- Andean roots and tubers crops as sources of functional foods. Tasty too.
- Development of species diagnostic SNP markers for quality control genotyping in four rice (Oryza L.) species. About 3% misclassification in the AfricaRice genebank.
- Analysis of population structure and genetic diversity reveals gene flow and geographic patterns in cultivated rice (O. sativa and O. glaberrima) in West Africa. Natural NERICA. Hopefully this was done after the above.
- Conserving Genetic Resources, Access and Benefit-Sharing, Intellectual Property and Climate Change. It’s complicated. Too complicated.
- The Spanish Core Collection of Common Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.): An Important Source of Variability for Breeding Chemical Composition. The white ones may be better nutritionally. Opportunities to breed for better nutrition AND taste.
- The Future of Sustainable Crop Protection Relies on Increased Diversity of Cropping Systems and Landscapes. The efficacy of chemistry is decreasing.
- Cross-incompatibility in the cultivated almond (Prunus dulcis): Updating, revision and correction. As most cultivars self-incompatible, you need this information if you want to do any conservation and breeding, let alone actually produce almonds.
- Global relationships between biodiversity and nature-based tourism in protected areas. The ideal protected area for tourism is very biodiverse, old, large, near a city and on top of a mountain. Same for agritourism?
- Biodiversity-based payments on Swiss alpine pastures. You get more money if you graze smaller, more diverse herds.
- Identification of new sources of resistance to wheat stem rust in Aegilops spp. in the tertiary genepool of wheat. 60% of 1400 very wild accessions with no genomes in common with cultivated wheat showed low infection.
- Mapping of QTL associated with seed longevity in durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.). How long before we tailor seed testing and regeneration intervals to accession genotype?
- Breeding durum wheat for agroforestry: what to look for? Isn’t nature wonderful?
- Consumer Preferences for Baobab Products and Implication for Conservation and Improvement Policies of Forest Food Resources in Niger (West Africa). You could charge a little more and use the money for conservation.
- Adaptive significance of functional germination traits in crop wild relatives of Brassica. Could tap wild species for more consistent germination under future rainfed conditions.
- Morphological characterisation of Cucurbita maxima Duchesne (Cucurbitaceae) landraces from the Po Valley (Northern Italy). Who needs DNA?
- Domestication of Temperate and Coastal Hybrids with Distinct Ancestral Gene Selection in Octoploid Strawberry. The Californian, costal-adapted material is richer in alleles from the N. American parent and is quite distinct from the E. American and European material.
- Raising the Stakes: Cassava Seed Networks at Multiple Scales in Cambodia and Vietnam. Self-saved seed dominates, but not completely, with traders important especially in high-intensity cultivation areas.
- Knowledge and perception of pelung keepers’s toward chicken contests in West Java, Indonesia. In other news, Indonesia has singing contests for chickens.
From friend-of-the-blog Colin Khoury, who is involved in the venture:
Thrilled to see the first edition of @plantspplplanet published today! Open access and focus on societal relevance https://t.co/hThMq9NsPo. Please submit your upcoming research! pic.twitter.com/wkUKndbm40
— Colin Khoury (@ColinKhoury) December 6, 2018
Fabulous articles by Sandy Knapp, Barbara Schaal, Peter Crane and Paul Smith in the inaugural issue, among others. Going to be great.
- Whole-genome landscape of Medicago truncatula symbiotic genes. There’s always something else.
- Genebank genomics highlights the diversity of a global barley collection. IPK’s, that is, and that’s 22,000 strong. Let the GWAS begin. Including for whisky-related traits, of course.
- A polyploid admixed origin of beer yeasts derived from European and Asian wine populations. And beer-related.
- Genetic diversity and population structure of a mini-core subset from the world cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) germplasm collection. There are three broadly geographic clusters, and the mini-core is representative of overall diversity, in Africa at least.
- Identification of candidate domestication‐related genes with a systematic survey of loss‐of‐function mutations. Fancy methods lead to doubling of possible domestication genes in soybean to 110.
- Social Valuation of Genebank Activities: Assessing Public Demand for Genetic Resource Conservation in the Czech Republic. Willingness to pay is $9 per sample. But this is unpacked in a guest post by Nik.
- Gene bank scheduling of seed regeneration: Interim report on a long term storage study. Maybe someone can tell me what’s new here?
