A judge has prohibited Bayer Cropscience from marketing Liberty Link corn, a genetically modified crop resistant to Ignite and Liberty herbicides, in Brazil. If the Leverkusen, Germany–based company fails to suspend marketing, planting, transportation and import immediately, it will be fined R$50,000 ($28,500) a day. This ruling issued in July by an environmental court in the southern state of Parana is only the second time a Brazilian court has overturned a commercial GM crop already approved by the country’s technical commission on biosafety (CTNBio), says the commission’s coordinator Jairon Nascimento. Continue reading
Cassava mosaic disease and brown streak disease stunt the growth and rot the roots of crops, respectively.
Mosaic disease alone destroys an estimated 35 million tonnes of African cassava a year — the difference between needing to import food into Africa and achieving food independence, according to researchers at the US-based Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.
The team has shown in the laboratory tests that genetically engineered (GE) tobacco plants resist brown streak disease. Their results will appear in Molecular Plant Pathology next month (August), Claude Fauquet, lead author of the study and director of cassava research at the centre, told SciDev.Net. Continue reading
The African Union has set up a school to educate and train future regulators in genetically modified (GM) crop biosafety. The African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE) was officially launched in April in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, with a five-year, $10.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Continue reading
This year, midway through Argentina’s 2005–2015 Strategic Plan for Biotechnology, a long-stalled update of the Seed Law circulating in Buenos Aires may finally reach the legislative floor. The current law, which facilitated the rapid boom of transgenic crops in Argentina in the 1990s—60% of Argentina’s soy crop was genetically modified for herbicide resistance within three years of the introduction of Roundup Ready soy—is a source of conflict over intellectual property rights, as it permits farmers to retain seeds without paying royalties.
However, the meteoric rise in GM crop production was not solely the function of the seed law. Compatible agricultural practices in the early 1990s and a welcoming government contributed. Critics and fans alike say it’s a model from which other developing countries can learn important lessons. Continue reading