- Arctic-adapted dogs emerged at the Pleistocene–Holocene transition. Sled dogs arose in Siberia, where they interbred with wolves.
- 863 genomes reveal the origin and domestication of chicken. It was Gallus gallus spadiceus from southwestern China, northern Thailand and Myanmar that was domesticated, possibly by rice and millet cultivators, according to Dorian Fuller, who disagrees with the domestication dates but likes the rest of the paper.
- Fodder for Change: Animals, Urbanisation, and Socio-Economic Transformation in Protohistoric Italy. In first-millennium BCE Italy, pigs grew in importance, cattle increased in size, sheep breeds differentiated according to use, and the chickens was adopted and adapted.
- Formalizing land rights can reduce forest loss: Experimental evidence from Benin. Randomized control trial shows land registration is associated with less deforestation.
- Buckwheat (Fagopyrum sp.) genetic resources: What can they contribute towards nutritional security of changing world? Not much until given the full -omics treatment, apparently.
- Pan-Genome of Wild and Cultivated Soybeans. The pan-genome is the new genome. Wait, did I use that before?
- Developing the role of legumes in West Africa under climate change. Lesser know, orphan legumes could step in for cowpea in some places, if only we knew more about them. Like a pan-genome, I guess.
- Evaluation of Nutritional and Antinutritional Properties of African Yam Bean (Sphenostylis stenocarpa (Hochst ex. A. Rich.) Harms.) Seeds. But we do know more about them! Lots of variation available to combat protein malnutrition, if only farmers grew more of the stuff. Oh so now it’s their fault?
- Conserving orthodox seeds of globally threatened plants ex situ in the Millennium Seed Bank, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: the status of seed collections. Some decline in germinability for about 16% of samples. Includes successful germination protocols for 165 globally threatened seed plant taxa.
- SeedGerm: a cost‐effective phenotyping platform for automated seed imaging and machine‐learning based phenotypic analysis of crop seed germination. Fancy kit and maths can match seed specialists in scoring radicle emergence. But will it work with wild seeds? MSB unavailable for comment.
- In Situ and Ex Situ Conservation of Coconut Genetic Resources. Beyond coconut-only genebanks. I’d like to see SeedGerm work on this lot. Check out the whole book.
Remember the paper on re-finding a couple of “lost” coffee species in Sierra Leone that we included in Brainfood a few weeks back? Thought you might. Anyway, Jeremy has an interview with the main author, NRI’s Jeremy Haggar, in Eat This Podcast this week. Have a listen, it’s a cool story.
But how will it feed into the global coffee conservation strategy?
- Genetic diversity targets and indicators in the CBD post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework must be improved. Better than accession numbers? Well, yeah, but will it matter?
- FIELDimageR: An R package to analyze orthomosaic images from agricultural field trials. Extract plot-level results from your drone shots, automagically.
- Radiation Interception, Conversion and Partitioning Efficiency in Potato Landraces: How Far Are We from the Optimum? Quite far, but perhaps more interestingly you can predict tuber yield from time-series aerial imagery. Which means the above could come in useful.
- Genetic architecture and gene mapping of cyanide in cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz.). High cyanide alleles in 2 major genes mainly found along Amazonian rivers and in coastal areas of Brazil. Drones unavailable for comment.
- Relationships among American popcorn and their links with landraces conserved in a microcenter of diversity. Did the diverse popcorns of southern Brazil derive from local diversification or independent local domestication? More work needed. Anyone going to mash this up with the cassava result above?
- Payments for agrobiodiversity conservation services: An overview of Latin American experiences, lessons learned and upscaling challenges. 5 ha of each of 100 varieties will cost you US$70,000 p.a. at a 5% discount rate. Bargain.
- Diversity Under Threat: Connecting Genetic Diversity and Threat Mapping to Set Conservation Priorities for Juglans regia L. Populations in Central Asia. Ex situ where threat level from climate change is severe, in situ where threat level due to climate change is minor, assisted natural regeneration where threat level from climate change is minor but severe from other things, like overgrazing. No word on payments for ecosystem services rendered.
- Composite modeling of leaf shape across shoots discriminates Vitis species better than individual leaves. Fancy maths used to composite leaf shapes along a shoot as a way of telling species apart.
- Superior haplotypes for haplotype‐based breeding for drought tolerance in pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan L.). From 10 genes and about 300 genotypes to 17 accessions with 4 superior haplotypes.
- Create Space for Indigenous Leadership to Preserve Agricultural Biodiversity. In the Ecuadorian Amazon, cacao production for cash is not driving down agrobiodiversity.
- Conceptual Links between Landscape Diversity and Diet Diversity: A Roadmap for Transdisciplinary Research. There are 4 different pathways whereby diverse forested landscapes can lead to diet diversity.
- ‘Keeping seeds in our hands’: the rise of seed activism. While the formal sector is still arguing about farmers’ rights, activists have moved the paradigm to seed sovereignty.
- Thirty-year monitoring and statistical analysis of 50 species’ germinability in genebank medium-term storage suggest specific characteristics in seed longevity. Huge dataset reveals some geographic variation in seed longevity within crops, among other things.
Just a reminder to everyone that the CBD is soliciting comments on the proposed Post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
Needless to say, Sean Hoban and colleagues have been thinking this through and are proposing genetic diversity targets and indicators, and for all species, not just crops and their wild relatives:
- the number of populations with effective population size above versus below 500
- the proportion of populations maintained within species,
- the number of species and populations in which genetic diversity is monitored using DNA-based methods.
Better than genebank accession numbers, I guess, but are they “simple” enough to measure repeatedly and consistently?
Oh, and by the way, there’s also a proposal around to have a single, headline global extinction target.
- Land‐use history determines ecosystem services and conservation value in tropical agroforestry. Not all agroforests are created equal.
- Temperate agroforestry systems provide greater pollination service than monoculture. No word on land-use history though.
- Machine learning for high-throughput field phenotyping and image processing provides insight into the association of above and below-ground traits in cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz). Fancy maths helps you estimate root yield from drone images of the canopy of cassava plots.
- A dynastic elite in monumental Neolithic society. Ancient DNA suggests Atlantic megaliths were built to honour incestuous god-kings. But n=1, so there’s that.
- Keeping pace with climate change in global terrestrial protected areas. The representation of climates in protected areas is going to change, with cold and warm climates suffering.
- Network analysis of regional livestock trade in West Africa. It all starts in Burkina Faso.
- Gender and Trait Preferences for Banana Cultivation and Use in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Literature Review. Farmers still prefer traditional cultivars.
- Decoding diversity in the food system: wheat and bread in North America. “Although the dominant trends are toward uniformity, there are also numerous forms of resistance.” Banana farmers available for comment.
- Against the Grain: Long-Term Patterns in Agricultural Production in Prehistoric Cyprus. There was resistance during the agricultural transition too.
- Legacy of Amazonian Dark Earth soils on forest structure and species composition. Forest that was actively managed and farmed in pre-Columbian times is more diverse.
- Evidence of genetic diversity within Solanum Lycopersicum L. ‘Platense’ landrace and identification of various subpopulations. The accessions thus labelled in an Argentinian genebank show a lot of variation.
- Genetic diversity evolution of a sheep breed reintroduced after extinction: Tracing back Christopher Columbus’ first imported sheep. Decolonization in action.
- Simple rules for concise scientific writing. Easier said than done, as all the above confirm.