• What is gene editing? Scientific community raises concerns over EU classification

    What is gene editing? Scientific community raises concerns over EU classification

    An unexpected ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has classified a promising gene editing technique as genetic modification and it is therefore banned from use. This decision is being challenged by the farming and scientific community as there are concerns that it will restrict the ability to develop new crops with resistance to disease and resilience to climate change.

    What is gene editing?

    Genome editing is the deliberate alteration of a selected DNA sequence in a living cell. A strand of DNA is cut at a specific point and naturally existing cellular repair mechanisms then fix the broken DNA strands. Genome editing techniques can be used to delete sections of DNA or alter how a gene functions: for example, by changing a variant that may give rise to disease to one that functions normally.

  • Dr Cristobal Uauy, wheat geneticist at the John Innes Centre (JIC) and National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB)

    At last – entire wheat genome sequenced

    It was considered almost impossible, but now a consortium of scientists has sequenced the huge wheat genome.  The enormous dataset will accelerate innovation in breeding resilient and disease resistant crops by…

  • Rice ‘immune system’ protects again rice blast pathogen

    The rice blast pathogen destroys enough food to feed more than 60 million people every year – almost the population of the UK. However, it would be worse if rice…

  • Forgotten stem rust harboured in barberry

    Stem rust of wheat and barley has throughout history been associated with crop failure and famine, and has recently re-emerged in Western Europe 60 years after the last confirmed case….

  • Burying carbon in soil won’t halt climate change

    The idea of using crops to collect more atmospheric carbon and locking it into soil’s organic matter to offset fossil fuel emissions was launched at COP21, the 21st annual Conference…

  • Brande Wulff

    Wheat from seed to seed in 8 weeks

    Speed breeding techniques would allow six crops of wheat in a year, intensifying food production. A speed-breeding platform developed by teams at the John Innes Centre, University of Queensland and…

  • Recommended lists - have your say

    Recommended Lists – chance to have your say

    All breeders wait with anticipation for the launch of the AHDB Recommended Lists for cereals and oilseeds (RL) which are the result of extensive trials.  The presentation of the lists is continually…

  • How roots respond to changes in soil revealed

    A hormonal tug-of-war helps plant roots navigate their journey through the soil. As the root grows the meristem cells at the tip continuously divide, they are left behind in relation to…

  • Organic material boosts yields by 10 percent revealed by research

    Organic materials have an important role in stimulating biological activity and as a result yields increase quickly. This indicates that the value goes beyond its nutrient value, according to a…

  • Biological 'lure and kill' system for bean weevils shows promise

    Biological ‘lure and kill’ system for bean weevils shows promise

    A biological control system for beetle pests of peas and beans would reduce the need for blanket insecticide application and help to reduce the issues with resistance. Trials by PGRO…