Volume 23. Number 4. 2018

GM Approval Updates

Zambia approves maize event Bt176 (176) (HT + IR) for food use.

South Africa approves soybean event MON87705 x MON87708 x MON89788 (HT + PQ) for food, feed, and processing.

USA approves DHA Canola (PQ) for cultivation.

South Africa approved soybean event MON87708 x MON89788 x A5547-127 for food, feed, and processing.

USA approves sugarcane event CTB141175/01-A or CTC175-A (IR) for food use.

European Union approved maize events MON87427 x MON89034 x NK603 (HT + IR) and TC1507 × 59122 × MON810 × MIR604 x NK603 (HT + IR) for food and feed use.

Visit GM Approval Database for more updates

Sorghum's Weed-Killing Power Transferred to Rice

Scientists at the USDA Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) have transferred a biochemical pathway found in sorghum, which produces a weed-killing compound, into rice plants. Sorgoleone, a compound secreted by sorghum helps plants fight weeds and works so well that some other crops struggle to grow in fields planted with sorghum.

The scientists at ARS's Natural Product Utilization Research Unit (NPURU) in Oxford, Mississippi, have looked at sorghum's weed-inhibiting properties, which can be transferred to other crops such as rice and used as a bioherbicide. Producing sorgoleone in other crops would give those plants the ability to fight weeds and reduce reliance on synthetic herbicides, says NPURU molecular biologist Scott Baerson.

According to Baerson, nothing was known about sorgoleone prior to their research. The NPURU team reached a milestone when they were able to transfer the sorgoleone compound into rice. Rice plants with sorgoleone would require less herbicides to control weeds, while growers would spend less on buying and applying chemicals. Crop Biotech Update 5/9/2018

For more details, read the ARS research news.

Research targets wheat’s ‘bad’ gluten


Gluten, which makes up approximately 75% of the protein content of wheat, barley, and rye, can cause severe intestinal damage and increase the risk of cardiovascular events for people with celiac disease. But not all gluten in wheat is equal. Researchers are finding that they can produce wheat that contains much less of the allergenic or immunoreactive form of gluten. Read more...
IFTNext 28 October 2018

Chicken Is the Number One Cause of Foodborne Illness Out-breaks.
Here's How to Stay Safe.

More than 100,000 people were sickened by food-related illness outbreaks between 2009 and 2015, according to a new analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And the food that made more people sick than any other? Chicken. It was confirmed as the cause of more than 3,000 (about 12%) of those cases.

Pork and seeded vegetables came in second and third for number of illnesses caused, both with more than 2,500 cases or about 10% each. Fish and dairy caused more individual outbreaks than any other food groups, according to the analysis, but those outbreaks were smaller and sickened fewer total people.

The report’s findings may not be surprising for anyone who’s ever taken a cooking class or cut into their chicken dinner to make sure it’s cooked all the way. Just last week, a court case made headlines after a healthy and fit mother of two died after eating uncooked chicken at a hotel in Greece. (A coroner said the woman likely contracted E. coli from the raw poultry.)

EU Court Rules that CRISPR, Transgenic Crops will Face Same Approval Process


According to Science, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that plants created with new gene-editing techniques that don’t involve transferring genes between organisms—such as CRISPR—must go through the same lengthy approval process as traditional transgenic plants.
IFT Weekly 3 Aug, 2018.

Drought in Europe is Causing Problems.

World cereal consumption is exceeding production. If this interests you go to this link. Ed.


Genetically Modified Rice Can Neutralize HIV


An international team of researchers from Spain, the United States, and the United Kingdom has successfully created a strain of genetically modified (GM) rice that will produce HIV-neutralizing proteins.

The GM rice produces one type of antibody and two kinds of proteins that bind directly to the HIV virus, preventing them from interacting with human cells. The researchers note that the cost of making the cream is nominal once the rice has been grown, and people living in infection areas can grow as much of the rice as they need, then make the paste and apply it themselves. Crop Biotech Update. 1 August, 2018.

For more details, read the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

How Changing the World’s Food Systems Can Help to Protect the Planet

Going into debt with nature is a dangerous thing. When our stocks of water, land and clean air are spent – we don’t have a second planet to borrow from. But that’s exactly the way that Earth is heading. 1 August 2018 marks an annual event, "Earth Overshoot Day": the day on which the natural resources the planet can regenerate within one year are exhausted. This is the earliest date on which Earth Overshoot Day has ever been reached.

Australian OGTR Issues License for GM Wheat Field Trials


Australia's Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) has issued a license to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) authorising the field trials of wheat genetically modified (GM) for rust disease resistance. The field trials for License Application DIR 162 will be carried out between September 2018 to September 2023 with the proposed locations at Ginninderra Experiment Station in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Boorowa Agricultural Research Station, Shire of Boorowa in New South Wales for up to 1 hectare per year. Crop Biotech Update. 18 July 2018.

CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing Scissors are Less Accurate Than we Thought, but There Are Fixes.

CRISPR gene editing technology is revolutionising medicine and biology. This technique allows scientists to edit DNA with more precision and greater ease than previous gene editing technology.

But a new study has called into question the precision of the technique.

The hope for gene editing is that it will be able to cure and correct diseases. To date, many successes have been reported, including curing deafness in mice, and in altering cells to cure cancer.

Some 17 clinical trials in human patients are registered testing gene editing on leukaemias, brain cancers and sickle cell anaemia (where red blood cells are misshaped, causing them to die). Before implementing CRISPR technology in clinics to treat cancer or congenital disorders, we must address whether the technique is safe and accurate.

Next-Generation Sequencing.

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is a high-throughput methodology that enables rapid sequencing of the base pairs in DNA or RNA samples. Supporting a broad range of applications, including gene expression profiling, chromosome counting, detection of epigenetic changes, and molecular analysis, NGS is driving discovery and enabling the future of personalised medicine.

Mahni Ghorashi, Clear Labs' co-founder, said that the development of its Clear Safety platform – based on Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) - represents a "vast improvement?" over existing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.

"One of the biggest upsides with NGS is that you don’t have to do different tests for each pathogen, as with PCR. Instead of just one answer at a time, you can ask almost infinite questions about a sample and get the answers all in one test. Clear Safety enables multi-target analysis, which increases throughput and reduces costs by screening an array of pathogens in the same or different matrices in parallel."

Snippets - contributions are welcome. Edited and produced by Dr. B Cole. - / Fax +27 (0)86 625 2869 with the help of the Northern Branch Committee.