Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Genetic Modification/biotechnology

Photo credit: Isaac Wedin, Salmon face, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
29 August 2017

After a 25 year wait for approval, approximately five tons of genetically modified (GM) salmon have been sold in Canada in the last few months. The fish, which contains genes from Chinook salmon and ocean pout, can grow twice as fast as an Atlantic salmon and requires 75% less feed to grow to the same size. These changes can ultimately reduce the carbon footprint of each genetically modified salmon by up to 25 times, the company claims.

12 April 2017

This Data Science Insights talk hosted by Thomson Reuters sees presentations from Professor Nilay Shah from Imperial College, Judith Batchelar, Director of Brand at UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, and Derek Scuffell, Head of R&D Information Systems at Syngenta, who share insights on how their supply chains are driven by data.  They discuss how advances in genetically modified foods and in agricultural technology could help prevent food shortages and price fluctuations and help the world feed itself by 2025.

Photo: Michael Knowles, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
16 September 2016

This report provides an update on the fields of synthetic biology and the latest breeding techniques involving molecular biology. It sees modern techniques of creating new cultivars as a continuation of selective breeding which was started by humans around 10,000 years ago.

Photo: Ano Lobb, Flickr creative commons license 2.0
31 August 2016

A new study published in the journal Nature Communications provides additional evidence that a specific group of controversial pesticides, neonicotinoids, affects wild bees negatively. The work was funded by the UK government and related data of wild bee distributions over time to the introduction of the pesticides in British fields. It is the first to link the pesticides to the decline of many bee species in real-world conditions.

Photo: Dick Culbert, Acrocomia aculeata, immature Grugu Nuts, Flickr, Creative commons licence 2.0
24 July 2016

The neotropical macaw palm (Acrocomia aculeata) is increasingly promoted for large-scale cultivation as a sustainable biomass feedstock in Latin America. This paper warns however that a crucial proportion of areas predicted to be suitable for cultivation are located in areas of high conservational value. The paper also points to climate change scenarios which predict a substantial reduction of suitable areas in coming years.

Photo: Sonla, Flickr, creative commons licence 2.0
8 July 2016

109 Nobel laureates have signed a sharply worded letter to Greenpeace urging the environmental group to rethink its longstanding opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The signatories include past winners of the Nobel Prize in medicine, chemistry, physics, and economics.

28 June 2016

Nanotechnology – the designing of ultra-small particles – is part of the evolving science of precision agriculture, and could potentially solve some of the world’s most pressing problems at the food-energy-water nexus as it requires fewer natural resources and water, and enhances plant nutritional values. 

Photo credit: Tanti Ruwani (flickr, creative commons)
10 March 2016

A new genetic variety of rice has properties that ensure that the methane emissions that are normally released in production are substantially reduced. Biochemists in Sweden, China and the United States have worked together to create a new rice variety called SUSIBA2, which has now been dubbed the world’s first ‘climate-friendly rice’. 

16 February 2016

This report by Dutch multinational banking and financial services company, Rabobank, argues for the need for a so-called “smarter food system” – that is, a food system incorporating and harnessing the latest technology at every stage, although they place particular emphasis on production-side measures.

19 April 2015

In a new video published by the Royal Society in their 'Science stories' series (which charts 350 years of scientific publishing at the Royal Society) Dr Paul Williams, a meteorologist in NERC's National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading, considers why it is that scientific questions so often turn into full-blown and acrimonious controversies.

19 April 2015

This paper argues that high-performance computing and genetic engineering that boost the photosynthetic efficiency of plants offers the best hope of increasing crop yields enough to feed a growing world population by 2050. It points out that we now have unprecedented computational resources that allow us to model every stage of photosynthesis and we can thus determine where the bottlenecks are. Advances in genetic engineering enable us to augment or circumvent steps that impede efficiency.

31 March 2015

In Africa and Latin America, the production of beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, which include higher temperatures and more frequent drought. Climate modeling suggests that, over the next several decades, the area suited for this crop in eastern and central Africa could shrink up to 50% by 2050.

31 March 2015

A paper published in the journal Cell argues that the current rate of increase in crop yields is insufficient to meet business-as-usual anticipated growth in demand for food (it cites one projection that the world will need 85% more primary foodstuffs by 2050, relative to 2013).

23 October 2014

In this article, part of National Geographic’s’ The Future of Food series, Tim Folger talks about the potential of biotechnology in the next 'green revolution', and its implications for subsistence farmers worldwide. While acknowledging the anxieties against genetically modified crops, he argues that their value in combating common plant diseases is significant for preventing large-scale agricultural losses.

23 October 2014

Crop, food, and feed composition studies are considered an essential part of the safety assessment of new crop varieties, including those developed through biotechnology. Information obtained from such studies is used to assess similarities and differences in important nutrients and anti-nutrients. This database created by International Life Sciences Institute, was generated from crop composition data obtained from studies conducted over a number of years at multiple worldwide locations.

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