- Scientists splice plants with human genes
- IfW discussion on protectionism
- Xiaomi grabs car software start-up
- Volvo plans to buy truck manufacturer
- Xpeng increases sales and losses
- Trade dispute: Hopes for Huawei?
- Government aims to boost economy
- Johnny Erling: Retrospective anger over one-child policy
Even China’s seasoned censors are having a hard time fighting the current outrage sparked by the introduction of the three-child policy, as Johnny Erling tells in his column. In countless comments, Internet users recalled decades of a cruel population policy – the one-child policy. Pregnant women expecting their second child were persecuted and illegally born babies branded as “black children.” But instead of critical reflection on the consequences of its policy, the CCP is now trying to encourage its population to have more children with pro-birth slogans.
Climate change is also a threat to vital farmlands through heat, droughts and torrential rain. Are genetically modified foods a way to maintain yields in the future? So far, Chinese authorities have been just as skeptical about the commercial application of genetic engineering in agriculture as their German counterparts. But skepticism could diminish as domestic companies gain more know-how, says Frank Sieren. A team of Chinese and American scientists has now managed to massively increase crop yields. The trick: the insertion of a human gene known to cause obesity. Bon appétit.
Have a pleasant weekend!
Human genes for the super potato
A new genetic engineering technique could boost crop yields of rice and potatoes by up to 50 percent and make them more drought-resistant to boot. This was the result of a study conducted by Chinese and American scientists and published in July in the British journal Nature Biotechnology. Lead authors are Qiong Yu and Shun Liu of Beijing University.
The researchers have taken a new approach and introduced human genes into plants. In humans, these genes are associated with obesity. The so-called FTO gene is now even considered the “main switch” for obesity. But in plants, too, certain variants of the gene lead to an increase in mass. Apparently, the basic mechanisms of growth are similar in different organisms. This discovery may be used in the future to maintain a steady food supply despite climate change.
In any case, trials in China have shown that the insertion of human FTO genes into plants makes them grow significantly stronger. Root systems were also more developed than average within the series of trials. “We think this is a very good strategy to engineer our crops,” Jia Guifang, a chemical biologist at Beijing University, tells Smithsonian Magazine. But she acknowledges the need for further research before such plants can be marketed as products. The process cannot be allowed to pose any risks to consumers.