53 research outputs found

    Varieties and seeds for organic farming: a solution for cabbage through participatory breeding in Brittany

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    In partnership with INRA, professionals from the organic vegetable sector in Brittany conducted a breeding programme for organically-farmed cabbage based on an evaluation programme of genetic resources collected from French (INRA) and European gene banks at the PAIS (Agro-biological platform of the Interprofessional Association for Organic Farming in Brittany), located in Suscinio. Between 2001 and 2003, the evaluation focused on quality criteria for commercial products and the suitability of varieties to the organic market, as well as on their adaptation to the environment. About 400 populations of cauliflower have thus been evaluated at the PAIS and/or by professionals in the sector in Brittany in order to evaluate their adaptation to organic production under different soil conditions and their suitability to various marketing channels. Ten of them were selected. Focused at first on cabbage, the programme was extended at the request of professionals and led to the breeding of several other species (tomato, carrot, lettuce, spinach, etc.). Breeding programs must now be optimized in order to satisfy consumer quality and adaptability requirements, and to design a coherent regulatory framework for participatory plant breeding and organic farming

    A call for innovations tht change the (organic) world

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    Recent developments in organic farming and consumption show dynamic growth in markets; new uptake of Organic Agriculture by farmers, however, has been slow. Hindrances appear to be production problems or lack of trust by the farmers that organic methods can solve farming problems, such as fertilization, plant protection, animal health, efficient use of workforce, marketing diversity etc. While in some cases those problems can be solved through learning existing and regionally practiced methods, innovations are imperative to make organic farming competitive and a viable alternative farming system. OFIA, the Organic Farming Innovation Award, part of the Organic World Congress, highlights outstanding innovations and publishes priorities for innovative research

    Cultivating diversity and food quality. Proceedings of Diversifood EU Forum, Brussels, 11 April 2018

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    To tackle this issue, Diversifood team organised a forum with policy makers and stakeholders on the 11th of April 2018, in Brussels. Diversifood’s aim is to share results and key lessons including new approaches for the management of cultivated biodiversity, for plant breeding for sustainable farming systems, and new relationships among actors of food systems. In the afternoon, there was time for discussion, knowledge sharing, collecting feedback and extending current policies to include cultivating diversity and food quality (for FP9, CAP 2020, The outputs of this workshop will feed Diversifood’s final recommendations. The forum was kindly hosted by the European Committee of the Regions (Rue Belliard/Belliardstraat 101, 1040 Brussels)

    The organic seed regulations framework in Europe – current status and recommendations for future development

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    Organic agriculture regulations, in particular European regulation EC 889/2008, prescribe the use of organically produced seed. For many cultivated plants, however, organic seed is often not available. This is mainly because investment in organic plant breeding and seed production has been low in the past. To bridge the gap between organic seed supply and demand, national and European regulations define certain circumstances under which organic producers are permitted to use non-organically produced seed. While the organic sector currently depends on these concessions, they also threaten to impede a further increase in the demand for organic seed, thereby potentially restraining present and future investment in organic seed production and plant breeding. We review the current status of the organic seed regulations framework by analysing key issues such as the role of the national derogation regimes, the role of expert groups, databases and seed prices. Key points are that (a) the situation of the organic seed sector has improved over the last few years; however, (b) reporting on organic seed to the EU by different countries needs to be harmonised; (c) the success of the organic seed sector depends critically on the implementation and improvement of national expert groups; and (d) to protect genetic diversity, the use of local varieties and landraces should not be impeded by organic seed regulations

    The DEAD-box RNA Helicase DDX6 is Required for Efficient Encapsidation of a Retroviral Genome

