- Bambara Groundnut (Vigna subterranea [L.] Verdc.) Production, Utilisation and Genetic Improvement in Sub-Saharan Africa. Needs breeding for better yield and nutritional value, and there’s plenty of diversity to work with.
- A prion-like protein regulator of seed germination undergoes hydration-dependent phase separation. And variation may be linked to ecological adaptation, and so could be used in breeding for drought tolerance. Possibly even in Bambara groundnut?
- Future foods for risk-resilient diets. Yeah, microalgae, mycoprotein and mealworm, what could possibly go wrong? I almost prefer the prion.
- Hotspots of land-use change in global biodiversity hotspots. Agricultural expansion is the main threat in the Global South, urbanization in the North. Bring on the microalgae.
- Massive soybean expansion in South America since 2000 and implications for conservation. A lot of it happens on pastures, but not all, and those cows have to go somewhere.
- Remote sensing of biodiversity: what to measure and monitor from space to species? How the above was done. Still waiting for my landrace erosion early warning system.
- Priority micronutrient density in foods. Organs, small fish, dark green leafy vegetables, shellfish, beef, goat, eggs, milk, cheese, and canned fish with bones. What, no microalgae?
- Food insecurity related to agricultural practices and household characteristics in rural communities of northeast Madagascar. Diversification is needed. Have they thought of microalgae?
- Creation of aromatic maize by CRISPR/Cas. Because it’s there? Since you’re at it, why not aromatic microalgae?
- Genotyping and lipid profiling of 601 cultivated sunflower lines reveals novel genetic determinants of oil fatty acid content. Analysis of lots of Russian material identifies interesting genomic regions. Hold the microalgae.
- Study of Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice in Participants with Regular Intake of Lathyrus, But No Spastic Paraparesis. Neurolathyrism is not a problem even where grasspea is a major crop.
- Genetic diversity and GWAS of agronomic traits using an ICARDA lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) Reference Plus collection. Who needs grasspea, though, eh?
- Starch structure-property relations in Australian wild rices compared to domesticated rices. Good, and good for you. Keep your microalgae.
- The long-standing significance of genetic diversity in conservation. I suppose it does need to be repeated.
- Germplasm exchange is critical to conservation of biodiversity and global food security. Yes, indeed it does look like it needs to be repeated.
- From gene banks to farmer’s fields: using genomic selection to identify donors for a breeding program in rice to close the yield gap on smallholder farms. A prime example of why it should not need to be repeated.
- Large potential for crop production adaptation depends on available future varieties. 39% of global cropland could require new crop varieties to avoid yield loss from climate change by the end of the century? You don’t say. Bears repeating.
- More than Maize, Bananas, and Coffee: The Inter– and Intraspecific Diversity of Edible Plants of the Huastec Mayan Landscape Mosaics in Mexico. Looks like we don’t need to repeat it to the Maya.
- Monitoring and Progress in the Implementation of the Global Plan of Action on Animal Genetic Resources. Significant progress, but correlated with per capita GDP. So some people are listening to the endless repetition; but not enough.
- For the sake of resilience and multifunctionality, let’s diversify planted forests! Yes, it needs to be repeated for forests too.
- Motivations for maintaining crop diversity: Evidence from Vermont’s seed systems. Yes, repeat by all means, but with variation.
- How big is the “lemons” problem? Historical evidence from French wines. Quality certification schemes can support the market value of products. And of course they can be good for genetic diversity too.
- Crop resistance and household resilience – The case of cassava and sweetpotato during super-typhoon Ompong in the Philippines. Root and tuber crops are good for household resilience in typhoon-affected areas. Not exactly genetic diversity, but still bears repeating.
- Global historic pandemics caused by the FAM-1 genotype of Phytophthora infestans on six continents. Why genetic diversity is necessary for root and tuber crops too. As if it needed repeating.
- Genetic Diversity in 19th Century Barley (Hordeum vulgare) Reflects Differing Agricultural Practices and Seed Trade in Jämtland, Sweden. What causes all that genetic diversity we’ve been repeating endlessly about.
The perspective of Seed Commons challenges the dominant narrative that the best pathway towards food and nutrition security for the world’s growing population is to foster privately-owned biotechnical innovations, supported by corresponding policy measures (see, for example, OECD 2018). It addresses major political impasses in the present international and national governance of varieties, seed and PGRFA that are based on such narratives and tend to be tailored towards the needs of private sector R&D, large-scale farms and ‘industrial’ food systems, hampering the necessary transition of farming and food systems towards more sustainable outcomes (IPES-Food 2016). By exploring innovative governance models for seed, varieties and PGRFA, Seed Commons could thus provide opportunities to reconsider how innovation could be fostered in a way to better serve current and future needs of farmers and society.
Well that’s exciting. Though I’m a slightly miffed that there was a whole symposium about Seed Commons and nobody told me.
Anyway, check out in particular the paper by Halewood and co-authors, which tries to answer the question: What institutional innovations can enhance farmers’ agency in the evolving global crop commons through use of their specialized knowledge and experience?
Spoiler alert: it’s made-to-measure biocultural community protocols designed to promote farming communities’ access to crop genetic resources from elsewhere1 for experimentation, improvement and management as part of their local production systems. But not only, so read the whole thing. And the other papers too.
Today we’re wishing Tom Payne a very long and happy retirement after over 30 years at CIMMYT, many of the later ones running the wheat genebank.
There’s a nice conversation with him on the WHEAT website.
What is one way we can ensure long-term conservation of staple crops around the world?
In the past few years, several internationally renowned germplasm collections have been destroyed due to civil conflicts, natural disasters and fires — for example in Aleppo, Cape Town and Sao Paulo. Each time, we hear what a shame it was that the destroyed heritage was lost, that it was irreplaceable and beyond value. When a genebank loses an accession, the ancestral lineage extending hundreds of generations becomes permanently extinct. Genebank managers recognize this threat, and hence duplicate samples of all accessions are now slowly being sent to the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard for long-term preservation.
A fond farewell today to Tom Payne, currently the Head of the Wheat Germplasm Collection as he retires after 33+ years at @CIMMYT. Steadfast commitment to & promotion of the many forms of diversity in crops & people globally. Read his recent reflections: https://t.co/CaAhqGRT2J pic.twitter.com/OmzaqUhkPe
— Alison Bentley (@AlisonRBentley) July 21, 2021
If you wanted a nice summary Tom’s legacy you could do worse than look at the recent paper Germplasm Acquisition and Distribution by CGIAR Genebanks, which is now part of a handsome, freely downloadable volume.
The chapter on the Origin of the Domesticated Apples in the recent book on The Apple Genome has a really useful diagram which I hope I won’t get into trouble for reproducing here.
That really is worth a thousand words and more. Wish we had similar ones for all crops.