Another report from one of our correspondents at the International Horticultural Congress:
There were some great discussions during the IHC’s workshop on global conservation strategies for horticultural crops. Few of these exist, and even fewer have actively been implemented. The participants heard from several speakers about the state of development and implementation of the strategies on citrus, strawberry, apple and banana. It appears that the banana strategy, which is currently already in its first revision, is the furthest along the road of implementation — largely thanks to the support of MusaNet. Having the backing of the conservation and use community of a particular crop is key for the development and success of a strategy — and it helps if the community is already organized in some shape or form. The fact that many horticultural fruit crops are not on Annex 1 of the ITPGRFA can really hamper the development and implementation process of global conservation strategies (in fact, so far there are no global conservation strategies for crops which are not on Annex 1) and several participants felt that horticultural crops deserve more recognition under the Treaty.
Well, that sounds teasingly intriguing. Fortunately, we have a mole at the relevant symposium of the International Horticultural Congress in Brisbane. Here’s his brief report from the trenches:
Great talk also by Pierre Yves Teycheney, who together with his colleagues at CIRAD seems to have found a way to deal with the problem of the endogenous Banana Streak Virus that is embedded in the Musa B-genome. Since its discovery this virus had essentially brought to a halt CIRAD’s inter-specific hybrid breeding program, and prevented distribution of any hybrid materials that contained the B-genome. Luckily, an allelic difference was detected that renders the virus non-infectious, so researchers at CIRAD managed to develop B-genome materials (through traditional approaches but also doubled haploids) that are homozygous for the non-infections alleles and ‘voila!’ derived non-infectious material is now again flowing through CIRAD’s interspecific hybrid breeding program!
Keep it coming, people!
The International Horticulture Congress is up and running in Brisbane, and getting a lot of attention from the Aussie media. There’s a slick video on the global importance of horticulture to help the frenzy along:
Apart from the World Vegetable Center — whose DG came up with the quote of the day: “Things like cucumber and cabbage are essentially just water standing up” — ProMusa is also there in force, and making a splash on social media. That’s because of a special symposium on banana genomics, one of a great lineup of side-workshops. The one we’re particularly looking forward to is the 4th International Symposium on Plant Genetic Resources: Genetic Resources for Climate Change. The hashtag for the whole thing is #IHC2014.
No word on whether the black sapote or medicinal willows, both in the news this week, will feature at any point in Brisbane, but, if they don’t, they have a second chance at the next big global research shindig, the International Union of Forest Research Organization’s (IUFRO) 24th World Congress, from 5 to 11 October 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Its theme will be “Sustaining Forests, Sustaining People: The Role of Research.”
As ever, we welcome reports from such events.