South Africa at front line of GM research

first_imgThe development of hardier maize varietieswill change the lives of millions of Africans.(Image: MediaClubsouthafrica.com. For morefree photos, visit the image library) Former UN Secretary-general Kofi Annanpraised the efforts of African scientists in hisclosing remarks at the 2010 African GreenRevolution forum in Ghana. (Image: African Green Revolution) MEDIA CONTACTS • Patricia LucasUCT media liaison+27 21 650 5674 / 3732 RELATED ARTICLES • Super sorghum for Africa • Ethiopian wins World Food Prize • ‘Miracle’ rice fights African hunger • GM crops aid SA food security• All eyes on SA’s new suprt spudApril McAlisterSouth Africa is one of the leading participants in research into genetically modified foods, and particularly maize, the most commonly grown staple food on the continent.Professor Jennifer Thomson of the University of Cape Town’s Department of Molecular and Cell Biology is a principal authority on the subject and has been at the forefront of genetic engineering since the 1970s.She now serves on the National Biotechnology Advisory Committee which advises the Minister of Science and Technology and has advised on the GMO (genetically modified organisms) Act, which was passed by Parliament in May 1997, followed by the regulations in November 1999.According to Thomson, the state of GMO research in other African countries is very positive. One organisation making progress is the non-profit African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), based in Nairobi, Kenya.Its purpose is to develop or acquire biotechnology crops through royalty-free licenses. Intellectual property is transferred to African farmers, some of whom have become hugely successful.Plant pathologist Dr Wilson Songa, the Kenyan Secretary of Agriculture, sits on the organisation’s board of trustees, while Thomson is Chairperson Emeritus.Developing hardy plantsWater deficiency is one of Africa’s biggest challenges, and negatively influences food production as well as economies in severely affected countries. Irrigation is expensive and out of range of the majority of small-scale farmers. Crop plants which can efficiently use what little water there is, and still produce an acceptable yield, will have the advantage in these arid areas.One of AATF’s biggest projects at present is Water Efficient Maize for Africa which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.The gene for drought tolerance is acquired royalty- free from Monsanto, a US-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. It is bred into local maize varieties and is being tested in field trials in South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique.The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, based in El Batan, Mexico, is involved in developing hardier varieties of both maize and wheat for developing countries.The results of a study undertaken by the centre in 13 African countries were published in August 2010, and revealed that the distribution of new drought-tolerant maize varieties could improve yields by an average of 25%, help to alleviate poverty, and generate as much as US$1.5-billion (R10.5-billion) in benefits for consumers and producers.Resistant to viral diseasesProf Thomson and her colleagues have focused their attention on the most destructive maize pathogen on the continent – the maize streak virus (MSV). This disease was first observed by entomologist Claude Fuller in KwaZulu-Natal province (known at the time as Natal), and described in his 1901 report as “mealie variegation”.MSV occurs throughout Africa and causes one of the most serious viral crop diseases on the continent. Transmitted by insects, it manifests as pale yellow or yellow-white leaves, stunting the plant severely and often preventing it from producing complete cobs or seed. Research has shown that infection within the first few weeks of planting can result in a total crop loss, and devastation for farmers.The development, through breeding or genetic modification, of a maize variety that resists MSV has been a priority in a number of African countries, among them Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria.Locally, research into MSV resistance is now funded by the South African branch of the Pannar Seed Company, based in KwaZulu-Natal. The project was initially funded by the Claude Leon Foundation, a trust which supports postdoctoral research, then by the Rockefeller Foundation and South Africa’s Maize Trust.The process is slow and expensive, which is why few academic research laboratories are able to undertake it.Strict regulationsSouth Africa has a GMO regulatory body which falls under the Department of Agriculture and is administered by the department’s biosafety directorate. There is a full-time registrar and any application is first directed to a scientific advisory committee and handled on a case-by-case basis.The advisory committee advises an executive council, which is the decision-making body. The council consists of members from the health, environment, and trade and industry sectors, all of whom scrutinise the application closely.The application is approved only if the council is satisfied, or it may be declined or sent back for more research.OppositionSome organisations are opposed to the genetic engineering of foods. Biowatch South Africa, based in KwaZulu-Natal, is the main watchdog and was established in 1997 to keep tabs on issues of genetic modification, and promote biological diversity and sustainable livelihoods. Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace are also active in their opposition.There are five main areas of controversy – safety, effect on natural ecosystems, gene flow into non-GM crops, moral and religious concerns, and corporate control of the food supply.During the research process geneticists have to ensure that they don’t introduce a virus that can harm humans or animals. The Food and Agriculture Organisation has done extensive analyses and has shown that to date no modified foods are harmful in the short term.GM foods are subjected to a battery of tests run by toxicologists. Although all findings are published in books or journals, access to literature on research carried out by government bodies is not always possible.The concern that GM foods are inherently allergenic or cause physiological changes is not based in fact. Testing is rigorous and foodstuffs must undergo and pass the full range of tests before the regulatory body gives approval.When asked about concerns of vegetarians and vegans, Thomson stated that there is no animal DNA in any GM plant that is eaten.The way forwardIn his closing speech at the 2010 African Green Revolution forum held in early September in Accra, Ghana, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan said , “I saw African scientists this week who are at the forefront of developing Africa’s own solutions to unlock agricultural productivity.”One of the strategies for the future, said Annan, will be to boost investment in science, technology and research, in order to ensure food and nutrition security. He added that this would work only if it’s done on a sustained basis and in cooperation with farmers.It is clear that Africa is taking responsibility for her own needs with a vision and the implementation of a plan. The key to understanding the future regarding GM products is knowledge. There are many publications freely available that debate both sides and without doubt, South Africa and other African states are on par with European countries and the US in the field of research and advancement in GM foods.last_img read more

