GM/Biotech Crops Report – April 2020

7th April 2020
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GM/Biotech Crops Monthly Report April 2020

Simple blood test for 50 types of cancer

Cancers are easiest to cure if caught early and now a simple blood test is being developed that can detect the DNA leaking from tumours to detect early stage development of tumours with 99% accuracy before other symptoms are apparent:
Full story

Pic: Marco Verch


Cotton in space

It seems that some researchers at the HudsonAlpha Institute think that growing cotton in the zero gravity of space may help them identify the genetic traits that will allow them to develop hardier stronger crops. They have also considered the possibility of cotton bandages that have anti-bacterial properties… Full story

Virus-tolerant citrus crops

Many citrus crops suffer from citrus psorosis virus but there is a transgenic sweet orange that is tolerant. Now a team from the University of California has grafted the transgenic sweet orange onto a citrus root stock and then grafted a susceptible citrus onto the sweet orange. The tolerance of the transgenic sweet orange to this virus is due to ihpCP transcripts and these transcripts migrate across the graft, giving variable degrees of protection to the citrus, depending on where the virus attacks… Full story

Herbicide-resistant rice

Collaboration between Cibus and Rotam has developed rice with resistance to two separate classes of herbicides that they believe with make weed control in rice much easier for growers. Nowhere do they mention which classes of herbicides they are but Rotam has history in sulphonyl ureas and in some hormone herbicides… Full story

Blight-resistant potatoes

About to be released to growers in Uganda, the Victoria 3R potato is completely resistant to late blight and is deemed to be safe for human consumption and for the environment. When will such crops be available to UK growers where fungicide sprays at 7 – 14 day intervals are currently needed to keep blight out of our crops?… Full story

Stem rust in wheat

While UK wheat tends to suffer from rust pustules developing on the leaves of the crop, stem rust of wheat is a global problem. Triticum is naturally resistant to stem rust but one gene in the components that make up bread wheat suppresses this resistance. Researchers at the Sainsbury Laboratory have identified the genetic reasons why this gene is suppressed and can now proceed to developing a robust resistance… Full story

Europe confirms GM soybeans are safe

EFSA, the European Food safety Authority has already passed two GM soybeans as safe (MON89788 which is tolerant of glyphosate and A2704-12 which is tolerant of glufosinate) but, bowing to pressure from some NGOs, has re-evaluated them using new methods published in 2018 and 2019. The conclusion that they came to is as before, they are completely safe to be consumed… Full story

Sclerotinia resistance

Partial resistance to Sclerotinia stem rot in soybeans has been achieved by splicing in a gene from a mycoparasitic fungus, Coniothyrium minitans. The size of the lesions caused by Sclerotinia in the transgenic plants is reduced compared to the control plants and I wonder if and when this technique could be applied to oilseed rape… Full story

Upgraded gene editing

CRISPR-Cas9 is a widely used editing tool to develop new traits in existing varieties but now a team at the University of Maryland has developed a refined system that has been named CRISPR-Cas12b. The benefit of the new system is that it includes gene activation and gene suppression options in addition to the normal gene editing process… Full story

Corona virus 1

Just 20 days after determining the genetic sequence of COVID 19, a Canadian company has developed a ‘virus-like particle’ that is the first step in developing a vaccine for the disease that has crippled the world economy. By using plant-based production methods rather than the usual egg-based methods, they expect to be able to react faster if the virus mutates… Full story

Corona virus 2

Analysis of the genome of the COVID-19 virus apparently shows no evidence that it was ‘man-made’ and is simply a result of natural selection on the existing family of SARS viruses… Full story

Drought-resistant potatoes

The Chinese Institute of Biotechnology has transferred the transcription factor GhABF2 from Arabidopsis where it is involved in drought-tolerance into potato where is confers the same characteristic. The paper is published in the Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology and is available from CAB Direct… Full story


• There are no further additions to the biotech crops database this month since none have been published



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