Friday, November 07, 2014

A couple of videos from Bill Gates Gatenotes.

Bill Gates believes we’re now in a position to eradicate malaria—that is, wipe it out completely in every country—within a generation. This is one of the greatest opportunities the global health world has ever had.  
We’ve seen a huge scale-up in the resources and brainpower focused on this disease. Four countries have eliminated malaria since 2000, and two dozen more could do it in the next decade. Mortality rates worldwide have gone down by a remarkable 42 percent in that time—a good-news story that ought to make critics wary of trumpeting claims that foreign aid doesn’t work. More than 3.3 million people who would have died of malaria are alive today.
The world tried to eradicate malaria once before but failed. I hope that Gates is right, and that it will be eradicated in the near future. Even if not, I hope that the incidence is greatly reduced and that control measures are continued to keep the incidence low.

Bill Gates recently met with some researchers at Cornell University. Cornell is one of the world's top universities for research on improving crops. Their work involves a lot of plant breeding. Because most of the world's poor people are farmers, helping farmers grow more food is one of the most powerful levers we have for fighting poverty.
Biotechnology is the application of biological science to the development of practical applications -- in the case of this video, to producing better cultivars for farmers to plant in their fields. It includes the development of genetically modified plants -- that is those that have had genes introduced into the plant genome by new methods -- but goes far beyond GMOs. If plant breeders know the genome of corn or cassava, and understand which genes are linked to which traits, they they have a better basis for breeding desired traits into new varieties. 

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