- Toward improving photosynthesis in cassava: Characterizing photosynthetic limitations in four current African cultivars. The landraces are better at photosynthesis than the improved cultivars. Maybe because the aim of producing the latter was pest and disease resistance rather than yield.
- Ecogeography of teosinte. Only 11% in protected areas.
- A map of climate change-driven natural selection in Arabidopsis thaliana. Summer is coming.
- Urban backyards as a new model of pineapple germplasm conservation. Two thirds of citizen scientists did a really good job.
- Identification of unknown apple (Malus × domestica) cultivars demonstrates the impact of local breeding program on cultivar diversity. 330 unknown highly diverse trees in northern Minnesota, 264 unique genotypes, 76 matched to 20 named cultivars from local breeding program at the University of Minnesota, or imported Russian cultivars.
- Development of national crop wild relative conservation strategies in European countries. 30 countries: 13 in preparation stage, 14 with drafts, and 3 not yet started.
- Current knowledge and breeding perspectives for the spider plant (Cleome gynandra L.): a potential for enhanced breeding of the plant in Africa. I actually like the bitterness of the leaves.
- Condiments before Claudius: new plant foods at the Late Iron Age oppidum at Silchester, UK. Benefits of a customs union, I guess.
- Adaptation of S. cerevisiae to Fermented Food Environments Reveals Remarkable Genome Plasticity and the Footprints of Domestication. Genetics linked to lifestyle differences.
- Plant spectral diversity integrates functional and phylogenetic components of biodiversity and predicts ecosystem function. About 50% of variation in productivity in the Cedar Creek biodiversity experiment explained by spectral diversity.
- Medieval monastery gardens deconstructed.
- Burbank’s plums decoded.
- The wild tomatoes of the Galapagos evaluated.
- Germplasm exchange expedited.
- Public sector plant breeding advocated.
- Farmer-saved seeds saved?
- Svalbard Global Seed Vault celebrated.
- Local flour milled.
- Potato chips (crisps) invented.
- Indigenous trees taken seriously. Very seriously.
- Role of genomics in promoting the utilization of plant genetic resources in genebanks. Genebanks don’t need to do genomics themselves to benefit from genomics.
- Improving the Yield and Nutritional Quality of Forage Crops. Case in point.
- Genomic variation in 3,010 diverse accessions of Asian cultivated rice. Case in point. Multiple independent domestications. Tomorrow, the world.
- Sweet potato dispersal or human transport? Maybe no evidence one way or another after all. Rebuttal of: Reconciling Conflicting Phylogenies in the Origin of Sweet Potato and Dispersal to Polynesia. And the counter to the rebuttal. This genomics stuff not so easy after all.
- Review: Meta-analysis of the association between production diversity, diets, and nutrition in smallholder farm households. It’s not always there. But that would have been a high bar.
- Agricultural diversification as an important strategy for achieving food security in Africa. Case in point. More diverse households and farming systems are more food secure, but only up to a point, and it depends on various factors. 43% of African cropland will be difficult to diversify.
- Using herbaria to study global environmental change. Have been used to monitor the effects of climate change, habitat change, pollution and invasives on plants.
- Green Digitization: Online Botanical Collections Data Answering Real‐World Questions. Gotta get the stuff digitized first though.
- The ‘PhenoBox’, a flexible, automated, open‐source plant phenotyping solution. Somebody mention digitizing?
- Dissecting the null model for biological invasions: A meta-analysis of the propagule pressure effect. The success of aliens is down to their numbers. Wonder if it works for pest and disease organisms too.
- Are systematic reviews and meta-analyses still useful research? We are not sure. All righty then. Scrap the above.
- Shattering or not shattering: that is the question in domestication of rice (Oryza sativa L.). From one of the authors, Debarati Chakraborty: Loss of shattering through sh4 is not a crucial step for rice domestication. Genetics, cultural anthropology and archaeology suggests that primitive agrarians were dependent on wild or semi-domesticated shattering rice.
- Rooting for food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa probably hasn’t the rootable soil depth for monster maize yields.
The time is right to make the transition from a staple grain processed agricultural system to an agricultural system that promotes diversity, nutrition, increased wealth, growth in incomes, through diversity and increase in high-value crops.
Nice to hear that, from Prabhu Pingali no less, director of the Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition at Cornell University, as part of an IFPRI special policy seminar: Tales of yield improvement and farewell to Mark Rosegrant.
Especially as a recent meta-analysis of the association between production diversity, dietary diversity and nutritional outcomes found an inconsistent picture:
but not surprising. "V effective in most situations" is high bar. Quite effective in some is more likely. Just have to find right situations
— Lawrence Haddad (@l_haddad) April 26, 2018
An example is the CCAFS study in Africa, which found that more diverse households and farming systems are more food secure, but only up to a point, and the association depends on a number of other, interacting factors.
As Lawrence Haddad so wisely says in his tweet above, you have to find the right situation. That may be complicated, but still worth doing.