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    Viruses have to encapsidate their own genomes during the assembly process. For most RNA viruses, there are sequences within the viral RNA and virion proteins needed for high efficiency of genome encapsidation. However, the roles of host proteins in this process are not understood. Here we find that the cellular DEAD-box RNA helicase DDX6 is required for efficient genome packaging of foamy virus, a spumaretrovirus. After infection, a significant amount of DDX6, normally concentrated in P bodies and stress granules, re-localizes to the pericentriolar site where viral RNAs and Gag capsid proteins are concentrated and capsids are assembled. Knockdown of DDX6 by siRNA leads to a decreased level of viral nucleic acids in extracellular particles, although viral protein expression, capsid assembly and release, and accumulation of viral RNA and Gag protein at the assembly site are little affected. DDX6 does not interact stably with Gag proteins nor is it incorporated into particles. However, we find that the ATPase/helicase motif of DDX6 is essential for viral replication. This suggests that the ATP hydrolysis and/or the RNA unwinding activities of DDX6 function in moderating the viral RNA conformation and/or viral RNA-Gag ribonucleoprotein complex in a transient manner to facilitate incorporation of the viral RNA into particles. These results reveal a unique role for a highly conserved cellular protein of RNA metabolism in specifically re-locating to the site of viral assembly for its function as a catalyst in retroviral RNA packaging

    RNAi in the regulation of mammalian viral infections

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    Although RNA interference (RNAi) is known to play an important part in defense against viruses of invertebrates, its contribution to mammalian anti-viral defense has been a matter of dispute. This is surprising because all components of the RNAi machinery necessary for robust RNAi-mediated restriction of viruses are conserved in mammals, and the introduction of synthetic small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) into cells efficiently silences the replication of viruses that contain siRNA complementary sequences in those cells. Here, I discuss the reasons for the dispute, and review the evidence that RNAi is a part of the physiological defense of mammalian cells against viral infections


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    Rickettsia typhi is the causal agent of murine typhus; a worldwide zoonotic and vector-borne infectious disease, commonly associated with the presence of domestic and wild rodents. Human cases of murine typhus in the state of Yucatán are frequent. However, there is no evidence of the presence of Rickettsia typhi in mammals or vectors in Yucatán. The presence of Rickettsia in rodents and their ectoparasites was evaluated in a small municipality of Yucatán using the conventional polymerase chain reaction technique and sequencing. The study only identified the presence of Rickettsia typhi in blood samples obtained from Rattus rattus and it reported, for the first time, the presence of R. felis in the flea Polygenis odiosus collected from Ototylomys phyllotis rodent. Additionally, Rickettsia felis was detected in the ectoparasite Ctenocephalides felis fleas parasitizing the wild rodent Peromyscus yucatanicus. This study’s results contributed to a better knowledge of Rickettsia epidemiology in Yucatán

    Molecular control of HIV-1 postintegration latency: implications for the development of new therapeutic strategies

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    The persistence of HIV-1 latent reservoirs represents a major barrier to virus eradication in infected patients under HAART since interruption of the treatment inevitably leads to a rebound of plasma viremia. Latency establishes early after infection notably (but not only) in resting memory CD4+ T cells and involves numerous host and viral trans-acting proteins, as well as processes such as transcriptional interference, RNA silencing, epigenetic modifications and chromatin organization. In order to eliminate latent reservoirs, new strategies are envisaged and consist of reactivating HIV-1 transcription in latently-infected cells, while maintaining HAART in order to prevent de novo infection. The difficulty lies in the fact that a single residual latently-infected cell can in theory rekindle the infection. Here, we review our current understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the establishment and maintenance of HIV-1 latency and in the transcriptional reactivation from latency. We highlight the potential of new therapeutic strategies based on this understanding of latency. Combinations of various compounds used simultaneously allow for the targeting of transcriptional repression at multiple levels and can facilitate the escape from latency and the clearance of viral reservoirs. We describe the current advantages and limitations of immune T-cell activators, inducers of the NF-ÎșB signaling pathway, and inhibitors of deacetylases and histone- and DNA- methyltransferases, used alone or in combinations. While a solution will not be achieved by tomorrow, the battle against HIV-1 latent reservoirs is well- underway