- Seeds going home, thanks to the Indigenous Seed Keepers Network and others.
- Matooke gets its first hybrids.
- Avocado gets its first solid cryo protocol.
- The agricultural challenges and opportunities of African urbanization. No word on the fact that more and more ag will be urban ag. Or on what it will all mean for crop diversity.
What can you do about inbreeding in a small population of a species that nearly went extinct? Well, if the species is Przewalski’s horse, one thing you can do is inject some new diversity into the genepool by cloning a genetically very distinct stallion whose cells you happened to put in liquid nitrogen forty years ago. The whole amazing story is on the website of the Revive & Restore project.
This is huge. The first cloning for conservation.
It's a male Przewalski's horse ("shuh-VAL-ski") from 40 years ago, now revived to help enrich the genomes of the whole wild population.
— Stewart Brand (@stewartbrand) September 5, 2020
The new foal’s name is Kurt. Why?
Kurt is named in honor of Dr. Kurt Benirshke, a geneticist at the San Diego Zoo who in 1975 had a prescient idea. Dr. Benirshke began what is now the Frozen Zoo, collecting and cryopreserving the cell lines of endangered species and safely storing away genetic diversity before it was lost. At the time the collection was a bet on cloning and reproductive technologies that did not yet exist. Nearly fifty years later, with the partnership of San Diego Zoo Global Frozen Zoo, Revive & Restore, and ViaGen Pets and Equine, Dr. Benirschke’s plans are quite literally coming to life.
h/t Beth Shapiro.
LATER: A bit more background on Przewalski’s horse just out.
- Using remote sensing to assess the effect of trees on millet yield in complex parklands of Central Senegal. Tree cover in the landscape of up to 35% increases pearl millet yields.
- Genetic and genomic resources for improving proso millet (Panicum miliaceum L.): a potential crop for food and nutritional security. All that’s missing is the investment. And, possibly, the trees.
- A high-quality genome of taro (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott), one of the world’s oldest crops. Has benefitted from two whole-genome duplications. Now that this investment has been made, I expect to see the crop take off.
- Key traits and genes associate with salinity tolerance independent from vigor in cultivated sunflower. There is a way to increase yield under salinity stress without affecting yield under more benign conditions. Millets and taro should take note.
- Sustainable Cucurbit Breeding and Production in Asia Using Public–Private Partnerships by the World Vegetable Center. WorldVeg presents improved lines and F1 hybrids of bitter gourd (Momordica charantia), tropical pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata), ridge gourd (Luffa acutangula) and sponge gourd (Luffa cylindrica) to private sector breeders at Crop Field Days. Everybody wins. But are there any private sector breeders of millets and taro to take note?
- Crop Wild Phylorelatives (CWPs): phylogenetic distance, cytogenetic compatibility and breeding system data enable estimation of crop wild relative gene pool classification. Predicting crossability of a crop with its wild relatives from whatever data is on hand.
- Evolution and domestication of the Bovini species. They’ve been very promiscuous, and the results can be summarized in one illustration.
- Defining diet quality: a synthesis of dietary quality metrics and their validity for the double burden of malnutrition. Seven dietary metrics out there, none of them perfect.
- Assessing nutritional, health, and environmental sustainability dimensions of agri-food production. Here’s how to make nutrition and health metrics better. Maybe these guys should get together with the above?
- Aztec diets at the residential site of San Cristobal Ecatepec through stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of bone collagen. The men drank more pulque than the women. I wonder if 500 years from now they’ll be judging us like this.
- The unique role of seed banking and cryobiotechnologies in plant conservation. Good summary of the different ex situ approaches available for plants, none of them perfect. The existence of an Exceptional Plant Conservation Network and a Project Baseline for seed genebanks was news to me.
- Making the post-2020 global biodiversity framework a successful tool for building biodiverse, inclusive, resilient and safe food systems for all. The CBD needs to learn to love mixed, diverse agricultural landscapes. And genebanks, natch. Maybe it should invest in dietary metrics.
- The Role of Genetic Resources in Breeding for Climate Change: The Case of Public Breeding Programmes in Eighteen Developing Countries. Business as usual, except more intense. Oh, and perhaps more use of landraces. No word on dietary metrics.
- Identification and Control of Latent Bacteria in in vitro Cultures of Sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam]. 10% of about 2400 in vitro plantlets had a total of about 20 types of bacteria, some of which might be beneficial for all we know, but all of which could be removed.
- Genome-wide genotyping elucidates the geographical diversification and dispersal of the polyploid and clonally propagated yam (Dioscorea alata L.). Asian and Pacific genepools, thence to India, then Africa, then the Caribbean.
- Multi-parent populations in crops: a toolbox integrating genomics and genetic mapping with breeding. Like MAGIC.
- Genetic and genomic resources, and breeding for accelerating improvement of small millets: current status and future interventions. Here’s all the promising material, now go crazy with the MAGIC.
- Plural valuation of nature for equity and sustainability: Insights from the Global South. The road to decolonizing conservation.
- Long-Term Storage and Longevity of Orthodox Seeds: A Systematic Review. Treat your seeds right.
- Changes in food access by mestizo communities associated with deforestation and agrobiodiversity loss in Ucayali, Peruvian Amazon. Less diversified diets, loss of forest cover and reduced agricultural biodiversity go together, somehow.
- Evaluation of Wild Potato Germplasm for Tuber Starch Content and Nitrogen Utilization Efficiency. Wild species are better on both counts.
- Conservation protocols for Ensete glaucum, a crop wild relative of banana, using plant tissue culture and cryopreservation techniques on seeds and zygotic embryos. 2 accessions thus conserved at NBPGR.
- Computational models to improve surveillance for cassava brown streak disease and minimize yield loss. Fancy maths shows that planting clean material helps a lot.
- Genome wide association analysis of a stemborer egg induced “call-for-help” defence trait in maize. “…egg-induced parasitoid attraction trait was more common in landraces than in improved inbred lines and hybrids.”
- Low Additive Genetic Variation in a Trait Under Selection in Domesticated Rice. That would be root growth under drought and Al stress conditions. Every accession has a different set of low frequency causal alleles.