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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Skull fracture

first_imgDefinitionA skull fracture is a fracture or break in the cranial (skull) bones.Alternative NamesBasilar skull fracture; Depressed skull fracture; Linear skull fractureConsiderationsSkull fractures may occur with head injuries. The skull provides good protection for the brain. However, a severe impact or blow can cause the skull to break. It may be accompanied by concussion or other injury to the brain.The brain can be affected directly by damage to the nervous system tissue and bleeding. The brain can also be affected indirectly by blood clots that form under the skull and compress the underlying brain tissue (subdural or epidural hematoma).A simple fracture is a break in the bone without damage to the skin.A linear skull fracture is a break in a cranial bone resembling a thin line, without splintering, depression, or distortion of bone.A depressed skull fracture is a break in a cranial bone (or “crushed” portion of skull) with depression of the bone in toward the brain.A compound fracture involves a break in, or loss of, skin and splintering of the bone.CausesHead traumaFalls, automobile accidents, physical assault, and sportsSymptomsBleeding from wound, ears, nose, or around eyesBruising behind the ears or under the eyesChanges in pupils (sizes unequal, not reactive to light)ConfusionConvulsionsDifficulties with balanceDrainage of clear or bloody fluid from ears or noseDrowsinessHeadacheLoss of consciousnessNauseaRestlessness, irritabilitySlurred speechStiff neckSwellingVisual disturbancesVomitingIn some cases, the only symptom may be a bump on the head. A bump or bruise may take up to 24 hours to develop.advertisementFirst AidIf you think someone has a skull fracture:Check the airways, breathing, and circulation. If necessary, begin rescue breathing and CPR.Avoid moving the person (unless absolutely necessary) until medical help arrives. Have someone to call 911 (or the local emergency number) for medical assistance.If the person must be moved, take care to stabilize the head and neck. Place your hands on both sides of the head and under the shoulders. Do not allow the head to bend forward or backward, or to twist or turn.Carefully check the site of injury, but do not probe in or around the site with a foreign object. It can be hard to know if the skull is fractured or depressed (dented in) at the site of injury.If there is bleeding, apply firm pressure with a clean cloth over a broad area to control blood loss.If blood soaks through, do not remove the original cloth. Instead, apply more cloths on top, and continue to apply pressure.If the person is vomiting, stabilize the head and neck, and carefully turn the victim to the side to prevent choking on vomit.If the person is conscious and experiencing any of the previously listed symptoms, transport to the nearest emergency medical facility (even if the patient does not think medical help is needed).Do NotDo NOT move the person unless absolutely necessary. Head injuries may be associated with spinal injuries.Do NOT remove protruding objects.Do NOT allow the person to continue with physical activities.Do NOT forget to watch the person closely until medical help arrives.Do NOT give the person any medicines before talking to a doctor.Do NOT leave the person alone, even if there are no obvious problems.When to Contact a Medical ProfessionalThere are problems with breathing or circulation.Direct pressure does not stop bleeding from the nose, ears, or wound.There is drainage of clear fluid from the nose or ears.There is facial swelling, bleeding, or bruising.There is an object protruding from the skull.The person is unconscious, is experiencing convulsions, has multiple injuries, appears to be in any distress, or cannot think clearly.PreventionAlthough no child is injury-proof, parents can take some simple steps to keep their children from getting head injuries.Not all head injuries can be prevented. The following simple steps can help keep you and your child safe:Always use safety equipment during activities that could cause a head injury. These include seat belts, bicycle or motorcycle helmets, and hard hats.Learn and follow bicycle safety recommendations.Do not drink and drive. Do not allow yourself to be driven by someone who may have been drinking alcohol or is otherwise impaired.ReferencesKerr HA. Closed head injury. Clin Sports Med. 32 (2013) 273-287.Heegaard WG, Biros MH, Head injury. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosens Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Mosby; 2013:chap 41.advertisementLing GSF. Traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 406.Review Date:1/13/2014Reviewed By:Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.last_img read more

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9 months agoBenkovic insists Celtic perfect preparation for Leicester return

