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This April has seen several studies, reports, interviews concerning new variety breeding technologies published.

From the US, the USDA released a report on biotechnology in the United Kingdom, saying that in the short term, the United Kingdom is unlikely to change its legislation, due to the proximity to the EU.

In addition, a study released in the Netherlands states that, if properly targeted, new genetic technologies and agroecology can reinforce each other to make agriculture more sustainable.

In Norway, a survey of the Norwegian relationship with genetic editing shows that a majority of consumers are ready to use gene editing tools in agriculture if they provide social, economic and environmental benefits.

04/02 Europe – Norway: survey on the relationship between Norwegians and biotechnologies

In Norway, a report on the genes editions was published this April, interviewing over 2,000 Norwegians. In particular, it is observed that Norwegian consumers are ready to use gene editing tools in agriculture if they bring social, economic and environmental benefits.

For example, 70% of respondents favor the use of gene editing to create mildew resistant potatoes.

In contrast, around 60% said they were somewhat or very concerned about whether genetically modified foods could have negative consequences for health and the environment.

To read the full report in English, see: https://www.bioteknologiradet.no/filarkiv/2020/04/Report-consumer-attitudes-to-gene-editing-agri-and-aqua-FINAL.pdf


04/09 World – USA: Soy genetics aided by CRISPR technology

A team of researchers from the University of Ohio in the USA is studying soybean genetics using CRISPR Cas9 technology.

Their goal is to genetically modify soy to develop resistance to specific herbicides. Soybeans contain many genes that help build the ability to tolerate herbicides. Once these genes are identified, CRISPR Cas9 technology can be used to modify the DNA sequence at a specific location, transforming the hidden gene into a herbicide tolerance gene. This technology does not take genetic material from another organism and does not insert it into DNA.

Source : https://www.ocj.com/2020/04/soybean-genetics-aided-by-crispr-technology/


04/10 World – USA: Genome editing can reshape agriculture

In an interview, Diane Wray-Cahen, – senior scientific advisor for agricultural biotechnology at the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – was asked about the new selections varietals.

(Selected extracts):

For example, she says “While genome editing is certainly not a silver bullet for solving all agricultural challenges, in my opinion, it is the most promising and innovative technology for agricultural breeding that I have seen in the last 30 years.” or “An additional advantage of genome editing is that it also has the potential to introduce characteristics that farmers need, while helping increase and protect genetic diversity in livestock and crops.”

For the complete interview, see: https://www.allaboutfeed.net/Feed-Additives/Articles/2020/4/Interview-Genome-editing-can-reshape-agricultureSOFTBREAK-568550E/


04/15 EU – Netherlands: taking advantage offered by NBTS in agroecological agriculture

A study discussing the compatibility between agroecology and genetic engineering has been published in the Netherlands. Researchers at the University of Wageningen (WUR) say that, if properly targeted, new genetic technologies and agroecology can reinforce each other to make agriculture more sustainable. 

Thus, new variety breeding techniques such as Crisp / Cas can make crops more resistant to the main diseases and pests by reducing the use of pesticides. In their study of the compatibility of NBTs with agroecology, the authors focus on risk perception, the power problem, the agroecology framework, and finally ethics in relation to the use of NBTs.

Sourceshttps://www.wur.nl/en/Research-Results/Research-Institutes/plant-research/show-wpr/Make-use-of-opportunities-for-gene-technologies-in-agroecological-agriculture.htm

The full study: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0030727020907619


04/16 EU – UK: FAS-USDA annual report

The United States Department of Agriculture has released a report called “Agricultural Biotechnology annual” regarding the use of Biotechnology in the United Kingdom.

It says in particular that Brexit has the potential to change many policy areas, including the approach to agricultural biotechnology. However, since the EU has been the UK’s trading partner for many years, the UK will retain much of the EU’s food laws in the short and medium term.

  In addition, large multinational seed technology companies are unlikely to invest in the commercialization of a transgenic crop that cannot be marketed only in the United Kingdom. Finally, the report states that at the end of the transitional period, it would be more evident to know what the United Kingdom will do with new variety breeding technologies.

To read a summary: https://www.feednavigator.com/Article/2020/04/16/Brexit-could-propel-ag-biotechnology-forward-in-UK

To read the full report (including Chapter 1 on NBTs): https://apps.fas.usda.gov/newgainapi/api/Report/DownloadReportByFileName?fileName=Agricultural%20Biotechnology%20Annual_London_United%20Kingdom_10-20-2019


04/26 Africa – Kenya: Kenyans dairy producers call to adopt modern technologies to improve production

The Western Region Agricultural Development Corporation in Kenya recalls that smart farming practices start with the right selection of animal breeds and breeding techniques. New breeding techniques should in the future be used to improve production, particularly in the dairy sector in Kenya.

Sourcehttps://www.kbc.co.ke/dairy-farmers-urged-to-embrace-modern-technologies/


04/27 EU – Germany: study highlights role of NBTS, especially in food security

A study on the role of new plant breeding technologies for food security and sustainable agricultural development carried out by a professor from the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development at the University of Goettingen in Germany was published this April. This article reviews the potentials, risks and impacts actually observed from NPBTs.

Study author Matin Qaim believes that “New molecular breeding technologies can help modify plants to produce higher yields. In addition, plants can be selected to require less fertilizer and pesticides because they make better use of soil nutrients and are more resistant to diseases, pests and extreme weather conditions. New technologies can also speed up the reproduction of new traits, allowing faster adaptation to climate change.”

A problem for the development of NBTs is, according to the author, “that regulatory authorities in Europe treat plants developed using gene editing in the same way as genetically modified plants where foreign genes are introduced.”

In conclusion, the author calls for “a different and more evidence-based public discourse on the NBTs. These make an important contribution to sustainable agriculture and food security.”

Sourcehttps://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-04/uog-un042720.php

Full study link: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/aepp.13044