The phylogeny of Czech hops

by Luigi Guarino on July 5, 2015

Long breeding work aimed at fine aroma hops results in high quality aroma aspects, which are used to produce the best beer. Czech hops are the security of the highest brewing quality in many breweries all over the world. Saaz hops are considered as the standard of high brewing quality not only in Czech Republic but in other countries as well. Saaz hops are a very important raw material for the best quality beer. All Czech hop varieties, which have been developed recently, have in their origin Saaz and therefore they show excellent brewing characteristics.

You had me at beer.

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Speaking on intriguing tweets, try this one:

Did Secretary Vilsack mean crop diversity, by any chance? You know, as in genebanks, among other things. His remarks do not seem to be online yet. Were any of our readers there?

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Quadruple diversification

by Luigi Guarino on July 3, 2015

Sometimes, a tweet says it all.

But read the long version of the argument in a blog post on obesity by Uma Lele, Co-chair of the Food Security Information Network (FSIN) Technical Working Group on Measuring Food and Nutrition Security.

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…the future of the institution responsible for the Green Revolution – a consortium of 15 research centers around the world called the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) — is under threat. The World Bank, one of its primary funders, is considering withdrawing its financial support.

Well, thank goodness the genebanks at least are safe, eh?

For the CGIAR, the proposed cuts, though painful, would not be devastating; in 2013, the group spent $984 million to fund its activities… Still, the World Bank — the preeminent global development institution — is essentially declaring that agricultural research is not a development priority.

No word from CGIAR. Yet. But then again, adapting agriculture is not that big a deal, is it? Well, Mark Cackler is manager for agriculture and food security at the World Bank, and he seems to think it may be, and that CGIAR have it more or less right:

The Copenhagen Consensus concludes that agricultural research is one of the single most effective investments we could make to fight malnourishment. Therefore, we need more support for bodies like the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research that focus on crops and cropping systems that are of greatest importance to poor farmers and poor countries. Such research is a global public good that the private sector cannot be expected to deliver alone.

What in tarnation is going on at the World Bank?

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Beans With Benefits – but no address

3 July 2015

In collaboration with national partners, AVRDC-The World Vegetable Center has released a number of improved varieties like ‘Zilola’, ‘Marjon’, ‘Durdona’ and ‘Turon’ to date. However, as salinity and heat are commonplace in the country, more new varieties are needed. This is the goal of a new project funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation […]

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The Economist solves the food problem

2 July 2015

Climate change, you say? The Economist has the answer: GM crops (such as drought-resistant rice, heat-resistant maize or blight-resistant wheat) have huge potential. So that’s all right, then. We don’t seem to be getting the message across, do we?

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The messy world of trees

2 July 2015

If you like orderly and efficient problem solving, the world of plant conservation is not for you. As you can see, Sir Peter Crane is at his quotable best in his introduction to a Special Issue of Oryx on tree conservation. Here’s another zinger: Among the many memorable aphorisms of Roosevelt my favourite is ‘Do […]

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We are so screwed

2 July 2015

Well, all except soybean farmers in Rwanda.

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Trevor Williams remembered

2 July 2015

Mike Jackson’s obituary of Trevor Williams is up at Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, and it’s open access.

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Potato wild relatives: Too much of a good thing?

2 July 2015

What do you call it when you suddenly notice things you didn’t notice that much before, and wrongly assume that their frequency has increased? Is it apophenia? Observational selection bias? I’m sure it’s a thing, though I can’t remember its name. And I’m sure it’s frequency is increasing. Meta-apophenia is rampant, I tell you. Yesterday […]

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