Knowledge for Development

First GM tropical maize in Africa; how far, how soon?


Date: 11/07/2012


The announcement at the close of 2011 of the successful transformation of nine transgenic maize lines by scientists funded and coordinated by ASARECA has generated excitement across the continent. Plants transformed with drought tolerance genes show more tolerance to water deficiency, and some of the genes once incorporated into the maize genome are capable of helping maize to return to full recovery after completely drying up. The plants can wither but can get back to life on rehydration by rain or irrigation after 24-72 hours. The nine lines; two Ethiopian lines, three Kenyan lines, two Sudanese lines, and two Tanzanian lines, are due to undergo further scientific testing before they start the journey into the uptake pathways to the ultimate destination – the farmers plate. (ASARECA, 5/2012)

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