Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Articles related to agriculture

Cover Story: Gene Drives: A Way to Genetically Engineer Populations
Gene drives occur when a bias in the mechanism of inheritance spreads particular genetic variants through a population. Developments in gene-editing technology now make it possible to construct gene drives that address problems in health, agriculture and conservation.
Browse: The world’s oldest farmers
Feature: Driving Mosquitoes out of Town
Existing techniques to control mosquito-borne diseases are coming up short. Can gene drives offer hope to the millions affected?
Feature: Gene Drives for Conservation
Gene drives may provide a novel tool to counteract seemingly unstoppable threats to global biodiversity.
Feature: Gene Drives: A Fork in the Road for the GMO Debate
What are the moral and ethical concerns about gene drives, and how should the technology be regulated?
Feature: It’s Not Just About “The Science”
Female scientists and health professionals have revealed that opposition to genetically modified food is less about “the science” and more about perceived conflicts with personal values.
Browse: Oats Clean Nuke Contamination Browse: Big Farmer Is Watching Moo
Online Feature: Regulating genes to treat illness, grow food, and understand the brain Feature: PM Takes a Stalinist Stance on Science
By pandering to anti-science, Australia’s Prime Minister is repeating the mistakes of Socialist Russia.
Browse: Humans Affected by Shifting Species
Agave crop
Feature: Tequila Sunrise
Agave is most popularly known for its use in tequila, but it could also usher in the dawn of a sustainable biofuel industry that does not compete with food crops for arable land.
Feature: Beating the Global Food Crisis
In the first of a two-part series Julian Cribb looks at what is driving global food insecurity – and how we can overcome it.
The sap exuding from Pycnandra acuminata in New Caledonia
Feature: Heavy Metal Farming
Special plants called hyperaccumulators can extract valuable metals from mineralised soils, yielding metallic crops that are more valuable than food grown in soils that are unsuitable for normal agriculture.
Credit: Maksym Yemelyanov/adobe
Feature: Pharmed Meds
Some clever chemistry is turning plants into pharmaceutical factories that could enable remote communities in developing countries to grow and store stable medicines cheaply.
Feature: Were Termites the World’s First Farmers?
New trace fossils from the African Rift Valley reveal evidence for the origins of agriculture, not by humans but by insects.
Browse: Pesticides Are Destroying Aquatic Ecosystems
Pesticide run-off from agriculture has been blamed for a crisis in aquatic ecosystems despite laboratory studies supporting current regulatory levels.
Browse: Plantation Diversity Boosts Carbon Storage
Plantations that use multiple species store more carbon than monocultures, according to a metastudy of forestry trials.
Browse: Lentils Can Boost Selenium conSCIENCE: Science Is Sinking in the Murray–Darling Basin
Applied research suffers cuts while science loses farmers’ trust.
conSCIENCE: Bee Teams in the Food Bowl
Apiarists and conservationists are at loggerheads, with implications for food security and the fate of indigenous species.
conSCIENCE: The Unintended Consequences of Reducing Food Waste
With the global human population continuing to outpace agricultural production, we may need to reduce the amount of food that we waste. But what will be the unintended consequences for wildlife that depend on food waste?
Directions: Focus on Education to Feed the Future
Agricultural science education is a national priority for the nation’s food security.
Eco Logic: All for One and One for All
Human behaviour plays an enormous role in the spread or control of invasive weeds.
Eco Logic: A Clear Case for Regrowth
Despite evidence that regrowth vegetation has equivalent habitat value to intact vegetation, Queensland has amended legislation protecting high-value bioregions from clearing.
Eco Logic: Sustainable Fish and Chips
One of the simplest things anyone can do to promote marine conservation is to stop eating unsustainable seafood.
Eco Logic: “Robots” vs Environmental Managers
Can automated algorithms do better than humans in conservation games?
Eureka!: How a Chip Packet Can Sterilise Water
Chip packaging is providing a cheap material for a water purification system in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, and a “salmon cannon” is helping salmon swim upstream.
Lowe Tech: The Eye of the Renewable Energy Storm
Political foes have united in their condemnation of fear-mongering about renewable energy.
Simon Says: GM Approvals Score a Century
Almost 40 years after the genetic engineering revolution hit Australia, it is beginning to look like the establishment.
Up Close: Hello, Pet! Our love can hurt our animal friends
Bioethicist Peter Sandøe discusses our complicated relationship with animals and the associated moral dilemmas, including how our love for companion animals can actually cause harm and the difference between society’s treatment of pets and production animals.
Up Close: Germ warfare: Young researchers seeking answers to diverse microbe threats
Two young science researchers discuss their investigations of microbes that threaten, respectively, human health and our food supply. We chat with Claire Gorrie about aspects of the drug-resistant bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae, and how it's implicated in serious infections. And Rebecca Vandegeer tells us how the Barley Yellow Dwarf virus strips our wheat crops of their defences, posing a threat to food security.
Up Front: A New Twist in the DNA Revolution
Gene drives take genetic modification to the population level, with applications in health, conservation and agriculture, but there are also practical and ethical concerns.
Online Feature: Science advice and policy making
Lord May examines the challenges facing tomorrow’s world: anthropogenic climate change; feeding more people; and designing a financial system that allocates capital in a responsible and effective way.