- Signatures of positive selection in African Butana and Kenana dairy zebu cattle. Cattle breeds from marginal environments show signs of selection in genome regions associated with adaptation to marginal environments.
- The extent and predictability of the biodiversity–carbon correlation. Co-benefits in about 20% of tropical regions.
- Consistent effects of biodiversity loss on multifunctionality across contrasting ecosystems. Losing biodiversity has different effects on individual functions across ecosystems, but consistent effects on the overall impact on functionality. If you see what I mean.
- Cassava bread in Nigeria: the potential of ‘orphan crop’ innovation for building more resilient food systems. The end of the value chain is the important bit.
- Scaling up: A guide to high throughput genomic approaches for biodiversity analysis. Will probably need to be revised next year.
- Speed breeding is a powerful tool to accelerate crop research and breeding. Shuttle breeding on steroids.
- A roadmap for breeding orphan leafy vegetable species: a case study of Gynandropsis gynandra (Cleomaceae). Could do with some high-throughput speed breeding focused on the end of the value chain. How’s that for a coincidence (see 3 entries above)?
- Impact of Crop Diversification on Rural Poverty in Nepal. Growing high-value vegetables can help. Is Cleome high enough value, I wonder, not for the first time?
- Planning for food security in a changing climate. Actually it starts with envisioning new crop management systems, then comes breeding (see entry above).
- A global map of travel time to cities to assess inequalities in accessibility in 2015. Over 10 years in the making, I’m told. Let the mashups begin.
- An assessment of threats to terrestrial protected areas. Number of threats increases with accessibility. Somebody mention mashups?
- Self-medication by orang-utans (Pongo pygmaeus) using bioactive properties of Dracaena cantleyi. External application as anti-inflammatory done by both orangutans and local indigenous human populations.
- Yield effects of rust-resistant wheat varieties in Ethiopia. Improved resistant varieties are better, except under abiotic stress, which is why farmers are going back to traditional varieties. But are they comparing apples and oranges (as it were)?
All the cool kids are doing it, so I tried my hand at a Twitter thread.
— AgroBioDiverse (@AgroBioDiverse) January 17, 2018
But I don’t think I’ll give up on the blog just yet.
- Mongolians nuts for pine nuts.
- Indians increasingly nuts for heirloom rices.
- Tea: a tale of two words.
- Wait, Mongabay does podcasts now?
- DfID backs sustainable supply chains. But is diversity considered?
- The origins of cryo.
- Student saves apple. Species, that is.
- Scurvy was not all bad? Who needs fruit.
- The potential of desho grass (Pennisetum pedicellatum Trin.) for animal feed and land management practices in Ethiopia: A review. “Physiologically, desho grass has a peculiar characteristic of drought tolerance, ability to produce large biomass per unit of land.”
- Wheat genetic resources in the post-genomics era: promise and challenges. Need to go for more wide crosses, which requires more cytological expertise.
- Native seed trade of herbaceous species for restoration: a European policy perspective with global implications. Current policies are inadequate.
- Screening African Rice (Oryza glaberrima) for Tolerance to Abiotic Stresses: II. Lowland Drought. 4 out of over 2000 accessions are promising.
- Dietary species richness as a measure of food biodiversity and nutritional quality of diets. Number of species consumed is a good indicator of the quality of the diet, across seasons and countries.
- Could taxonomic misnaming threaten the ex situ conservation and the usage of plant genetic resources? Only 3% of Citrullus accessions in major genebank databases correctly named.
- Genetic breeding of silkworms: from traditional hybridization to molecular design. Brave new world.
- Domestication origin and breeding history of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) in China and India based on nuclear microsatellites and cpDNA sequence data. 3 domestication areas, in China and India.
- Preservation of the genetic diversity of a local common carp in the agricultural heritage rice–fish system. Farmers like to select different colour types.
- Abyssinian pea (Lathyrus schaeferi Kosterin pro Pisum abyssinicum A. Br.) – a problematic taxon. May have been the result of a spontaneous interspecific cross under cultivation.
- Managing and Discovering Agronomically Beneficial Traits in Chickpea Germplasm Collections. Cores, mini-cores and reference sets facilitate use.
- Evaluation of resistance to Blumeria graminis (DC.) f. sp. avenae, in Avena murphyi and A. magna genotypes. In oats, the lower-ploidy species have better resistance.
- Editorial: Plant Phenotyping and Phenomics for Plant Breeding. The name of the game is integration.
- Trade and the equitability of global food nutrient distribution. Trade is important to nutrition.
Well, while we can all agree that living conditions in many places in Africa may not be up to the standard of the current President of the USA, that hasn’t stopped the continent producing some very remarkable women and men. I’ll just mention two from our field who have been in the news lately, one for a happy reason and one for a sad.
On the happy side, Dr Segent Kelemu, director general of ICIPE, was just featured by Bill Gates in the recent issue of Time magazine which he guest-edited:
Kelemu, 60, grew up in a small Ethiopian village with only one dress and no shoes to wear. She rebelled against the constraints placed on her as a girl. (They cracked.) Along the way, she has fostered a faith that each problem possesses a solution. Among her discoveries: “Life is always a lesson,” she says. “Every day, I learn from everybody.”
On a much sadder note, Harvard’s Prof. Calestous Juma passed away just before Christmas:
Africa, he wrote, contained 60% of the world’s available arable land. It also contained, in sharp contrast to monocultures elsewhere, a vast range of indigenous crops. Many of these, long adapted to arid conditions, could help feed the world despite climate change. Africa was a reservoir of biodiversity, and the next step was to ensure that the storing of seeds, and research into them, became the business of African governments, universities and farmers. Perhaps his most satisfying stint was as the first executive secretary of the UN convention on biodiversity of 1992—in effect an African safeguarder of that vast and endangered genetic library, still hardly catalogued and still largely unread.
Let’s celebrate them, and all the others too.