- The Corylus mandshurica genome provides insights into the evolution of Betulaceae genomes and hazelnut breeding. Yeah, but can it make Nutella better?
- Widely assumed phenotypic associations in Cannabis sativa lack a shared genetic basis. More work needed. Much more work.
- Dissecting industrial fermentations of fine flavour cocoa through metagenomic analysis. There’s a core of microorganisms in common even in very distant farms. Though I suspect the fun will be in the others.
- Widespread lateral gene transfer among grasses. Especially in rhizomatous species. That should relieve the anxiety about genetic modification, right? Right.
- An agroecological vision of perennial agriculture. Wait, what about those rhizomatous perennial grasses, though?
- Comparison of benchtop and handheld near‐infrared spectroscopy devices to determine forage nutritive value. The handheld devices are just fine. How long before Alice asks Chris for some for the ILRI genebank? To test on rhizomatous grasses, of course.
- Historical Indigenous Land-Use Explains Plant Functional Trait Diversity. Forest gardens in the Pacific NW still have more diversity 150 years after their indigenous managers were forced off them.
- The minimum land area requiring conservation attention to safeguard biodiversity. 44% of terrestrial area, home to 1.8 billion people. Presumably including a lot of indigenous managers.
- People have shaped most of terrestrial nature for at least 12,000 years. 75% of terrestrial area, in fact.
- Protection of honeybees and other pollinators: one global study. Focus on habitat loss and pesticides. And more monitoring.
- A sexual division of labour at the start of agriculture? A multi-proxy comparison through grave good stone tool technological and use-wear analysis. Guess which gender was buried with tools associated with interpersonal violence.
- Origins of house mice in ecological niches created by settled hunter-gatherers in the Levant 15,000 y ago. Well, hence the name, right?
- Commentary: Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future. Don’t warn. Resist.
- Whole-genome resequencing of 445 Lactuca accessions reveals the domestication history of cultivated lettuce. Originally domesticated in the Caucasus, for oil, and then a long, slow wander westward. But so much more to it…
- Variability and trait‐specific accessions for grain yield and nutritional traits in germplasm of little millet (Panicum sumatrense Roth. Ex. Roem. & Schult.). From 200 accessions to 5 both high yielding and rich in Ca.
- Genomic and phenotypic characterization of finger millet indicates a complex diversification history. Wait, East Africa is the least genetically diverse area?
- Portrait of a genus: the genetic diversity of Zea. There has been convergent adaptation in high altitude teosinte and high latitude (temperate) maize.
- Genetic diversity of African wild rice (Oryza longistaminata Chev. et Roehr) at the edge of its distribution. The Ethiopian material is special.
- Candidate genes and signatures of directional selection on fruit quality traits during apple domestication. Fruit colour and taste genes lose diversity during domestication.
- The Evolutionary History of Wild, Domesticated, and Feral Brassica oleracea (Brassicaceae). B. cretica is the closest wild relative.
- Brassica rapa domestication: untangling wild and feral forms and convergence of crop morphotypes. The truly wild stuff comes from the Caucasus, Siberia and … Italy.
- ‘Neodomesticates’ of the Himalayan allium spices (Allium species) in Uttarakhand, India and studies on eco-geography and morphology. Gotta know your onions.
- Multiple independent recombinations led to hermaphroditism in grapevine. The switch from dioecious to hermaphroditic flowers happened two times, but before domestication.
- Revitalization of the Greek Vitis database: a multimedia web-backed genetic database for germplasm management of Vitis resources in Greece. Welcome back!
- Participatory Plant Breeding and the Evolution of Landraces: A Case Study in the Organic Farms of the Collserola Natural Park. From 80 plants of the Mando tomato landrace to over 2000.
- Evidence for early dispersal of domestic sheep into Central Asia. Sheep were being kept in the Ferghana Valley 3000 years earlier than thought.
- A metric for spatially explicit contributions to science-based species targets. Sustainable crop production and forestry in Indonesia, Colombia, Mexico, Madagascar and Brazil would make a hell of a difference.
- Conserving intraspecific variation for nature’s contributions to people. Oh good, I’m glad somebody thought of this.
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.