Posted 21st September 2018 by Jane Williams
The eIF‑5A protein is highly conserved in all plants and animals and is the only protein in any organism that has the unique hypusine modification caused by the Deoxyhypusine Synthase (DHS) enzyme. The unmodified-to-hypusinated ratio of these two forms of eIF‑5A determines the fate of the cell. Recent studies suggest that eIF‑5A is mainly involved in RNA metabolism and movement through the cell, thereby regulating cell growth, proliferation, and programmed death. These stable genetic changes will significantly enhance crop traits, including:
Posted 29th August 2018 by Jane Williams
There’s more plant genome databases than there ever has been before. We’ve collated the most recent databases for ontology information on a variety of crops, including: rice, maize, wheat, sorghum, barley, millet, rye, and oats.
Posted 22nd August 2018 by Jane Williams
On 25 July 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s highest court, issued a decision clarifying whether the EU would regulate products of innovative breeding techniques, like gene editing, under the EU’s Directive 2001/18, the principal EU law governing the regulation of GMOs.
Posted 17th August 2018 by Jane Williams
In an article which discussed the exploration of the ‘orphan crop’ pearl millet, Amibka Dudhate concluded that photosynthesis, plant hormone signal transduction, and mitogen-activated protein kinase signalling pathways are significantly activated on the advent of drought stress in pearl millet. Her colleague, Harshraj Shinde, expands on these findings.
Posted 1st August 2018 by Jane Williams
Last week, the European Court of Justice ruled that gene-edited crops are equivalent to transgenic GMOs. The court ruling came as a surprise because it negates a preliminary opinion that was issued by the court’s Advocate General Michael Bobek in January 2018. This reactionary ECJ ruling might become the final nail in the coffin of the European Agbiotech sector and many scientists, including myself, are concerned that it will discourage the use of genome editing in agriculture.
Posted 23rd July 2018 by Jane Williams
Ensuring global food security
The human population is increasing, which means that we need to improve crop productivity to maintain food security. Over the last century, plant breeding and modern agriculture have made large gains in productivity. However, this growth is not keeping pace with demand. If plant photosynthesis could be improved, this would provide breeders with a new tool to increase crop yields. This has been a major research focus over the last 20 years and significant progress has been made in understanding this process. However, crops with improved photosynthesis have yet to be successfully commercialised.
Posted 9th July 2018 by Jane Williams
Despite the fact that GMs have been around for over thirty years, they still ignite debate. We spoke to Professor Jim Dunwell, University of Reading, at the 6th Plant Genomics & Gene Editing Congress: Europe to discuss the steps that should be taken to gain the public’s confidence.
Posted 22nd June 2018 by Jane Williams
On January 2018, Michal Bobek, in a preliminary judgement in a case at the European Court of Justice, advised that “organisms obtained by mutagenesis” should not be seen as genetically modified, unless they contained recombinant nuclear acid molecules or other GM organisms.