- Viewpoint: COVID-19 and seed security response now and beyond. Think before you spread seeds around.
- Integrated crop-livestock system with system fertilization approach improves food production and resource-use efficiency in agricultural lands. Integrating livestock in soybean production is good for the amount of energy produced per unit of nutrient applied, if that’s what floats your boat.
- Holistic agricultural diversity index as a measure of agricultural diversity: A cross-sectional study of smallholder farmers in Lilongwe district of Malawi. An interesting way of measuring overall farm diversity. But is there a link with dietary diversity?
- Dietary diversity scores, nutrient intakes and biomarkers vitamin B12, folate and Hb in rural youth from the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study. Dietary diversity is linked to better micronutrient status. But is there a link with genetic diversity?
- Evaluating surrogates of genetic diversity for conservation planning. There’s nothing quite as good as neutral markers, alas.
- Phenotypic diversity assessment within a major ex situ collection of wild endemic coffees in Madagascar. Never mind the species or genetic diversity, look at the trait variability.
- Understanding cassava varietal preferences through pairwise ranking of gari‐eba and fufu prepared by local farmer–processors. Landraces are sometimes better than improved varieties.
- Do the importations of crop products affect the genetic diversity from landraces? A study case in garlic (Allium sativum L.). Apparently not, surprisingly enough.
- Overcoming barriers to the registration of new varieties. DUS needs genomics. But what about registering landraces? Do we need a completely separate system for that?
- Legal geographies of kava, kastom and indigenous knowledge: Next steps under the Nagoya Protocol. One approach implementing Nagoya at the community level. But is it scalable?
- New evidence on the earliest domesticated animals and possible small-scale husbandry in Atlantic NW Europe. There was a long period of contact between local hunter-gatherers and incoming farmers, resulting in a transitional farmer-herder stage.
- Does it matter who advises farmers? Pest management choices with public and private extension. Yes, at least in Switzerland. Public = prevention, private = cure. Well colour me surprised.
- Ethiopia’s transforming wheat landscape: tracking variety use through DNA fingerprinting. Only 28% of farmers correctly named their wheat varieties, many of which were from CGIAR breeding programmes.
- Analysis of the Similarity between in Silico Ideotypes and Phenotypic Profiles to Support Cultivar Recommendation—A Case Study on Phaseolus vulgaris L. Italian farmers not great at keeping track of new varieties either, but who needs names when you have fancy maths?
- Morphological, Sensorial and Chemical Characterization of Chilli Peppers (Capsicum spp.) from the CATIE Genebank. From 192 accessions to this little beauty from Panama.
- Two divergent chloroplast genome sequence clades captured in the domesticated rice gene pool may have significance for rice production. Rice is from Mars, rice is from two Venuses.
- Identification of Mung Bean in a Smallholder Farming Setting of Coastal South Asia Using Manned Aircraft Photography and Sentinel-2 Images. From 10-m imagery for pity’s sake! Amazing stuff. Soon we’ll be able to distinguish landraces from modern varieties, right? Right?
- Linking biodiversity into national economic accounting. Yikes, biodiversity makes no contribution to agricultural development at all?
- High sink strength prevents photosynthetic down-regulation in cassava grown at elevated CO2 concentration. Could result in higher yields, but effect will vary among varieties.
- Discovery of beneficial haplotypes for complex traits in maize landraces. Landrace diversity for early plant development, robustness and growth form that could be useful in Europe made accessible.
- Understanding the classics: the unifying concepts of transgressive segregation, inbreeding depression and heterosis and their central relevance for crop breeding. It’s the dispersion of favorable alleles between parents.
- Challenges and Prospects for the Conservation of Crop Genetic Resources in Field Genebanks, in In Vitro Collections and/or in Liquid Nitrogen. Everything that can be in cryo should be in cryo, and some things that currently can’t too.
- Nice video on Future Climate for Africa.
- Indian forest communities diversify with lemongrass to help out with their climate change resilience.
- Have they tried millets, though? According to Millet Finder, millet products are taking over the world, so marketing should be no problem.
- If they don’t have seeds, they can get them from genebanks, via Germplasm Health Units, of course. The impact pathways of genebanks goes through GHUs.
- The Russet Burbank sure has had a big impact.
- There’s a series of interactive workshops to gather feedback on how to measure the Global Burden of Crop Loss. I want an initiative on the Global Burden of Crop Diversity Loss though.
- Soil data makes its way to Google Maps.
- CONABIO has some really excellent agrobiodiversity posters and other resources. Calabazas and amaranth are just the start, so dig away on these orphan crops and others.
- Speaking of digging, ancient people got high. Well there’s a shocker.
- Speaking of shockers: huge literature review says researchers should get to grips with smallholders.
More than 4,000 species of plants and fungi were discovered in 2019. These included six species of Allium in Europe and China, the same group as onions and garlic, 10 relatives of spinach in California and two wild relatives of cassava, which could help future-proof the staple crop eaten by 800 million people against the climate crisis.
That’s from The Guardian’s article on the release of Kew’s latest State of the World’s Plants and Fungi. Nice to see a shout-out for crop wild relatives, and indeed orphan crops. But it’s not all sweetness and light, of course.
Two in five of the world’s plant species are at risk of extinction as a result of the destruction of the natural world…
This year the report comes with a full volume of scientific publications in the journal Plant, People, Planet. That includes International collaboration between collections‐based institutes for halting biodiversity loss and unlocking the useful properties of plants and fungi, which has case studies on the CWR Project and Genesys.
International collaboration across biodiversity projects offers numerous benefits. Through the eight case studies presented we have identified the five key benefits to collaboration: (a) synergy; (b) greater efficiency; (c) sharing resources; (d) greater impact and leverage; and (e) transfer of knowledge and technologies. We remain mindful that successful collaborations are environments where trust and professional respect within and between partners flourish.