Seems like it’s probably worth recapping the whole new-species-will-save-your-morning-coffee-from-climate-change story that’s been going around.
It all started last year with a paper describing the rediscovery in the wilds of Sierra Leone of a species of coffee that used to be very well liked but then fell out of commercial favour due to low yields. It’s called Coffea stenophylla1 and of course Jeremy did a podcast about it, interviewing one of the authors of said paper, the very engaging Prof. Jeremy Haggar.
Fast forward a year and we now have a follow-up paper assessing the taste of coffee made from beans of C. stenophylla from that (very tiny, alas) wild population in Sierra Leone and also from a (more substantial) CIRAD research stand in La Reunion. And guess what? It’s really good. So of course Jeremy went back to Prof. Haggar for another nice chat.
C. stenophylla grows in hot and humid lowlands, so it’s a little more ready for climate change than your average arabica.2 Still, the yield issue is presumably still there, and no doubt other problems will arise, as they always do. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed, because I really want to taste the stuff — and boost Sierra Leonean business along the way.
Oh and of course we’ll have to revise the global coffee diversity conservation strategy now…
- Reducing Hunger with Payments for Environmental Services (PES): Experimental Evidence from Burkina Faso. Paying farmers during the lean season for keeping trees alive results in better diets and livelihoods.
- Payments for Conservation of Animal Genetic Resources in Agriculture: One Size Fits All? No, pay pig prices for pigs and sheep prices for sheep. No word on effects on diets and livelihoods.
- Factors influencing the adoption of agroforestry by smallholder farmer households in Tanzania: Case studies from Morogoro and Dodoma. Mainly access to seeds and land. No word on effects on diets and livelihoods.
- Seed production areas are crucial to conservation outcomes: benefits and risks of an emerging restoration tool. Somebody mention seeds?
- Trees and their seed networks: The social dynamics of urban fruit trees and implications for genetic diversity. Maybe just source your seeds from cities?
- Maximum levels of global phylogenetic diversity efficiently capture plant services for humankind. Species chosen from diverse lineages are more diversely useful than species chosen at random. Now to make sure seeds are available.
- Aquatic biodiversity enhances multiple nutritional benefits to humans. Basically the above, but with fish.
- Improving Nutritional and Functional Quality by Genome Editing of Crops: Status and Perspectives. Or, we could just genetically edit some random species, fish or otherwise.
- Exploring, harnessing and conserving marine genetic resources towards a sustainable seaweed aquaculture. Maybe even seaweeds?
- Picturing the future of food. I wonder if the high-throughput phenotyping described here will work on seaweeds.
- New cassava germplasm for food and nutritional security in Central Africa. 16x greater fresh root yield than the local landrace check wouldn’t need fancy phenotyping to pick up.
- Reliable genomic strategies for species classification of plant genetic resources. This high throughput genotyping and data analysis approach certainly seems to work in picking up misidentified crop wild relatives in genebank collections. No word on seaweeds yet though.
- Grasspea, a critical recruit among neglected and underutilized legumes, for tapping genomic resources. Including its wild relatives, of course.
- An integrative skeletal and paleogenomic analysis of prehistoric stature variation suggests relatively reduced health for early European farmers. Who’d be a farmer, though, eh? But then they didn’t get payments for ecosystem services, nor gene-edited seaweeds.
- Yay Big Agriculture!
- Don’t listen to them: yay agroecology!
- Come down everyone, DW with the balanced view on open seeds.
- Meanwhile, there’s a project to document all the garlic varieties grown in Canada.
- And the Community Seed Network is hard at work.
- All those seeds are going to have to be kept alive: this is how the CGIAR genebanks do it.
- Morocco thinks about legalizing kif.
- Need help phenotyping your kif, Morocco?
- Soon there will be lots of sequence information on that kif, and then you’ll need a way to regulate access, and this study for the European Commission might help.
- Ok you’ll need a palate cleanser after that, I suspect: Roman gardens, perhaps?
- Collecting and regenerating populations of the Allium ampeloprasum complex from Greece. There’s some good news, and some bad news.
- Genomic prediction models trained with historical records enable populating the German ex situ genebank bio-digital resource center of barley (Hordeum sp.) with information on resistances to soilborne barley mosaic viruses. Good news if you want to get usable data on genebank accession from old experiments.
- Using Genome-Wide Predictions to Assess the Phenotypic Variation of a Barley (Hordeum sp.) Gene Bank Collection for Important Agronomic Traits and Passport Information. Good news if you thought the above was good news.
- Reproductive compatibility in Capsicum is not necessarily reflected in genetic or phenotypic similarity between species complexes. Bad news for the genepool concept.
- Trends in Varietal Diversity of Main Staple Crops in Asia and Africa and Implications for Sustainable Food Systems. Bad news, especially for Asia, if you like to see diversity on farm.
- Broadening the genetic base of cultivated chickpea following introgression of wild Cicer species-progress, constraints and prospects. Good news if you like to see diversity in chickpea breeding.
- DeepCob: Precise and high-throughput analysis of maize cob geometry using deep learning with an application in genebank phenomics. Great news if you’ve got a whole bunch of maize cobs to measure.
- Demonstration of local adaptation of maize landraces by reciprocal transplantation. Good news if you think landraces are locally adapted.
- Exaptation Traits for Megafaunal Mutualisms as a Factor in Plant Domestication. Good news if you want to learn a new word. Fascinating stuff, all kidding apart.
- Morphological and reproductive characterization of nascent allotetraploids cross-compatible with cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.). Good news if you like the idea of re-running domestication and there’s no suitable megafauna available.
- Parallel and Intertwining Threads of Domestication in Allopolyploid Cotton. Good news if you’re interested in the domestication, spread, and introgression of the 2 New World cottons.
- Can public universities play a role in fostering seed sovereignty? The good news is the answer is yes.
- Ecosystem integrity is neither real nor valuable. The good news is this may be a straw man. Interesting argument, though.
- Prospects and limitations of genomic offset in conservation management. Good news if you abandon the concept of ecosystem integrity.
- Higher yields and more biodiversity on smaller farms. Good news if you still think small is beautiful.
- Do small food businesses enable small farms to connect to regional food systems? Evidence from 9 European regions. More good news for small farms.
- Global Legal Constraints: How the International System Fails Small-Scale Farmers and Agricultural Biodiversity, Harming Human and Planetary Health, and What to Do About It. Bad news for the agri-food-industrial complex, come the revolution.