Nibbles: Large pumpkin, Wheat genome, Timorese nutrition, Seeds for Needs, PPB, Fruit trees, Nutrition ROI, Ecosystem services, Coffee costs, Cacao flavour, Pig slaughtering, Goats threats, Dog diet, Australian migrations

by Luigi Guarino on January 24, 2013

  • Wow, that’s one huge pumpkin!
  • Genomic whiz-bangery, which was apparently not involved in producing the above pumpkin, continues to hold much promise for wheat yields. And your jetpack is in the mail. I would ban the use of the word promise in this type of article. But since I can’t do that, I promise not to link to them ever again.
  • Jess gets to grips with Timorese nutrition. Get those local landraces back from any genebank that has them, Jess. And don’t forget to collect any remaining ones.
  • Then you could do some cool Seeds-for-Needs-type stuff.
  • And maybe some local breeding too?
  • And don’t forget local fruit trees!
  • Because you know investing in nutrition is really cost-effective.
  • Though of course it’s not just about the money.
  • Especially when it comes to coffee.
  • Or cacao for that matter.
  • They shoot hogs, don’t they? Maybe even in East Timor. Goats, alas, have problems of their own.
  • And as for dogs, we forced them to digest starch. What even the dingo? I bet there are dingo-like dogs in East Timor.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anastasia January 24, 2013 at 3:02 pm

It’s easy to get down on genomics when so much has been promised while so little has happened – but a mapped genome does allow marker assisted breeding. Just need to figure out which markers correlate with higher yields. I am optimistic!

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Luigi Guarino January 24, 2013 at 6:44 pm

But you don’t need a sequenced genome for marker assisted breeding, surely. Anyway, I didn’t mean to complain so much about the genomics as about the unimaginative way of reporting on it. Say what has been achieved, rather than what might.

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Dave Wood January 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Local fruit trees: Why bother with the hassle and possible toxins of domesticating indigenous fruit trees when there are hundreds of domesticates from other continents. For example Africa – where ICRAF is trying hard – can get hundreds of species from East Asia and tropical America. This is the tyranny of `local’ and `indigenous’ and, worse, `locally adapted’: far better introduce, free of co-evolved pests and diseases and with a few thousand years of farmer selection for quality control.

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Ian Dawson January 25, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Certainly we should not settle on an ideology around ‘indigenous’ or ‘exotic’ – ICRAF wouldn’t (but both) – and everything is indigenous somewhere… But indigenous fruit tree species are often under-researched and large gains can sometimes be made… One of the sometimes little-considered issues with exotic fruits is access to germplasm on an intercontinental level – not always easy

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