Plant biologist explains how disease-resistant crops could help prevent global famine

food africa wheat

Each month, those working at the pioneering heart of Norwich Research Park [in the UK] tell us how their work is shaping the world.

Scientists are racing to stop plant diseases that could devastate staple crops like wheat, corn and potato – resulting in food shortages around the world. Biologist Dr Peter van Esse of The Sainsbury Laboratory is one of them.

How is your work making a difference to the world today? …. If a fungus was to take hold in the wheat-producing region of Punjab, India; it would be similar to a natural disaster like a tsunami …. Our biggest crops are already affected by diseases that could become catastrophic — my job is to avoid that.

Related article:  Fine tuning photosynthesis: Predictive model helps scientists breed higher yielding crops

That sounds quite dramatic. The Irish potato famine of 1845-49 killed over 1 million …. people might not think that could happen again, but it could.

How are you preparing for this threat? …. Because plant pathogens can quickly overcome single resistance sources, we must build more robust solutions, a bit like having a longer password for security. If we introduce four types of resistance into the plant to recognize a disease before it spreads through a crop, it’ll be resistant for much longer.

Read the original article

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend