Crop Biotech Update weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA).en-usWed, 17 Dec 2014 17:00:00 +0800Greenpeace Damages a World Heritage Site in Peru members of the environmental group Greenpeace performed a stunt in Peruvian desert to express their participation in the Conference on Climate Change held in Lima, Peru on December 1-14. They placed huge yellow letters stating "Time for Change! The Future is Renewable. Greenpeace" just beside the hummingbird-like geoglyph, which is part of t...Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:00:00 +0800GlobalBiotech Innovations Impress Speaker of Parliament at Science Expo"This country needs science and technology innovation to get our economy back on track; and to get the answers to the biggest challenges we face such as climate change, lack of employment, and economic growth". These were the words of the Speaker of Parliament Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, during the Parliamentary Science Week exhibitions held from December...Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:00:00 +0800AfricaKenyan Top Doctors Support Agri-biotech, Calls for Lifting of GM Ban medical practitioners under the umbrella body - Kenya Medical Association (KMA), have voiced their views in support of agricultural biotechnology. During a recent stakeholders meeting in Nairobi, organized by the Kenya University Biotech Consortium (KUBICO), the KMA chairman Dr. Elly Nyaim supported KUBICO's call on the government to lift th...Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:00:00 +0800AfricaEgypt's Minister of Agriculture Supports Plant Biotech Adel El-Beltagy, Egypt's Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, said in a press statement on December 13, 2014 that genetic engineering techniques play a major role in increasing crop productivity amidst the effects of climate change that cause high temperatures, drought and soil salinity. As a scientist and professor in Aim Shams Univer...Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:00:00 +0800AfricaUSDA to Advance Robotics to Improve Agri Production US Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the release of US$3 million worth of grants to advance the use of robotics in American agriculture production. The four grants are part of the National Robotics Initiative (NRI), a federal research collaboration of NIFA, the National Science Foundati...Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:00:00 +0800AmericasChina Expected to Release Decision on GM Corn Imports Chinese government is expected to release their decision on importation of Syngenta's Agrisure Viptera corn (MIR162) from the U.S. soon. The approval would be important because U.S. corn trading with China has stopped since Beijing began turning away cargoes containing MIR162 corn in November 2013. According to the National Grain and Feed Assoc...Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:00:00 +0800Asia and the PacificLocating Genetic Factors Involved in Seed Size and Seed Number from University of Bath studied the two main traits in seeds, seed size and seed number, which are necessary for improving crop yields. Typically, a small seed size will yield high seed number while a large seed size will then give off small seed number. This scenario occurs due to trade-offs associated with the two traits. With this, t...Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:00:00 +0800ResearchImproving Salt Tolerance in Transgenic Sweet Potato from China Agricultural University studied the gene maspardin (IbMas) in improving salt tolerance in sweetpotato. IbMas is a member of α/β superfamily isolated from a salt-tolerant sweet potato line. The study was conducted by up-regulating the expression of IbMas in sweetpotato under salt stress and ABA treatment condition. R...Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:00:00 +0800ResearchStudy Shows No Risk of Gene Glow from Biotech Potato in Peru have established that natural movement of a gene in a transgenic variety (transgene), that is not under farmers' selection, from a widely grown transgenic variety into the non-improved potato varieties (landraces) over a long period of time is unlikely to happen at a detectable scale. Scientists at CIP, led by Dr. Marc Ghislain reported ...Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:00:00 +0800ResearchOsmotin-like Protein from Black Nightshade Confers Drought Resistance in Soybean is the most important environmental factor causing yield losses in soybeans [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]. To address this, Maria Fátima Grossi-de-Sa and Maria Helena Bodanese-Zanettini from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, transferred a gene (SnOLP) encoding an osmotin-like protein from Solanum nigrum var. americanum (black nights...Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:00:00 +0800ResearchScientists Release Family Tree of Birds consortium of scientists released the most comprehensive family tree of birds ever reported, containing genetic information from 48 species showing how modern bird lineages arose and flourished after the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs. The study elucidated the evolutionary relationships of modern bird groups and revealed some genetic i...Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:00:00 +0800Beyond Crop BiotechDNA Dictates a Person's Nutrition Needs, Study of Toronto scientists report that persons have specific nutritional needs based on one's genetic makeup. They found that personalized dietary advice based on their DNA improved the eating habits of the subjects, compared to those who followed standard dietary recommendations. This emerging field of study is called nutrigenetics, which ai...Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:00:00 +0800Beyond Crop BiotechMicrobiome Forum: Asia Microbiome Forum AsiaWhen: January 19-20, 2015Where: Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaFor more details, visit, 17 Dec 2014 17:00:00 +0800AnnouncementsGMO Safety and Regulations by Alan McHughen McHughen, scientist from the University of California, wrote an article in Beyond the Science about GMO Safety and Regulations. He said that GM crops and foods are regulated at every stage of production from research planning through field testing, food and environmental safety assessment, and after commercial use. Thus, pushing for increased ...Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:00:00 +0800Document Reminders