- Functional phenomics: An emerging field integrating high-throughput phenotyping, physiology, and bioinformatics. Again, what exactly is new here, apart from the word pheme?
- Xanthomonas Wilt of Banana (BXW) in Central Africa: Opportunities, challenges, and pathways for citizen science and ICT-based control and prevention strategies. Technology is not enough.
- Beyond individuals: Toward a “distributed” approach to farmer decision‐making behavior. And even if it were enough, adoption is a whole ‘nother thing…
- Dietary Diversity: Implications for Obesity Prevention in Adult Populations: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association. As currently defined, dietary diversity does not necessarily mean healthy eating.
- Modern Wheat Varieties as a Driver of the Degradation of Spanish Rainfed Mediterranean Agroecosystems throughout the 20th Century. Under traditional organic management, older varieties have similar yields to modern varieties, plus more biomass both above and below ground, making for better soils.
- Peculiarly pleasant weather for US maize. Adaptation to warmer climates accounts for 28% of yield increases since 1981. It won’t last, see below.
- Increase in crop losses to insect pests in a warming climate. Losses to insects will increase by 10 to 25% per degree Celsius of warming for wheat, rice, and maize.
- Metabolite variation in the lettuce gene pool: towards healthier crop varieties and food. Tasty lettuce is possible.
- Genome sequences of two diploid wild relatives of cultivated sweetpotato reveal targets for genetic improvement. Carotenoid biosynthesis alleles identified.
- Climate change stimulated agricultural innovation and exchange across Asia. Climate models suggest that about 3,500 years ago Central Asia and Tibet cooled, and 2,000 years ago China followed suit, in both cases leading to shifts in crops.
- Intensification for redesigned and sustainable agricultural systems. Depends on building social capital first.
Reproducing here a post from our work blog, which I co-authored with a couple of friends from FAO.
How do genebank managers know they’re doing all they can to maintain the quality and availability of their collections?
Perhaps the most important tool at their disposal is the publication Genebank Standards for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, produced by FAO in 2014 under the guidance of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (the Commission). Generally referred to as “the Genebank Standards,” it is widely recognized as setting the benchmark for current scientific and technical best practices, helping to implement key treaties and conventions, such as the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. But are they actually being followed?
To find out, FAO carried out a global survey of national, regional and international genebanks between August 2017 and January 2018. Roughly 100 responses were received from over 50 countries and from five international organizations; the respondents included genebank managers, curators of collections, documentation officers, as well as other technical genebank staff. The major result that emerged from the survey was that, although the Genebank Standards is generally considered a valuable reference document, more practical technical and operational guidelines are needed to apply its recommendations effectively. Survey results also suggested that some thematic areas of the document required updating (e.g. the use of molecular markers in genebank management).
In response to this feedback, FAO, in consultation with the Global Crop Diversity Trust and technical experts, initiated the development of a practical guide to the application of the Genebank Standards. Key action steps in the workflow of routine genebank operations were identified based on the processes outlined in the document. These action steps aim to simplify its implementation as a quality management tool for ex situ conservation of orthodox seeds, field genebanks, and in vitro collections. In particular, the practical guidelines provide genebanks with a step-by-step process for the implementation of quality standards within a flexible quality management framework that allows customized improvement.
To validate the results, FAO and the Crop Trust organized an expert consultation in Bonn, Germany on 10-12 April 2018. The participants included 16 genebank managers from national and regional genebanks from around the world. These technical experts agreed that presenting the information contained in the Genebank Standards in a more concise and more user-friendly format, detailing the different action steps of the genebank workflow in a sequential manner, would help practitioners and facilitate more widespread adoption of quality standards.
FAO presented the draft action steps to the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (Working Group) at its Ninth Session in July 2018. The Working Group invited Commission Members and observers to submit written comments to the Secretariat and requested FAO to revise the document in light of the comments received. The revised draft action steps will be presented to the Commission at its next Regular Session in February 2019.
Based on the Commission’s feedback, it is expected that FAO will finalize comprehensive practical guides for genebanks. These will describe up-to-date action steps and provide tools to facilitate conservation of orthodox seeds, field genebanks, and in vitro collections, respectively. It is also foreseen that similar practical guides for the conservation of recalcitrant seeds, for cryopreservation, and for the storage of DNA samples, will be developed as these become more mainstream, and applicable protocols become increasingly available.
The views expressed in this information product are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.