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Vinyl Windows and Vinyl Siding

first_img Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details. This article is only available to GBA Prime Members Should vinyl building materials be banned from green homes? Some environmentalists think so. There seem to be three categories of building materials that particularly irk the anti-PVC crowd: vinyl siding, vinyl windows, and vinyl flooring. Since there are alternatives to all of these materials, these environmentalists argue, green homes shouldn’t include any of them. (Although the anti-vinyl group sometimes mentions PVC pipe used for drains and vents, it seems that neither plastic pipe nor the vinyl insulation on Romex wiring raises as many hackles as vinyl siding, windows, and flooring.)Vinyl-framed windows now outsell windows with wooden frames, aluminum frames, or fiberglass frames. Moreover, in many areas of the country, vinyl siding outsells all other types of residential cladding, and PVC is by far the most common material used to manufacture residential drain pipes. While these facts probably distress anti-vinyl crusaders, they provide evidence that these vinyl building products outperform competing products in some ways. Vinyl building products fill a niche. Vinyl is durable, weather-resistant, low-maintenance, and affordable.The anti-vinyl position rests on several arguments:All of the above arguments have been used by anti-vinyl groups. Some of the points are indisputable, while others are debatable. On some points, evidence points to an opposite conclusion than the one reached by anti-vinyl crusaders. On other points, the evidence is inconclusive, and more research is needed before we can reach firm conclusions.For a good background on the issues surrounding the PVC debate, I recommend an Environmental Building News article written in 1994 by Nadav Malin and Alex Wilson, “Should We Phase Out PVC?”Environmental Building News revisited the topic in Februrary 2014, when it published “The PVC Debate: A Fresh Look.”Environmental life-cycle assessments attempt to weigh all of the pluses and minuses of building materials so that one product can be… center_img Start Free Trial Already a member? Log inlast_img read more