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Benkovic insists Celtic perfect preparation for Leicester returnby Freddie Taylor9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFilip Benkovic says he will be ready for the Premier League after his loan stint with Celtic. The Leicester City defender has earned rave reviews for his performances in Scotland this season.And he thinks the experience will set him up perfectly for a return to the King Power.”In this period at Celtic, I feel I’ve improved as a player every day,” he told the Scottish Sun. “Here, I have to the scope to work on every aspect of my game.”That’s vital if I want to go on to play at the very top level. I feel good here and that I’m doing a good job.”Later in my career, when I look back, I want to say I did well at Celtic. I want to know that I worked hard and was very humble during my time in Scotland.”This will prepare me for the Premier League. Experience is so important for a player because it then makes it easier to deal with certain situations.”It makes you smarter. But nothing can happen without hard work because I think the Premier League is the No.1 in the world.”Here at Celtic, I play with pressure, which is good. But that’s normal for me – I came from a club in Croatia where it was the same.”I like that, I enjoy the pressure. To me that’s a positive, now and moving forward.”The last information I had from Leicester was that I am staying at Celtic until the end of the season.”I enjoy it here so that’s what I’m focusing on. After that, we will speak and see what’s for the best.”I’m having fun here and want more of it.” last_img read more

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The Eagles Offense Needed To Be Virtually Flawless And It Was

In Super Bowl LII on Sunday night, the New England Patriots racked up 613 yards, the most ever for a team in the Super Bowl. Tom Brady threw for 505 yards, which was the most by a quarterback in playoff history. The Patriots didn’t punt once in the entire game. It was a masterclass in offensive execution, and it was all for naught.The Philadelphia Eagles’ 41-33 win over New England will be rightly remembered for the triumph of backup quarterback Nick Foles over a Super Bowl legend. But perhaps more remarkable was that the Eagles needed to be virtually flawless on offense to keep pace with New England, and they succeeded.Defensive coordinators Matt Patricia and Jim Schwartz, who both received heavy head-coaching buzz this hiring cycle, watched helplessly on the sidelines as the offenses combined for 1,151 yards. Forget Super Bowl records or even playoff records, that’s most total yards in any game in NFL history.Between Foles’ downfield passing and the inside/outside power-running combo of LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi, the Eagles piled up 538 (hey, FiveThirtyEight!) total yards themselves and were able to counter the league’s most prolific offense each time it landed a punch. After averaging just 5.3 yards per pass attempt across six regular-season appearances1Not counting an appearance in Week 8, when he entered the game with a minute left so that he could kneel twice and run out the clock. and three starts in relief of starter Carson Wentz, Foles burned the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship for 352 yards at a 10.7 yards-per-attempt clip. Whatever changed in Foles — or whatever magic spell head coach Doug Pederson cast — was still in force Sunday when Foles threw for 373 yards against the Patriots defense, averaging 8.7 yards per attempt. He also showed a willingness to test the Patriots defense downfield, connecting on 11 of 19 throws of 10 air yards or more.After the teams traded red-zone stops on the first two drives, Blount set the tone with a bruising 36-yard run. On the very next play, Foles went for the jugular with a 34-yard touchdown strike to receiver Alshon Jeffery. It was one of five passes — and two scores — where Foles connected for 20 more yards. To put his development this past month in perspective, he only had three such passes in the regular season. The effectiveness of the Eagles’ run game set the table for Foles’s downfield feast. Repeated zone runs and outside stretches kept the Pats defense honest — and running horizontally — while Foles attacked vertically. Four Eagles combined to gain 164 yards on 27 carries, averaging 6.1 yards per attempt, while Foles completed 28 of 43 passes for 373 yards and a 88.6 Raw QBR. Pederson’s creativity shows up in the box score; five Eagles had at least seven touches — and two others had at least 70 yards, a receiving touchdown or both. Yes, that includes Foles: Pederson’s balance and aggression broke the Patriots’ bend-but-don’t-break defense. As expected, the Patriots still made halftime adjustments; the Eagles averaged over 2 yards more per play in the first half than in the second half. But they were still devastating on third and fourth down, keeping drives alive by converting 12 of 18 tries. Per ESPN Stats & Information Group, Foles was practically perfect in conversion situations, posting an 11.4 yards-per-attempt average, two touchdowns and 99.9 Raw QBR on 15 attempts.Yet it was a sloppily played game. Mistakes — including three missed first-half kicks, two failed two-point conversions, Brady’s dropped QB throwback and a host of blown coverages — took some of the shine off what was otherwise a sterling offensive performance by both teams.Besides his dropped pass on the option — which, to be fair, was not a good throw from Danny Amendola — it’s hard to put any blame on Brady, who put up his best statistical effort in eight Super Bowls. In fact, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group, he became the first quarterback in NFL history to lose any game while posting 500+ passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. No Super Bowl-losing quarterback has played better.Yet Brady raised the ire of the entire footballing internet after the game, when he was quoted as saying the Eagles made “one good play”: As the full context of the quote reveals, though, Brady was spot-on: Brandon Graham’s fourth-quarter strip sack of Brady was the only consequential defensive play of the game, and it came at the perfect time to short-circuit Brady’s now-routine postseason heroics. Fittingly, it was also the only sack by either team in the game, which tied a Super Bowl low mark.Pederson has to be credited for his amazing coaching performance, winning it all after completely remaking his offense to suit his backup quarterback. The same is true of general manager Howie Roseman, who not only survived his power struggle with deposed head coach Chip Kelly but also won the Super Bowl two years later.But most of the credit should go to Foles, who deservedly won the Super Bowl MVP award after getting jerked around by Kelly, the Eagles and the rest of the NFL. Despite contemplating retirement after being cut by the Rams in 2016, Foles stayed humble and hungry and returned the team that drafted him in 2012.His patience, and theirs, resulted in a Super Bowl payoff for a fan base that desperately needed a championship.CORRECTION (Feb. 5, 2017, 2:25 p.m.): A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the number of Eagles who had fewer than seven touches but who had at least 70 yards or a receiving touchdown — it was two, not three. 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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Wrestling Ohio State volunteer coach Anthony Ralph finds talent in overlooked recruits

