- Palaeogenomics of Upper Palaeolithic to Neolithic European hunter-gatherers. Farmers may have pushed hunter-gatherers to the northern edge of Europe while also in mixing with them.
- Identification and exploitation of wild rye (Secale spp.) during the early Neolithic in the Middle Euphrates valley. Those Europeans on the move — both farmers and hunter-gatherers — would have been familiar with wild rye, but that’s pretty much gone from the Fertile Crescent now.
- Caribbean Deep-Time Culinary Worlds Revealed by Ancient Food Starches: Beyond the Dominant Narratives. But enough about Europe. It wasn’t always all about cassava in the pre-colonial, and indeed colonial, Caribbean…
- Reuniting the Three Sisters: collaborative science with Native growers to improve soil and community health. …as there was also the maize/beans/squash system in that part of the world, and may well be again.
- Understanding Early Modern Beer: An Interdisciplinary Case-Study. Something else that could come back is early modern Irish beer, and I’d be there for that.
- Forgotten forest relics: Apple trees (Malus spp.) in eastern U.S. forests. Old abandoned orchards, and escapes therefrom, could have lots of interesting apple diversity. Early modern American cider, anyone?
- Building a feral future: Open questions in crop ferality. And it’s not just apples. It’s a whole movement in fact.
- Resynthesized Rapeseed (Brassica napus): Breeding and Genomics. Sure, we can rebuild it, we have the technology. But will it go feral on us again?
Nibbles: Food system transformation, Global food crisis, Rewilding, Genomics, Data management
- According to WWF, Solving the Great Food Puzzle involves, inter alia, nutritious indigenous crops, agrobiodiverse cropping systems, and traditional food cultures. Those are just 3 of 20 levers for food system transformation. Is it me or are levers and accelerators the current flavours of the month?
- Even the Gates Foundation agrees on that indigenous crop thing, kinda sorta, if you squint. In this piece, for example, Enock Chikava, Interim Director, Agricultural Development, waxes lyrical about teff.
- Meanwhile, in the middle of its tomato shortage, and not much interested in teff, the UK is betting on re-establishing prehistoric landscapes full of wild pigs and bison. Bold move.
- But who needs bison protein when you have the genome of the faba bean? Which after all is a nutritious indigenous crop, part of agrobiodiverse cropping systems, and a component of traditional food cultures.
- Ah, but you need to manage all that data on indigenous crops, and Clemson University is there to help. WWF take note.
What have micronutrients ever done for us?
Over on Twitter, Ty Beal of GAIN has a thread on micronutrients. It’s based on a recent lecture and it has useful data and nice slides. Here’s the money quote:
In lower income countries micronutrient deficiencies are due in part to people not having access to diverse diets. They want healthy, nutrient dense foods but can’t afford them or access them in markets.
Nibbles: Vavilov, Argentine genebank, Millennium Seed Bank, Indian millets, Community seedbank, Creative finance, Healthy diets, African agriculture
- The Living Library of Resilience is a great name for what Nikolai Vavilov put together, and this longish piece from Maria Popova at The Marginalian is a great tribute to a great man.
- Vavilov’s example is being followed in Argentina, it seems, with the establishment of another genebank, in Corrientes.
- The Millennium Seed Bank reaches an important milestone. Vavilov would be proud.
- Can’t help thinking Vavilov would also wholeheartedly approve of grassroots Indian efforts to bring back millets, as usefully summarized The Locavore. Could have said a bit more about genebanks, though.
- Even genebanks like that of farmers such as Manas Ranjan Sahu. You don’t have to run an institute like Vavilov to build a genebank.
- The Global Alliance for the Future of Food and Transformational Investing in Food Systems Initiative (TIFS) have a report out on Mobilizing Money and Movements: Creative Finance for Food Systems Transformation. No genebanks in there either, alas, but there could so easily have been.
- FAO says billions of people in the world cannot afford a healthy diet, and it has the data to prove it. Does that mean genebanks are not doing their job (eg on nutrient dense orphan crops)? Or doing it too well (eg on the major calorie-rich staples)?
- African worthies say that we need to ramp up investment in the adaptation of agriculture on the continent to climate change. I hope that will include investment in Living Libraries of Resilience that conserve all manner of interesting local crops and varieties. And creative finance for them of course.
Brainfood: Genomics for conservation and use edition
- How genomics can help biodiversity conservation. Let’s find out, but let’s broaden it to use as well, shall we? On the assumption that what’s good for conservation is good for use, and vice versa.
- Genetic and genomic interventions in crop biofortification: Examples in millets. Genomics can help you get more nutritious millets, and also use millets to improve the nutritive content of other cereals too.
- Genomics and biochemical analyses reveal a metabolon key to β-L-ODAP biosynthesis in Lathyrus sativus. Genomics can help you figure out ways to decrease the toxicity of grasspea.
- Extensive crop–wild hybridization during Brassica evolution and selection during the domestication and diversification of Brassica crops. Genomics can help you figure out the evolutionary history of crops…
- Molecular characterization of Brassica genebank germplasm confirms taxonomic identity and reveals low levels and source of taxonomic errors. …assuming you have you accessions labelled correctly that is.
- Dual domestications and origin of traits in grapevine evolution. Genomics can help you figure out the evolutionary history of crops. No, wait, we already had that one…
- Balancing grain yield trade-offs in ‘Miracle-Wheat’. Genomics can help you figure out the best phenotype in wheat.
- Focusing the GWAS Lens on days to flower using latent variable phenotypes derived from global multienvironment trials. Genomics can help you figure out the best phenotype in lentils too.
- Awned versus awnless wheat spikes: does it matter? Although actually you don’t necessarily need genomics to help you figure out the best phenotype in wheat. But let’s get back on track.
- SNP Diversity and Genetic Structure of “Rogosija”, an Old Western Balkan Durum Wheat Collection. That’s better. Genomics can help you figure out that a wheat collection can consist of distinct ecogeographic groupings.
- Repeatability of adaptation in sunflowers: genomic regions harbouring inversions also drive adaptation in species lacking an inversion. Genomics can help you figure out what’s behind local adaptation in crop wild relatives.
- Re-evaluating Homoploid Reticulate Evolution in Helianthus Sunflowers. Genomics can help you figure out the evolutionary history of crop wild relatives. Where have I heard that before?
- A thousand-genome panel retraces the global spread and adaptation of a major fungal crop pathogen. Genomics can help you figure out the evolutionary history of plant pathogens too. Here’s a Twitter thread from one of the authors with lots of maps to prove it.
- Honey bee populations of the USA display restrictions in their mtDNA haplotype diversity. Yeah, you guessed it, pollinators too.
- Mezcal worm in a bottle: DNA evidence suggests a single moth species. I rest my case.