- Seeing nature as a ‘universal store of genes’: How biological diversity became ‘genetic resources’, 1890–1940. “Beyond the space-time of Neo-mendelian and Morganian laboratory genetics, genes became understood though a geographical gaze at a planetary scale.”
- Harnessing the potential of germplasm collections. Start with diverse germplasm, then edit in domestication genes.
- Spatial proximity determines post-speciation introgression in Solanum. But said introgression is not that important, in the grand evolutionary scheme of things, at least for these wild tomatoes.
- Understanding Grass Domestication through Maize Mutants. It’s not straightforward, because domestication genes work differently in maize, because of differences in regulation.
- May innovation on plant varieties share agricultural land with nature, or spare land for it? It may do both, under certain conditions. If I understand the economics jargon correctly.
- Photoperiod Response of Annual Wild Cicer Species and Cultivated Chickpea on Phenology, Growth, and Yield Traits. They need 15-18h to flower.
- China’s Legal Issues in the Access and Benefit-sharing of the Genetic Resources. …need addressing urgently.
- Insights from genomes into the evolutionary importance and prevalence of hybridization in nature. It’s everywhere, but whether it’s adaptive is hard to prove. One crop example: common bean.
- Incorporating basic needs to reconcile poverty and ecosystem services. Complicated but workable methodology to identify the win-win solution space.
- Flax latitudinal adaptation at LuTFL1 altered architecture and promoted fiber production. Flax became a fibre crop when it was carried north into Europe as a result of adaptation to higher latitudes, including by introgression from local wild species.
- A method for generating virus-free cassava plants to combat viral disease epidemics in Africa. Chemo- and thermotherapy in tissue culture.
When phylloxera broke out in Europe in the 1860s and 70s, many of the resistant hybrid vines in North America were uprooted and shipped across the Atlantic to save the European wine industry. The unfortunate consequence was that most plantings of Herbemont (and several other American varieties) were destroyed. In the 1920s, Prohibition disrupted winemaking in the US. When the industry took off again in the 1930s, tastes had changed and high-quality dry wines had fallen out of favor. When high-quality wine started to become popular again, in the latter half of the 20th century, European Vitis vinifera varieties were often emphasized at the expense of American varieties such as Herbemont. Just a handful of producers still make Herbemont wines. Thankfully, efforts are now underway to reintroduce and promote the Herbemont grape in several states across the South.
It now turns out, one place they might reintroduce it from is South Africa.
These two simple tests provide good preliminary evidence that the 95-year old Wynberg Village grapevine is probably an ancient clone of the true original Herbemont hybrid rootstock cultivar, which I believe is in real danger of becoming extinct for historical reasons.
Though of course there are also genebanks.
You may not have heard of USDA plant explorers David Fairchild and Palemon Howard Dorsett, but they are among those who have had the greatest impact on what we eat in the United States. Now a silent film of their 1925–26 collecting trip to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Sumatra, and Java has been found by the National Agricultural Library (NAL).
Pretty stunning it is too.
- Salt stress under the scalpel – dissecting the genetics of salt tolerance. Could domesticate naturally salt-tolerant species and then breed for agronomic performance.
- Exploring the relationship between agricultural intensification and changes in cropland areas in the US. Higher yields not necessarily associated with less agricultural expansion.
- New tools for crop wild relative conservation planning. Lots of templates.
- Genetic identity and origin of “Piura Porcelana”—a fine-flavored traditional variety of cacao (Theoborma cacao) from the Peruvian Amazon. Similar but not identical to Nacional from Ecuador.
- Cytogenetics and genetic introgression from wild relatives in soybean. Intersubgeneric crossability barrier finally broken.
- Increased temperatures may safeguard the nutritional quality of crops under future elevated CO2 concentrations. Swings and roundabouts.
- Poverty reduction effects of agricultural technology adoption: the case of improved cassava varieties in Nigeria. 1.62 million lifted out of poverty, give or take, depending on the breaks.
- Frequent introgression of European cauliflowers in the present day cultivated Indian cauliflowers and role of Indian genotypes in the evolution of tropical cauliflower. More evidence of interdependence, if any were needed.
- Bambara Groundnut is a Climate-Resilient Crop: How Could a Drought-Tolerant and Nutritious Legume Improve Community Resilience in the Face of Climate Change? Isn’t it obvious?
- Adaption to Climate Change: Climate Adaptive Breeding of Maize, Wheat and Rice. “The good news is that there is significant genetic variation for heat and drought/submergence tolerance in the global maize, wheat and rice gene banks.”
- Crop Diversification Through a Wider Use of Underutilised Crops: A Strategy to Ensure Food and Nutrition Security in the Face of Climate Change. And a good one too. The last three items are from the same edited volume, which looks like should be worth getting: Sustainable Solutions for Food Security.
- Seed degeneration of banana planting materials: strategies for improved farmer access to healthy seed. Decentralize.
- Enset in Ethiopia: a poorly characterized but resilient starch staple. Maybe the above will work for enset too, but it will need better collections.