- Variation in seed longevity among diverse Indica rice varieties. 8 major loci associated with seed longevity.
- Seeds and the Art of Genome Maintenance. Viability is about the DNA repair response. Snap.
- Are Mayan community forest reserves effective in fulfilling people’s needs and preserving tree species? Sure.
- The power of argument. People don’t respond to utilitarian arguments when it comes to biodiversity. In the Netherlands.
- Do modern hunter-gatherers live in marginal habitats? Nope. What can I tell ya?
- New evidence on concentration in seed markets. Not as bad as some people think.
- Climate change has likely already affected global food production. From 2003 to 2008, ~1% average reduction in consumable food calories in barley, cassava, maize, oil palm, rapeseed, rice, sorghum, soybean, sugarcane and wheat.
- Selection of Heat Tolerant Lablab. 6 out of 44 accessions form the WorldVeg genebank are heat tolerant.
- Counting the beans: quantifying the adoption of improved mungbean varieties in South Asia and Myanmar. 1.2 million farmers reached by WorldVeg varieties. Lablab next?
- Climate smart agricultural practices and gender differentiated nutrition outcome: An empirical evidence from Ethiopia. They work, but they’re better in combination.
- Pests and diseases of trees in Africa: A growing continental emergency. Into Africa…
- Genetics of adaptation in modern chicken. Not much of a domestication bottleneck; that came later.
- Multi-Trait Diverse Germplasm Sources from Mini Core Collection for Sorghum Improvement. From 40,000 in the genebank, to 242 in the mini-core, to 6 really cool ones (from Yemen, USA, China, Mozambique, and India x2 if you must know).
- Palaeogenomic insights into the origins of French grapevine diversity. Ancient DNA from 28 pips dating back to the Iron Age provides pretty good matches to grapes grown today.
- Global dataset shows geography and life form predict modern plant extinction and rediscovery. Almost 600 plants went extinct in modern times, at least, and I count about 20 crop wild relatives among them.
The claim that khesari dal can cause lathyrism is increasingly being challenged by researchers who feel that the ban was not based on systemic research over a prolonged period.
So what’s the problem?
Sources in the FSSAI1 say that the ban has helped people associated with the import of other pulses such as toor dal2. “In the wake of drop in production of popular pulses ensuing imports, traders lobby is benefitted. (Shortage of pulses in India, increases prices, benefitting traders.) They would never want the ban lifted,” said one official on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, research and breeding continue.
- The Coffee Science Foundation is the science foundation we all need.
- In search of Bob’s ganja.
- Vox vid on saving crop diversity. Pretty good, except for that thorn apple thing.
- GIZ support for the CIP genebank.
- Ex-CIP breeder works with VIR to bring wild potatoes to Cornell.
- Or friend Lex Thomson on why Fiji is a hibiscus hotspot.
- Celebrate European cereal diversity.
- Dan Barber on freeing the seed. The polarisation continues.
- The first British farmers walked there.
- CIMMYT rebuttal of a paper saying European wheat varieties are decreasing in their climate resilience.
- Celery was once a luxury.
There’s a pretty fascinating paper in Plants, People, Planet. Resetting the table for people and plants: Botanic gardens and research organizations collaborate to address food and agricultural plant blindness wants to enlist botanic gardens in a broad effort to restore our ability to see plants. There’s a good long list of previous exhibits and displays mounted by botanic gardens and demonstration farms around the world, and to me they all sound absolutely fascinating.
But, as my friends will tell you, I’m weird. I’m very happy lingering among the multiplier onions and dye plants at the botanic gardens here in Rome, or tut-tutting at the labels, lack of, on the potatoes at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, my two most recent forays. And let me share a tip; if you’re looking for peace and quiet in a botanic garden, useful plants is the place to be, because most visitors are not weird like me.
The authors of the paper, of course, are weird like me. They’re the kind of people I’d like alongside at any of the exhibits they talk about and others they don’t. But although they cite one set of visitor numbers – 600,000 people saw the Amber Waves of Grain exhibit at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington DC in 2015 – there’s precious little evidence it had any impact on any of them. I’m sure, too, that many directors of botanic gardens would love to put on the sort of exhibits being called for, if they but had the cash.
It may be a shame, but people are generally blind to the plants that sustain them. And yet, they still manage to eat. Would it make any difference to food policy if people at large had clearer vision?
- The deep history of inhaling.
- CIP genebank scientists honoured.
- But do they know about the most expensive potato in the world?
- The thinking behind that IPBES 1 million threatened species number.
- Seed documentary wins awards.
- Tasty blue bananas.
- One-woman genebank in India.
- Meanwhile, in Rome, negotiations to improve the Plant Treaty continue… Fingers crossed.