KC on TV

by Luigi Guarino on March 1, 2015

Dr KC Bansal, director of India’s national genebank at the National Bureau for Plant Genetic Resources was interviewed on the TV show Eureka recently. Well worth listening to his advocacy for agricultural R&D in general and genebanks in particular. He says he is particularly proud of NBPGR’s wheat characterization work. BTW, the lakh is a unit in the Indian Numbering System equal to one hundred thousand. NBPGR has approximately 4 lakh accessions.


Apples in the snow

by Luigi Guarino on February 26, 2015

You may have heard about the difficult weather hitting the northeast of the United States. That includes Geneva, in New York State, which is home to the US national apple and grape genebank. Well, thanks to Thomas Chao, who’s in charge of those collections, you can now have a see what a field collection of apple looks like under a metre of snow. Here’s the core collections.


And this is a view of the general collection.

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Thomas says these apples should be fine, though he’s a bit worried about some of the grapes. Fingers crossed.

People take genebanks for granted. But they take a lot of looking after, and they can be so vulnerable it is scary.

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Kew does crops

by Luigi Guarino on February 25, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 11.09.57 AMNice to see crop wild relatives highlighted in several places in Kew’s new science strategy. Full disclosure: I work with the Millennium Seed Bank on CWR for my day job. But that was no guarantee that the subject would get such a high profile in the science strategy.

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Peachy photos online

by Luigi Guarino on February 24, 2015

Not only is U.P. Hedrick’s magisterial The Peaches of New York on Open Library. The images are also on Flickr, under Internet Archive Book Images. Mouthwatering.

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Brainfood: Grape genetics & conservation, Ecosystem restoration & services, Collecting cycads, Pigeonpea genomics, Wild pigeonpea gaps, Breadfruit collection diversity, Banana collection diversity, Conserving mammals, Bhutanese cereal diversity, Potato nutrition

23 February 2015

The preservation of genetic resources of the vine requires cohabitation between institutional clonal selection, mass selection and private clonal selection. Intra-varietal diversity, that is. They apparently do it best in Portugal. Association of dwarfism and floral induction with a grape ‘green revolution’ mutation. Cool things I learned from this paper: 1. Pinot Meunier is a […]

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Setting the rules of the game

20 February 2015

We’re delighted to publish today a guest post from Gabi Everett. Gabi is an MSc student in Cristobal Uauy’s research group at the John Innes Centre. We hope this is the first of many contributions from her. Until the next one, though, you can follow her on Twitter. I’ve never been one to listen much […]

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Brainfood: Domesticating seaweed, Upland sheep, Using CWR, Breadfruit amino acids, Species modelling, Echinochloa review, Fermented foods, Buckwheat breeding, Biofortified millet, Weird Japanese chicken, Barley yield stability

16 February 2015

Seaweed cultivation: potential and challenges of crop domestication at an unprecedented pace. I for one welcome our new algal overlords. Recent advances in understanding the genetic resources of sheep breeds locally-adapted to the UK uplands: opportunities they offer for sustainable productivity. Lower susceptibility to Maedi-Visna virus, for example. Back to the wilds: Tapping evolutionary adaptations […]

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Let us safeguard our propagules under appropriate conditions!

14 February 2015

As North Korea publishes its official list of new patriotic slogans, what we all want to know, of course, is whether the country’s agrobiodiversity receives the attention it deserves. Well, here is a selection of the more striking agriculturally-themed exhortations, culled from the full list of — count them — 310: Let us make our […]

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Target 2.5 passes muster

13 February 2015

By 2020 maintain genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants, farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at national, regional and international levels, and ensure access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional […]

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Building a European Plant Germplasm System

12 February 2015

A couple of days ago we blogged about a study by European genebankers which recommended the establishment of a “European Plant Germplasm System” (EPGS) along the lines of the US National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS). Let’s see how far the analogy can be pushed. Some of the key features illustrated in the diagram of the […]

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