overexpressed while SbeI and SbeIIb were silenced through RNA interference to reduce the activity of starch branching enzyme.

Results showed that the maize plants expressing all six genes and the selectable marker had significant increase (~3-8%) in the endosperm starch content and ~38-44% increase in the proportion of amylose. Improvements in other agronomic traits were also observed such as increase in grain and ear weight, and enlargement of kernels with healthier appearance, which reflects the improved starch structure inside the kernels.

Based on the findings, multigene engineering is an effective approach to modify the starch biosynthesis pathway, leading to improved quality and quantity of maize starch and other agronomic traits. Crop Biotech Update 10 July, 2013

Read the abstract published at Transgenic Research:

Study Reveals Key Step in Protein Synthesis

Scientists at the University of California, Sta. Cruz have trapped the ribosome, a protein-building molecular machine essential to all life, in a key transitional state. For the first time, scientists can see how the ribosome translates genetic code into proteins in a precise manner without making mistakes.

In making a new protein, genetic instructions are first copied from the DNA sequence of a gene to a messenger RNA molecule. The sequence is read by the ribosome which matches each three-letter codon of genetic code with a specific protein building block, one of 20 amino acids. The matching of codons to amino acids is done through transfer RNA molecules, each carrying a specific amino acid to the ribosome and lines it up with the matching codon on the messenger RNA.

The key step, called translocation, occurs after the bond is formed, joining a new amino acid to the growing protein chain. The transfer RNA leaves that amino acid behind and moves to the next site on the ribosome, along with a synchronous movement of the messenger RNA to bring the next codon and its associated amino acid into position for bond formation. The new study shows the ribosome in the midst of a key step in this process.Crop Biotech Update July 3, 2013.

For more details about this study, read the news release from the UC Sta. Cruz at

Snippets - contributions are welcome. Edited and produced by Dr. B Cole. - / Fx 011 660 6444 with the help of the Northern Branch Committee.