- Podcast on saving crop diversity every which way you can.
- Because it can be lost.
- Yes, lost, but, with some effort, bison permitting, found again.
- Wild relatives too, of course.
- And maybe then rematriated, even used for a greener agriculture, who knows.
- So that eventually it can make it into things like Legume Perspective, the cool journal of the International Legume Society that was inexplicably unknown to me until just now.
- New technologies to improve the ex situ conservation of plant genetic resources. Genebanks need to catch up with the latest science even just to maintain their seeds.
- Advanced Strategic Research to Promote the Use of Rice Genetic Resources. High-throughput phenotyping and genome sequencing are the latest science that will make the most of those seeds.
- Phased diploid genome assemblies and pan-genomes provide insights into the genetic history of apple domestication. Analysis of genomes of two main wild progenitors plus the crop uncovers genes so far untapped for improvement.
- The elephant grass (Cenchrus purpureus) genome provides insights into anthocyanidin accumulation and fast growth. It’s related to pearl millet, apparently. Which may or may not be a good thing. No word on any genes so far untapped for improvement.
- Triticum population sequencing provides insights into wheat adaptation. Wide adaptation is largely due to introgression from the wild. No word on any genes so far untapped for improvement.
- The Right Tortilla for the Right Occasion: Variation in Consumers’ Willingness to Pay for Blue Maize Tortillas Based on Utilization. Consumers are willing to pay 42% more for blue tortillas, but only when eating out, presumably as part of virtue signalling.
- 30 years of free‐air carbon dioxide enrichment (FACE): What have we learned about future crop productivity and its potential for adaptation? That enrichment wont save us, that’s what.
- Phenotypic Divergence Analysis in Pigeonpea [Cajanus cajan (L.) Millspaugh] Germplasm Accessions. From 81 accessions to 9 promising ones, at least for Malawi.
- A model for the domestication of Panicum miliaceum (common, proso or broomcorn millet) in China. Domestication took 3000 years.
- Origins and genetic legacy of prehistoric dogs. All dogs are descendants of a now extinct wolf population, and their genetics show both interesting parallels with, and divergences from, that of humans.
- Brain Size Does Not Rescue Domestication Syndrome. Not even for humans, I suspect. Kidding apart, this is fascinating. It suggests that, for animals at least, the domestication syndrome is not actually a thing. Or at least has not been properly tested. If there’s interest, I’ll do a full post. Let me know in the comments below.
- Ancient genomes reveal tropical bovid species in the Tibetan Plateau contributed to the prevalence of hunting game until the late Neolithic. The now tropical gaur ranged much further north during the warmer Neolithic, which facilitated the exploration of the Tibetan Plateau.
- Optimization of in vitro germination and cryopreservation conditions for preserving date palm pollen in the USDA National Plant Germplasm System. Always good to have another way of storing germplasm.
- Beyond the material: knowledge aspects in seed commoning. Comparing global with local seed commons reveals importance of managing knowledge, both scientific and traditional.
- Genetics to the rescue: managing forests sustainably in a changing world. To manage forests sustainably, you have to conserve and use their genetic diversity. Interesting that they needed a conference to work that out.
- Genetic mixing for population management: from genetic rescue to provenancing. And using that genetic diversity could mean mixing it up.
- The importance of genomic variation for biodiversity, ecosystems and people. Maintaining ecosystem services means maintaining genetic diversity. Sounds like these authors went to the same conference.
- Genebanks for nutrition. Indeed they are.
- Hot peppers may be good for you. Genebanks alerted.
- For Aboriginal Australians, knowledge is held by the living landscape, and humans get together to animate it. Fascinating.
- Humans getting together to rescue near-extinct plants from wounded landscapes of North America.
- There’s a database of animal feeds for sub-Saharan Africa. Could do with being mashed up with genebank databases, no?
- Agriculture under communism wasn’t all that communist. At least in E. Germany. I wonder what they were fed.
- A 4000-year-old apple core found in Vienna. Any DNA though?
Jeremy’s latest newsletter includes this nice write-up of a recent paper on the origins of Chinese food, under the title I’ve stolen above. Here’s the rest of the newsletter. We blogged here about the paper Jeremy discusses in the podcast episode mentioned at the end.
Path dependence is the idea that the choices available today are constrained by choices that were made some time back. A new research paper in PLOS One looks at the way existing cooking techniques affected new crops as they made their way into China.
Wheat and barley arrived in China about 4000 years ago. But while the people of western China adopted the new plants quite quickly (you can tell by looking closely at their bones) those in central China were apparently not as keen.
The reason, according to the researchers, reflects north-south differences in cuisine that can be detected 8000 years ago. Northeners had millet as their staple grain, while southerners ate nuts, tubers, fruits and rice. Overlaid on this, central China is part of the northern complex, where millet was prepared by boiling or steaming the whole grain. Western China’s approach to wheat and barley was to mirror their neighbours to the west, grinding the grains to make flour that was baked into breads.
It took much longer for cooking methods in the east to adapt to the new cereals, not least because it takes far longer to boil wheat than millet, and the taste is quite different. There is some evidence, too, that in the course of this adaptation, wheat itself was selected to be more amenable to boiling and steaming.
This east-west vs north-south story adds detail to the [Eat This Podcast] episode with Martin Jones on Prehistoric food globalisation.