When I was asked recently whether I knew of anyone developing mobile phone apps “which can assist with seed diversity” my first reaction was: nah. And that’s where I left it. For a couple of hours, at any rate.
Because then my second reaction kicked in: but wouldn’t it be cool to have one? Or many, in fact. Like a mobile version of Genesys which tells you if any germplasm is being conserved in a genebank from the vicinity of your present location. Like a little thing that updates the environmental niche model for a species on the fly as you find (or fail to find) more specimens during a collecting trip. Like a way of recording an event or activity likely to lead to genetic erosion in a place you’re visiting. Like a way for farmers to feed back information on the performance of seeds they’ve been given. Like a version of Climate Analogues that farmers could actually use. And that’s where I left it for a few more hours.
Which is when my third reaction arrived: hang on, maybe there are some after all. And indeed there are various things in the App Store that are agrobiodiversity relevant, though admittedly clearly not aimed at subsistence farmers. So is anyone keeping track of stuff that may be useful to developing countries? Well, google reveals Ken Banks is, at kiwanja.net. Mongabay.com did an interview with him a few years back. Nothing very seedy in his database, though. Yet. Do you know of any relevant apps we could send in to them? Maybe you’re developing one yourself? Let us know.
And yes, I know. I should just have googled right at the start. But I was in a mood.