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Ateneo rout a ‘wakeup call’ for UP early in UAAP Season 80

first_imgBrace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Tyler Tio makes up for lost time, debuts with a splash for Ateneo LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST PLAY LIST 01:00Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games “What happened to us was like a wakeup call. We need to recover quickly,” said Desiderio in Filipino after his team slipped to 1-1. “It was really a struggle, we were scouted very well and almost all of our plays were countered.”UP head coach Bo Perasol called it a “rude awakening” but it was also something that his Fighting Maroons were eager to move past.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“We had to move on immediately,” said Perasol in Filipino. “There’s really nothing left to do, we lost badly but it happens. We move on to Sunday and hope that we have a better game.”Against the hot shooting Blue Eagles, the Maroons were dismal on the floor, going 25-of-67 from the field. They also got sorely outrebounded, 51-38. LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netUniversity of the Philippines was on a high after a dramatic 74-73 opening win over University of Santo Tomas after wingman Paul Desiderio hit a dagger of a three-pointer on Sunday.Come Wednesday, the Fighting Maroons were sent crashing back to reality after Ateneo put on a display for the convincing 92-71 win as the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament continued.ADVERTISEMENT Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president MOST READ For Desiderio’s part, he finished with just nine points on 4-of-18 shooting after scoring 17 points against the Growling Tigers.“I think we were complacent and we weren’t focused because of that,” said Desiderio. “I wasn’t able to adjust, I was too focused on scoring.”UP has a chance to bounce back on Sunday against University of the East, which has yet to win in two matches so far.ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad  Read Next View comments BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fightlast_img read more

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D’Angelo Russell drops career-best 44 as Nets rally past Kings

first_imgJarrett Allen added 13 points and seven rebounds for Brooklyn. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 10 points.It was a much-needed boost for Brooklyn, which had lost the first three games of a seven-game trip. The Nets were also struggling to hold onto seventh place in the East before Russell led the comeback.De’Aaron Fox scored 27 points for Sacramento. Bagley had 29 points on 12-of-15 shooting for the Kings (35-35). Nemanja Bjelica added 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Harrison Barnes scored 17.Two days after beating woeful Chicago 129-102, Sacramento was well on its way to a lopsided win over a contending team in the East before things slipped away.“We relaxed and were very casual,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “Didn’t run back on defense, turned the ball over a ton and took a lot of jump shots because we thought it was going to be easy.”The Kings led by 28 points and shot 51.6 percent from the floor.TIP-INSNets: Jarrett Allen picked up a technical foul in the first quarter. . Allan Crabbe missed his third consecutive game with a sore right knee.Kings: Buddy Hield went 0 of 8 beyond the arc and remains nine 3s shy of the franchise single-season record of 240, set by current Sacramento assistant general manager Peja Stojakovic in 2003-04.WASTED TIMEOUT Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell celebrates as he walks off the court after the Nets defeated the Sacramento Kings 123-121 in an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 19, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)SACRAMENTO, California — Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson tried just about everything to kick the Nets into gear. There were quick timeouts, angry, animated discussions with his players and even switching from man to zone defense.When nothing else worked, D’Angelo Russell and a handful of Brooklyn reserves took over and carried the Nets to an improbable win on their longest road trip of the season.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon event UAAP volleyball: Lady Warriors end 4-game skid, match last season’s wins “I give a lot of credit to our bigs,” Russell said. “They set screens and got me open, got me downhill. Once you get downhill, any player that can get downhill and see the floor like that and see the rim wide open, the sky’s the limit.”Russell’s 27 points are the most in a fourth quarter in the NBA this season. Russell also had four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, breaking Allen Crabbe’s single-season record of 201, set last season. Russell has 202.“Once you get in that groove it’s hard to get you out of it,” Russell said. “No matter what defense a team throws at you, you’re going to find a way to get it done. That’s kind of what it was.”Hollis-Jefferson had 14 points off the bench, and none more important than his game-winning layup after Sacramento’s Marvin Bagley III stepped out of bounds with 5.5 seconds left.Hollis-Jefferson took the inbound pass from Joe Harris and looked for Russell, who was being double-teamed. With the clock winding down, Hollis-Jefferson drove from near the 3-point arc and went around a Kings defender near the hoop to score.ADVERTISEMENT Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting LATEST STORIES MOST READ Atkinson was so frustrated with the Nets that he called a timeout 20 seconds into the second quarter, moments after Bogdan Bogdanovic made a 3-pointer that put the Kings ahead 41-25. Atkinson was quite animated during the break as he spoke to his players before getting up and walking away. It worked briefly, until the Kings scored 20 straight to open the third quarter.“The coaching was terrible,” Atkinson said. “The zone was terrible. I used up my timeouts. They never responded. We put a group of players out there that have a great bond and a great spirit and were working their tails off behind closed doors. It was 100 percent on them. That’s player ownership.”UP NEXTNets: Play the Lakers in Los Angeles on Friday.Kings: Host Dallas on Thursday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Colombia protesters vow new strike after talks hit snag Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Russell scored 27 of his career-high 44 points in the fourth quarter, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made a layup with eight-tenths of a second remaining, and the Nets rallied from 28 points down in the second half to beat the Sacramento Kings 123-121 Tuesday night and snap a four-game losing streak.“We were at our wit’s end, it was kind of desperation,” Atkinson said. “It was a little bit like, ‘Let’s conserve our main guys and kind of play it out.’ I wasn’t expecting an amazing comeback, I just have to be honest. And then slowly but surely we started cutting the lead.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsBrooklyn was sluggish and out of sync for three quarters before Russell sparked the Nets’ biggest comeback of the season.After scoring 17 points in the first half and going without a point in the third quarter, Russell shot 10 of 15 in the fourth quarter, repeatedly burning Sacramento’s defense with quick drives to the basket. He scored 16 straight points during one stretch while getting plenty of help from his teammates. Bloomberg: US would benefit from more, not fewer, immigrants Miguel Romero Polo: Bamboo technology like no other Wintry storm delivers US travel woes before Thanksgiving Google Philippines names new country director View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

