Recent Posts

Review: The challenges of delivering genetically modified crops with nutritional enhancement traits (Nature Plants) ($)

Despite the widespread success of genetically modified (GM) crops resistant to herbicides and insect herbivory, GM food crops with nutritional enhancement traits remain on the fringes of commercial agriculture. In this review, Napier et al. examine the current state of GM food crops and the obstacles…

EU regulatory approach to directed mutagenesis: consequences for international trade and potential steps forward (New Phytol)

The seed sector, and particularly plant breeders, are responsible for providing farmers with new plant varieties able to overcome challenges such as climate change, water restrictions or plant pests. In order to do their job, breeders have a collection of tools at their disposal. Among these are traditional…

Opinion: To learn inclusion skills, make it personal (Nature)

This is a great essay by David Asai, Senior Director for science education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. David describes his journey from feeling annoyed at having to attend a multicultural forum to embracing their merit. He describes exercises that promote empathy and encourage respectful…

White Paper: Reinventing postgraduate training in the plant sciences (Plant Direct)

What tools and skills do tomorrow’s plant scientists need, and how can we as a community ensure that today’s students get appropriate training? The Plant Science Research Network (PSRN), a consortium of plant science organizations and societies, has organized a series of workshops and discussions…

Editorial: The challenge of the post-truth era (Nature Chem Biol)

Why do people persist in thinking that climate change is not happening, or that vaccines cause autism? Scientists need to find better ways to communicate about what we do. In this editorial from Nature Cell Biology, the authors point to the low achievement level of US high school students (and those…

Impact of Conventional and Integrated Management Systems on the Water-Soluble Vitamin Content in Potatoes, Field Beans, and Cereals ($)

J. Agric. Food Chem. Agriculture in the EU is shifting towards a more sustainable use of resources and preservation of the biodiversity. This process requires a careful assessment of the balance between economic and environmental demands. To achieve this goal, the James Hutton Institute set up a long-term…

Review: Medicine Is not Health Care, Food Is Health Care: Plant Metabolic Engineering, Diet and Human Health (OA)

New Phytol. One of the consequences of the green revolution has been the increasing dependence on few staple crops, which provide calories but often lack the right amount of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. The consequences are collectively called “hidden hunger” and concern not only…

Pursuing sustainable productivity with millions of smallholder farmers ($) (Nature)

Improving crop productivity of rural areas while addressing pollution problems is a challenge that not only depends on scientific studies and technology but also requires an effective dialog with the smallholder farming communities. This month, Nature published the results of a ten-year Chinese agricultural…

Point of View: A transatlantic perspective on 20 emerging issues in biological engineering studies

“Horizon scanning” describes the process of trying to rationally predict the future.  Wintle et al. describe the results from a horizon-scanning exercise to identify emerging issues in biological engineering. The authors used an iterative approach to identify key issues in the near and longer-term…