To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

February 19, 2007

'Gene deleting' tool could lead to safer GM crops

SciDev.Net has a report that scientists from China and the United States have devised a technique that could prevent the flow of transgenic genes into non-biotech crops — and might end the long-standing debate on terminator genes. This could free poor farmers from dependence on companies that sell genetically modified (GM) seeds, suggest the researchers.

If applied successfully to other crops, the technique could allow farmers to grow non-transgenic and fully viable plants using seeds or pollen from GM plants — unlike the terminator gene system, which makes the plants infertile. Terminator genes are inserted into GM seeds as a way to protect the companies' patents and ensure that no genes from GM crops contaminate
non-GM crops. But this means farmers have to buy the seeds every year.

Mohammed Gebriel, an Egyptian biotechnologist at the Belgium-based Ghent University, said the GM-gene-deletor system could free poor farmers from this dependency on multinational companies. He said it could also protect farmers' tradition of sharing seeds to improve crop varieties, as buying sterile seeds made this impossible. The gene-deleting technique also provides an important step towards tackling the environmental and health issues raised against GM crops,including consumer concerns over GM food.

The scientists designed specific molecular recognition sites around the foreign genes, targeting them for removal by specific enzymes. By incorporating these excision sites into the genome of GM tobacco plants, they found that all unwanted genes were removed from the pollen and seed with as much as 100 per cent efficiency under glasshouse conditions.

Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by

Back to TOP