- Contributions of Indigenous Knowledge to ecological and evolutionary understanding. The importance of IK is considerable for PGRFA conservation and use too, of course, and the injunction to “enter into a thoughtful social contract with IK holders, foremost working toward partnered research that benefits the communities, governments, and nations of Indigenous peoples” goes double.
- Harnessing Crop Wild Diversity for Climate Change Adaptation.. …needs open data. Genomic data, that is, rather than IK. I wonder if there’s quid pro quo here.
- Genetic Identity, Diversity, and Population Structure of CIP’s Sweetpotato (I. batatas) Germplasm Collection. An entire collection of about 6000 accessions genotyped to reveal 4 ancestral populations, some duplication within and between genebanks, plus possible mistakes in labelling. Ah, data!
- Information use and its effects on the valuation of agricultural genetic resources. Giving the public more data may increase the support for animal genetic resources conservation. But what kind of data? Read on…
- Consumers’ knowledge and perceptions of endangered livestock breeds: How wording influences conservation efforts. Focus on the nice taste rather than the rarity or endangerment of breeds, as it turns out. Accentuate the positive?
- The emerging role of open technologies for community-based improvement of cryopreservation and quality management for repository development in aquatic species. Hardware can be open too.
- Longevity of Plant Pathogens in Dry Agricultural Seeds during 30 Years of Storage. Clean your seeds, genebanks.
- Sustainable agriculture through perennial grains: Wheat, rice, maize, and other species. A review. Promises, promises…
- Tapping Into the Environmental Co-benefits of Improved Tropical Forages for an Agroecological Transformation of Livestock Production Systems. Location, location, location.
- ‘Systems approach’ plant breeding illustrated by trees. Link up different plant breeding approaches in fun ways rather than doubling down on any single one.
- A pragmatic and prudent consensus on the resurrection of extinct plant species using herbarium specimens. I must say I would not have been so prudent.
- Validating South Sudan as a Center of Origin for Coffea arabica: Implications for Conservation and Coffee Crop Improvement. No time for prudence here.
- Diversification, spread, and admixture of octoploid strawberry in the Western Hemisphere. Yes, that’s all very interesting, but tell me more about that Hawaiian strawberry.
On September 21, alongside the UN Food systems summit, we launched the first regional results of 32 companies in Western and Central Africa. Then, on October 15, we launched the results of 32 companies in Eastern and Southern Africa, which coincided with the 2021 World Food Day celebration. Finally, on November 22, we launched the results of 31 companies in South and South-East Asia at the Asia Pacific Seed Association’s technical session.
Remember why this is important.
Smallholder farmers are the main food producers in lower-income countries, and their access to good quality seeds of improved varieties is essential for ensuring that people in these regions have sufficient, safe, and nutritious food. Ultimately, the index evaluates seed companies’ contributions to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger. Seed companies play a key role in ensuring this access.
The main take-aways?
- Presence: Seed companies are active in almost all index countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and South and South-East Asia but can extend their reach to remote areas.
- Crop diversification: Many companies are providing more diverse portfolios for vegetables and field crops but need to offer more pulses to help tackle malnutrition
- Extension services: Companies are offering extension services in more countries than in 2019 and leveraged ICT tools to reach smallholder farmers as an impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on traditional field training.
- Local seed sector development: Companies are still only concentrating their investments in developing local seed sectors such as seed production, breeding programs and processing in a few countries. This approach leaves behind many smallholders in many countries who can benefit from a developed local seed sector. Therefore, it’s crucial for the seed industry to collaborate with research institutes, investors, civil society, and governments in industry growth in more countries to strengthen capabilities and means to reach more farmers in all regions.
Lots of data to dig into. And comments always welcome.
- Full disclosure: I’m on the Expert Review Committee. [↩]
- Triangulation supports agricultural spread of the Transeurasian languages. People speaking the precursor of Japonic, Koreanic, Tungusic, Mongolic and Turkic languages started out around the West Liao River and then spread with their Panicum millet farming, mixing with other populations and picking up rice and wheat along the way.
- Artificial selection in the expansion of rice cultivation. They managed to get to Hokkaido with that rice because of a couple of genes. Rice genes, that is.