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9 months agoSchar welcomes praise from Newcastle boss Benitez

first_imgSchar welcomes praise from Newcastle boss Benitezby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFabian Schar has welcomed praise from Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez.Now fully fit, the Swiss defender has impressed since his return.On Benitez’s praise, Schar told Blick: “It’s nice to hear that. He knew before my commitment what I am as a player. “I have my strengths in the game with the ball. I’m still trying to force myself to improve day after day.”Schar went down with Deportivo La Coruna last season.He added: “I do not think about that. Of course, in England, compared to Spain, you have seven to eight teams playing against relegation. That is already extreme.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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9 months agoDONE DEAL: Ex-Tottenham defender Steven Caulker joins Alanyaspor

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say DONE DEAL: Ex-Tottenham defender Steven Caulker joins Alanyasporby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Tottenham defender Steven Caulker has joined Alanyaspor in the Turkish top flight.The 27-year-old has been without a club since leaving Dundee in September 2018.Caulker started his career at Tottenham, joined Cardiff for £8m in 2013 and moved to QPR for the same amount a year later.”He has his own goals. He is only 27 and hopefully he will take his career to a higher level,” said Alanyaspor president Hasan Cavusoglu.”He is big in our expectations,” said club president Hasan Cavusoglu.Caulker had loan spells at Southampton and Liverpool in the 2015-16 season. last_img read more

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a month agoTottenham boss Pochettino: This not the best squad I’ve had

first_imgTottenham boss Pochettino: This not the best squad I’ve hadby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has had a dig at his players.After two transfer windows without signing a single player, Spurs returned to business this summer and secured the services of Ryan Sessegnon, Giovani Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndomele and Jack Clarke.And although only a handful of key players left, with Kieran Trippier and Fernando Llorente moving on, Pochettino remains unsure just how good the side can be.”We will see at the end of the season. At the moment I don’t believe this is the best squad,” Pochettino said.”But I think if you only see the results, playing in the final of the Champions League, it’s easy to say the better squad was last season’s squad because we got to the final.”We will see if we can repeat, or if we win some trophy maybe we can talk about this being the best squad.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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Football Joshua Norwood transfers out of Ohio State

