Brainfood: Agroecology, Bioinformatics, Brazilian cassava, Cypriot wine, Swiss poppies, Pollinators, Groundnut breeding, Sorghum pangenome, Crop origins, Sparing vs sharing, Language diversity, Watermelon origins

Nibbles: Small farms, DivSeek, Wheat gene atlas, Tannin synthesis, Pest/diseases, Food/feed, Korean vault

  1. Small farms are not just beautiful. Yes, the original paper was in Brainfood back in March, but this website seems to be new.
  2. DivSeek has a new strategic plan to “improve the generation and sharing of information about global plant genetic resources”: accelerate, add value, educate. Small farms unavailable for comment.
  3. Speaking of sharing information on global PGR, we need to do that for wheat genes, wheat gene scientists say.
  4. Probably for tannins too, come to think of it.
  5. FAO says climate change will make pests and diseases worse.
  6. FAO also says that livestock are not as bad as many people think.
  7. The sincerest for of flattery on display in South Korea.

The making of GapAnalysis.R

A big thank you to Colin Khoury, Julian Ramirez, Chrystian Sosa, and Dan Carver for this guest post, reminding us of the history of conservation gap analysis work at CIAT and other CGIAR centres during the past decade and more.

Maps have helped people find their way for at least 2500 years, so it’s no surprise that geographic methods have been part of the portfolio of tools used to try to understand patterns and distributions of crop diversity, and, more recently, crop genetic erosion, ever since these topics began to garner the interest of scientists and conservationists. Innovations in digital mapping tools, made possible by developments in computer processing and the internet, have enabled continual leaps in the power and efficiency of such methods throughout the past few decades.

CGIAR embraced geographic information system (GIS) research tools about as soon as they were developed. At the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the International Potato Center (CIP), the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI, now Bioversity International), and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), among others, scientists began to apply available GIS tools to genetic resources conservation, and then develop their own suite of methods, programs, and datasets, often in collaboration with national partners and academics (e.g. wild potatoes, peanuts, chile pepper, and peanut/potato/cowpea, as well as climate data). Some of these developments, such as FloraMap and DIVA-GIS (and more recently CAPFITOGEN, by other researchers), have been aimed at making these tools easier to use by those in genetic resources community without extensive GIS experience: an important effort toward greater accessibility, even if it has met with mixed success.

By the 2000s, crop wild relatives were gaining attention as important genetic resources for crop breeding, and would soon be specifically targeted for conservation both by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD’s Aichi Target 13), and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG Target 2.5). It was increasingly important, therefore, that conservation research tools were applied to these useful wild plants, and fortunate that the groundwork for GIS applications had already been laid by a decade or so of research. Through the second phase of a cross-CGIAR initiative called the Global Public Goods Project 2 (GPG2), run from 2007-2010, the distributions of the wild relatives of ten CGIAR mandate crops were mapped, with priorities for further collecting for ex situ conservation identified.

Continue reading “The making of GapAnalysis.R”

Brainfood: Sorghum rescue, Barley mixtures, Agroecology, Tepary genome, DSI x 2, Cryo guac, Seed regulation, Recipe design, White clover diversity, IK wheat, High maize