GM/Biotech Crops Report – July 20192nd July 2019
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GM/Biotech Crops Monthly Report July 2019
New cure for lymphoma
A new NHS treatment has cured lymphoma in patients by extracting some of their white blood cells, genetically re-programming them to destroy cancer cells instead of viruses and bacteria and then returning them to the patient’s body. More. Pic: NIAID
|New CRISPR technique
CRISPR-cas9 is widely used for editing genomes and CRISPR-Cas12 promises more precise editing. Now a new technique (CRISPR-Cas3) has been developed which obliterates DNA between two programmable locations. It promises to help identify the function of specific regions by removing them and then seeing what no longer works. More. Pic: Daniel Friedman
|Faster phloem transport
The uptake of nutrients by the phloem is regulated by the PLM gene (phloem uploading moderator) and the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich have discovered that, at least in Arabidopsis, it is a bottleneck that can be speeded up by modifying he PLM gene. The next step is to see if this also works in crop plants and whether or not it leads to increases in yields. More. Pic: Berkshire Community College
|Food from insects
Livestock husbandry for meat production is wasteful of resources and, while many advocate a plant-based diet, steps are underway to investigate growing meat in the lab. However, insect muscle is easier to produce than mammalian muscle. And making it contract regularly during production helps to make it tastier. Now a gene has been developed which causes it to contract when stimulated by light. More. Pic: David Merrigan
Testing the safety of GM foods‘Proteomic profiling’ is the identification of proteins in a biological sample and Newcastle University has investigated the gut proteins of rats fed on diets of GM or non-GM maize. Whilst there were a few variations in the proteins of gut epithelial cells, there were no significant differences in clinical or behavioural effects. More. Pic: Newandalice
|GM barley to be evaluated in Switzerland
Permission has been granted for Zurich University to conduct field evaluations of barley that is resistant to rust and powdery mildew due to the insertion of a gene from wheat into its DNA. Is this the door beginning to open for GM crops in Europe? More. Pic: barnyz
|Almonds taste better now
Historically almonds were a bitter tasting nut but a natural mutation of one gene seems to have prevented the production of amygdalin and has led to the sweet-tasting nut that we enjoy today. Could this technique be applied to other nut species such as the horse chestnut? More. Pic: HealthAliciosNess
|New versus old wheat varieties
Some people claim that modern wheat varieties only do well because they are propped up by artificial fertilisers and pesticides. Now a study at Queensland University has shown that they perform better than the older varieties whatever the growing regime. More. Pic: Andrew Gustar
America has started to sell non-browning apples but now a non-browning lettuce has been developed by the company Intrexon with an extended shelf life of up to two weeks. The USDA has decided that this new line is not subject to regulation and so it can go on sale in an attempt to reduce food waste. Intrexon’s codicil to its name is ‘better DNA’ but they do not say how the improvement in DNA was achieved. More. Pic: Mel Edwards
THE LATEST ADDITIONS TO THE GM/BIOTECH DATABASE ARE:
- There are currently no new approvals of GM crop to add to the database. Argentina’s approval of Glytol Twinlink Plus with resistance to Lepidopteran insects and tolerance of glyphosate and glufosinate will be added to the database as soon as the approval is confirmed.
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