Notes from all over: In Vietnam, a woman working on the conservation of indigenous livestock breeds — Professor Le Thi Thuy — has won the 2009 Kovalepskaia Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany. ILRI’s blog post on the award tells us more about Kovalepskaya (a pioneering Russian mathematician) than about Professor Thuy or the project she directs. But we’re here to tell you that pigs may be involved.
In Australia, a casual mention of sugarbag flies took me to a post about the Weipa mission in “North Queensland on the west side of Cape York, the pointy bit at the top”. There’s a lot more to this post than the heritage of honey and how to make good use of it; not as sustainably as you might imagine, in many cases. In any case, it is a great read.
In France, right now, and elsewhere at other times, the burning question on everyone’s lips: Are Gates and CGIAR a good mix for Africa? We’re not going to rehearse all the old arguments here — SciDev.net does that for us. But we might be even bolder and ask whether the new CGIAR will be a good idea not just for Africa but for the hungry everywhere. Maybe not …
In academe, an odd paper in Nature Genetics focuses on a single gene that can boost tomato yields by 60% or some. Sure, that’s not going to feed the world, but it might make ketchup supplies more secure. The press release casts the discovery as an explanation of heterosis, which seems like overegging the pudding, but perhaps that’s just me.
In the informal seed sector, two posts that illuminate a different way of spreading agricultural biodiversity. The Guardian (no, not that one, the one that “covers Prince Edward Island like the dew”) reports on a local meeting of Seeds of Diversity Canada. I wonder how many potato varieties there are on PEI. And over at Our Earth/Ourselves, Madronna Holden ruminates on How to feed the world. A big part of her answer: A Propagation Fair.