- Pip shape echoes grapevine domestication history. If they had carried grapevines, we’d be able to say which varieties.
- Shaping the biology of citrus: I. Genomic determinants of evolution. They maybe had a role in citrus domestication, but a lot of the hard work was done by the prior adaptive radiation of the group. The citrus group, that is. Quick summary of both papers here if you can get access to it.
- Yak Domestication: A Review of Linguistic, Archaeological, and Genetic Evidence. They weren’t involved in yak domestication, though, I don’t think.
- The Evolutionary History of Wild, Domesticated, and Feral Brassica oleracea (Brassicaceae). Nor that of Brassica oleracea, whose closest wild relative turns out to be half a world away on Crete.
- Coffee: Genetic Diversity, Erosion, Conservation, and Utilization. Ok, stay with me here. Brassica oleracea is related to Brassica carinata, which originated in Ethiopia, which is also where arabica coffee comes from.
- Surveying Grassland Islands: the genetics and performance of Appalachian switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) collections. If you can find a close connection between coffee and switchgrass you get a prize. Ah no wait, there are 2 ploidy levels, just like in Coffea. Yeah, I know it’s tenuous.
- Agrobiodiversity-Oriented Food Systems between Public Policies and Private Action: A Socio-Ecological Model for Sustainable Territorial Development. These guys really know their onions. And think they can use their conservation as a spur to local development. In Italy, but who’s to say it couldn’t work in Ethiopia as well.
- Putting diverse farming households’ preferences and needs at the centre of seed system development. Imagine.
The process leading up to the just-started 2nd International Agrobiodiversity Congress included coming up with the “Rome Manifesto: Using Agrobiodiversity to Transform Food Systems.” This highlights three “commitments to help tackle global challenges including climate change, malnutrition, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation.”
- Consume diverse foods in diets that are nutritious, sustainable, affordable, acceptable, safe, and accessible to all.
- Produce food in diverse, resilient, and sustainable food systems.
- Conserve agrobiodiversity to give people the options they need to sustainably and inclusively transform food systems and improve lives, both now and in the future.
Yeah but how, you ask? You’ll have to attend the congress to find out, I guess, or at least follow on Twitter…
- A chickpea genetic variation map based on the sequencing of 3,366 genomes. Where the good and the bad alleles are.
- Crop Wild Relatives Crosses: Multi-Location Assessment in Durum Wheat, Barley, and Lentil. There are lots of good alleles in the wild relatives.
- The arches and spandrels of maize domestication, adaptation, and improvement. Some alleles are good by accident, and that’s ok.
- Malting Quality of ICARDA Elite Winter Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Germplasm Grown in Moroccan Middle Atlas. Here are some alleles for good beer.
- High molecular weight glutenin gene diversity in Aegilops tauschii demonstrates unique origin of superior wheat quality. And here are some alleles for good gluten. In a wild relative from unexpected place, as it turns out. More in the press release.
- Genetic resources of bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl.] and citron watermelon (Citrullus lanatus var. citroides (L.H. Bailey) Mansf. ex Greb.): implications for genetic improvement, product development and commercialization: a review. Not just good as rootstocks, and lots of alleles to play with.
- Coconut genome assembly enables evolutionary analysis of palms and highlights signaling pathways involved in salt tolerance. Looks like coconut might have lost a lot of good alleles at the end of the Pleistocene glaciations.
- High-quality reference genome sequences of two coconut cultivars provide insights into evolution of monocot chromosomes and differentiation of fiber content and plant height. The same gene controls height in coconuts as in maize and rice.
- Enhancing the searchability, breeding utility, and efficient management of germplasm accessions in the USDA−ARS rice collection. And now you can look for rice germplasm with the good height allele you want.
- History and impact of a bean (Phaseolus spp., Leguminosae, Phaseoleae) collection. Hopefully will be able to do the same for this bean collection soon.
- Integrating Genomic and Phenomic Approaches to Support Plant Genetic Resources Conservation and Use. The above, summarized.
- Gene Bank Collection Strategies Based Upon Geographic and Environmental Indicators for Beef Breeds in the United States of America. The above, plus environmental data, for cattle.
- History of Global Germplasm Conservation System. The above, writ large.