OSU Gray redshirt sophomore Joshua Norwood (28) breaks up a pass intended for OSU Scarlet senior wide receiver Austin Mack (11) during the Spring Game at Ohio Stadium on April 15th, 2017. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Social Media EditorOhio State redshirt sophomore cornerback Joshua Norwood is transferring from the football program, a team spokesman confirmed to The Lantern. Norwood’s departure was originally reported by Tim May of the Dispatch.Norwood is the eighth Buckeye to leave the program since the end of the 2016 season, joining transfers offensive linemen Evan Lisle, Tyler Gerald and Kyle Trout, and wide receivers James Clark, Torrance Gibson and Alex Stump. Quarterback Stephen Collier announced his retirement from football in January, as well.A member of the 2015 recruiting class, the Valdosta, Georgia, native redshirted his first season in Columbus, then played limited minutes in 11 games in 2016, accumulating eight tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass breakup.He has three years of eligibility remaining.Norwood’s transfer brings the Buckeyes down to the NCAA’s 85 scholarship limit for the 2017 season. read more

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Man arrested after 2 carjackings in Portland

first_imgPORTLAND — Portland police have identified a man suspected of carjacking two vehicles and hitting a pedestrian.Sgt. Chris Burley said Tuesday that 26-year-old Quinton Franklin faces charges of robbery, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, driving while intoxicated and other crimes.According to Burley, officers responded Monday to a report that a knife-wielding man carjacked a vehicle in Northwest Portland, and then struck a pedestrian. The pedestrian’s injury was not life-threatening.As officers searched for the suspect, a 911 caller reported that a vehicle matching the carjacked vehicle’s description had rolled over on Interstate 5. The caller said the driver of the crashed vehicle then forced his way into a Toyota Camry and drove off.A Tigard, Ore., police officer spotted the second stolen vehicle. A chase ended with the suspect crashing into a BMW sedan.Burley says Franklin was assessed at a hospital and then booked into a Portland jail.last_img read more

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Southgate knows 19 or 20 names for England World Cup squad

first_imgEngland manager Gareth Southgate has revealed that he now knows about “19 or 20” players that will be included in his final 23-man squad for the World CupAfter a rather controversial VAR decision had awarded Italy a late penalty, which Lorenzo Insigne scored, England were denied an almost certain victory at Wembley, after Jamie Vardy had put them ahead before the break.Southgate’s side won their first friendly against Holland 1-0 with the latest international break having represented some of the players’ final opportunity to prove themselves to the coach ahead of the final selection for the World Cup.“There have been some strong performances from individuals that have cemented… not their place in the squad, 19 or 20 of those were pretty clear, (but) it’s often who are the next ones in if we get a problem in a particular area,” said Southgate, according to Sky Sports.“The things we’ve tried, we’ve learned a lot. What’s really pleased me is the guys are solving problems on the pitch themselves: changes of formation from the opposition, patterns of working their way through different pressing tactics.Jadon Sancho, Borussia DortmundCrouch: Liverpool could beat Man United to Jadon Sancho Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Peter Crouch wouldn’t be surprised to see Jadon Sancho end up at Liverpool one day instead of his long-term pursuers Manchester United.“That’s a real plus, and will only improve the more we work together. I’m looking forward to the lead-in to a fantastic and exciting tournament for us.”Southgate was pleased with their previous four friendlies against the likes of Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy, which has seen them collect positive results.“We’ve played four of the biggest football countries in the world, and been competitive in every game,” he said.“Our patterns of play have become far clearer, and we’ll improve on that.”last_img read more

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