Anthony Ralph joined the Ohio State wrestling program as a volunteer assistant coach in October 2016. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State AthleticsAnthony Ralph started in collegiate wrestling as a competitor at Kent State, but it wasn’t until he took a post-graduation job as an assistant coach at Notre Dame College that he realized the nuances of recruiting.“It was selling a school, getting the people to trust in you, building relationships that start through the recruiting process,” Ralph said. “If the student-athlete trusts you enough to come to a school that you believe in, it kind of builds that bond and friendship.” Now, as a volunteer assistant coach for the Ohio State wrestling team, Ralph has taken his love of recruiting and combined it with an analytical approach to find unheralded recruits who might bring success to the program. He calls his strategy “moneyball,” a reference to the analytics-driven success the Oakland Athletics had in 2002. “At Notre Dame, myself and a couple of the other coaches kind of came up with a system, an algorithm to find value in guys that other schools don’t see,” Ralph said. “It’s recruiting those guys that aren’t getting the everyday call from Penn State or Michigan, Iowa, Oklahoma State.”Ralph came to Notre Dame College in 2006 at the invitation of his former Kent State coach, Frank Ramano, who was creating the Falcons’ wrestling program. By 2012, Ralph had helped bring in No. 1 recruiting classes in the NAIA from 2012-16. During his time as an assistant coach, he helped lead the Falcons to three NAIA national titles as well as an NCAA Division II team championship in 2014, producing 18 national champions and 62 All-Americans. “Before I left, I think we were No. 1 in the country the last five years,” Ralph said. “So, something I kind of took pride on because I couldn’t compete anymore. That was kind of my way of competing, as far as with other programs.” Ohio State associate head wrestling coach J Jaggers noticed Ralph’s success and kept his childhood friend from northeast Ohio on his radar.By December 2016, the old friends were reunited in Columbus, using the same algorithm that brought him success with the Falcons. “What his system is designed to do is provide depth, find value in some kids that the [recruiting] rankings may not indicate at the time,” Jaggers said.Ralph said the secret of the algorithm is to focus on wrestlers who specialize in scoring. It spots kids who are taking the most risks on the mat, showing consistency in shot attempts and points scored. This helps find wrestlers who are assertive rather than passive, head coach Tom Ryan said.“There are a lot of guys that win at the high school level that are not points scorers, lots of state champions, lots of highly ranked guys that are not point scorers,” Ryan said. “When you look at one of the critical ingredients to success at the next level, it’s a desire to put yourself in scoring positions all the time, so a lack of fear.”Ryan said Ralph has already become a key part of the coaching staff, pointing to the amount of work he does to find guys who fit the culture of Ohio State wrestling. “The biggest thing in the biggest way is that he digs so much that he finds people that want to be here,” Ryan said. “We need depth and I would say that he has already, in his short time here, helped a lot with our depth.”Ralph said “moneyball” is more than just finding athletes to round out the wrestling roster. It is to continue to build what Ryan and the rest of the coaching staff has built at Ohio State. “Using that ‘moneyball’ system, we are not just looking for depth,” Ralph said. “We are looking for guys that can wrestle at the Big Ten level and become All-Americans and national champs.”Jaggers said he thinks Ralph could become the nation’s best recruiter. “When he put his mind to, ‘I’m trying to be the best recruiter in college wrestling,’ with his personality and his skill set, yeah it could easily happen,” Jaggers said. read more

