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Ag Science

Tissue Culturing: GE From the Lab to the Field

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When you start to wrap your head around the idea of Genetic Engineering, you can be left with more questions than you had to start with. For example: Once a scientist has actually made a change to the genes of a plant, what happens next? How do scientists get from modifying the genes of a single cell, to stable GE seeds? The answer is Tissue Culturing. In this video, The host of KNOW IDEAS MEDIA Nick Saik explains the steps between DNA and Dirt. Enjoy!

Information Source Links:

http://vlab.amrita.edu/?sub=3&brch=18…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tissue_…

This video was produced independently by Know Ideas Media

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Ag Science

Is GMO Natural?

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Is GMO natural? It’s a simple question with a complex answer. Maybe nature is the ultimate genetic engineer. This video features Dr. Russell Nagata of the University of Hawaii.

Information Source Links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History…

http://www.genetics.org/content/148/3…

http://www.whatislife.ie/cambridge.htm

https://www.popsci.com/technology/art…

This video was produced independently by Know Ideas Media

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Ag Business

Saskatchewan to Invest $11 Million in Funding for Ag Crops

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tomato and syringe

By Emily Folk

Saskatchewan to Invest $11 Million in Funding for Ag Crops

CropSphere is an annual conference, held seven years running in Saskatchewan, designed to inform and empower the Canadian agricultural industry on the latest developments, partnerships and technologies.

One of the most important news items out of the conference tends to be the announcement by the Saskatchewan government of its latest investments in the Agriculture Development Fund (ADF). This tradition continued on January 14, 2020, when Agriculture Minister David Marit announced a slate of crop-focused research initiatives to further empower the ADF as well as farmers and industrial growers across the country.

$11 Million for 47 New Ag Research Projects

The Agriculture Development Fund is part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP). CAP is a federal-provincial funding system that’s on track to spend $388 million over five years on strategic agricultural research across Saskatchewan. Agriculture Minister Marit said of the ADF’s efforts, “We know these investments pay off. In fact, for every dollar we invest in research, there is a nine-to-one return on our investment.”

One of ADF’s goals is to increase the production of Saskatchewan crops to 45 million tons by 2030, and the value of those crops to $10 billion by the same year.

The $11 million in ADF funding comes from federal and provincial governments. Plus, additional money — to the tune of $8.7 million — comes from partners such as Western Grains Research Foundation, the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commission, Saskatchewan Forage Seed Development Commission, Genome Canada and many others.

These 47 new agricultural technology and methodology projects cover a wide range of opportunities and concerns. Each one supports the overarching mission of raising the value of crops produced in Saskatchewan and beyond and improving the yield of Canada’s primary agricultural products, including wheat, corn, soybeans, barley and oats.

The announced projects include research in the following areas:

  • Mitigation techniques for herbicide-resistant crop plants.
  • New methods for detecting and controlling clubroot and other diseases.
  • New technologies to efficiently separate starch proteins from different types of flour.
  • Ways to improve the diversity and stability of wheat crops to ensure they won’t fall victim to disease.
  • Methods for screening lentil and pea variants for resistance to root rot, fusarium avenaceum and other fungi.
  • Visual analytics tools to reduce labor costs, improve the effectiveness of crop inspections and spot problems.

Receiving funding for ADF projects involves competing with other researchers. Interested parties must demonstrate how their product or methodology solves an existing pain point or addresses the larger goal of boosting crop outputs.

No avenue of scientific research is off the table as long as it demonstrates merit. The material sciences regularly turn out new products for dealing with crop spoilage, pests and other factors that cause harvested crops to spoil before their time. Other projects focus on demystifying the genome of key cash crops and creating new variants that can shrug off environmental stresses.

A Call to Arms to Feed the World Sustainably

Sustainability is one of the major undercurrents any time the ADF announces a new round of agricultural research funding. Data indicates there will be 3 billion more people to feed in 2050 than in 2010. Experts also predict a 56% food gap between the calories produced by agriculture in 2010 versus the calories required to feed the population by 2050.

Research like this reveals that business-as-usual isn’t sufficient. Agricultural experts cannot meet needs without ongoing research into crop yields and resistance, soil health, efficient ways to use water and fertilizers and new crop variants that resist extreme weather.

As Agriculture Minister Marit indicated, the ROI from funding these scientific efforts is high. However, putting a price on feeding the world’s hungry is more complicated.

I’m Emily Folk, and I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. Growing up I had a love of animals, and after countless marathons of watching Animal Planet documentaries, I developed a passion for ecology and conservation.  You can read more of my work by clicking this link:   Conservation Folks.

 

 

 

Other stories from Emily Folk:

What the USMCA Might Mean for Agriculture and Biotechnology?

Extreme Weather Patterns Causing State of Agricultural Emergency in Canada

 

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