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Mens Volleyball Ohio State eliminated in MIVA tournament with defeat to No

Redshirt sophomore Jake Hanes smacks the ground out of frustration after sending the ball out-of-bounds during Ohio State’s loss to George Mason on Jan. 18 at St. John Arena in Columbus. Credit: Ethan Clewell | Senior ReporterIn a fitting end to an odd season, the Ohio State men’s volleyball team could not continue its recent five-set magic, falling in four sets to No. 10 Loyola Chicago in the opening match of the conference tournament, 15-25, 25-20, 14-25 and 22-25. The loss eliminates the Buckeyes (10-19, 5-10 MIVA) from the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association tournament and any chance at a bid for the NCAA tournament. The Ramblers (20-7, 12-2 MIVA) move on to face No. 14 Purdue Fort Wayne in the semifinals Wednesday. Heading into the fourth set, it seemed Ohio State might find its late-set heroics again and come out with a victory. Sophomore opposite hitter Jake Hanes crushed a kill to bring the Buckeyes and the Ramblers’ even at 21 late in the fourth set, but three straight points, including a block and a kill by senior middle blocker Paul Narup and an ace by senior outside hitter Collin Mahan propelled Loyola Chicago to a 25-22 fourth set victory. Mahan led the Ramblers with 14 kills, three aces and 11 digs. Junior middle blocker Kyle Piekarski led the team defensively with six total blocks, adding an ace and nine kills. In familiar fashion, Ohio State struggled out of the gate in the first set. After jumping out to an early 4-3 lead, the Ramblers ran away with the first set, scoring 11 of the next 17 points. Hanes contributed a kill and two aces in hopes of cutting into the lead, but Loyola Chicago responded with five straight points of its own, including kills by Piekarski, Mahan and senior outside hitter Will Tischler, setting the Ramblers up with a 22-13 set lead. The teams traded the final four points, giving Loyola Chicago a 25-15 first-set victory. Three of the Ramblers’ eight aces came in the first set and their stellar efficiency, hitting at a .652 clip, helped stifle any hopes of an Ohio State comeback. But the Buckeyes would not go silently. Right on cue, Ohio State came alive in the second set. A five-point run, including a kill and an ace by Hanes and a kill by freshman outside hitter Sean Ryan turned a 6-4 deficit into an 8-6 Ohio State lead. The Buckeyes continued to add to their lead, courtesy of kills by Hanes and multiple errors by Loyola Chicago, but kills by Piekarski and Narup brought the Buckeyes’ lead to one, 16-15. Ohio State answered with a four-point run featuring back-to-back aces by Hanes, reestablishing a five-point cushion which the Buckeyes would carry to the end of the set, winning 25-20, before falling in the next two sets. Ohio State finished the 2019 campaign with a 10-19 record, finishing 5-10 in the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. read more

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