- Genome-Wide Association Mapping of Seedling Net Form Net Blotch Resistance in an Ethiopian and Eritrean Barley Collection. 8 new QTLs, just like that.
- Vegetable Genetic Resources in China. 36,000 accessions. Just like that.
- Building a botanical foundation for perennial agriculture: Global inventory of wild, perennial herbaceous Fabaceae species. Check out the Perennial Agriculture Project Global Inventory.
- Ecosystem services and nature’s contribution to people: negotiating diverse values and trade-offs in land systems. Biological diversity has a diversity of values. Duh.
- Development of a drought stress-resistant rice restorer line through Oryza sativa–rufipogon hybridization. From F6 via BC5F5 to BIL627.
- Eggplants and Relatives: From Exploring Their Diversity and Phylogenetic Relationships to Conservation Challenges. The taxonomy is “arduous and unstable.”
- Morphometric and colourimetric tools to dissect morphological diversity: an application in sweet potato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.]. Beyond colour charts. Way beyond.
- Chemotaxonomy of domesticated grasses: a pathway to understanding the origins of agriculture. Fancy maths can identify pollen grains.
- Origin of the Aromatic Group of Cultivated Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Traced to the Indian Subcontinent. Arose when japonica hybridized with local wild populations.
- Orange-fleshed cucumber (Cucumis sativus var. sativus L.) germplasm from North-East India: agro-morphological, biochemical and evolutionary studies. Possible niche market?
- Progress in genetic improvement of citron watermelon (Citrullus lanatus var. citroides): a review. These are all orange-fleshed.
- Review: Domestic herbivores and food security: current contribution, trends and challenges for a sustainable development. Can’t live without them, but gotta do something about that enteric fermentation.
- Evaluation of Malus genetic resources for tolerance to apple replant disease (ARD). It’s the wilds, of course.
- Variation in seed longevity among diverse Indica rice varieties. 8 major loci associated with seed longevity.
- Seeds and the Art of Genome Maintenance. Viability is about the DNA repair response. Snap.
- Are Mayan community forest reserves effective in fulfilling people’s needs and preserving tree species? Sure they are.
- The power of argument. People don’t respond to utilitarian arguments when it comes to biodiversity. In the Netherlands.
- Do modern hunter-gatherers live in marginal habitats? Nope. What can I tell ya?
- New evidence on concentration in seed markets. Not as bad as some people think.
- Climate change has likely already affected global food production. From 2003 to 2008, there’s been a ~1% average reduction in consumable food calories in barley, cassava, maize, oil palm, rapeseed, rice, sorghum, soybean, sugarcane and wheat.
- Selection of Heat Tolerant Lablab. 6 out of 44 accessions from the WorldVeg genebank are heat tolerant. Seems a lot.
- Counting the beans: quantifying the adoption of improved mungbean varieties in South Asia and Myanmar. 1.2 million farmers reached by WorldVeg varieties. Lablab next?
- Climate smart agricultural practices and gender differentiated nutrition outcome: An empirical evidence from Ethiopia. They work, but they’re better in combination.
- Pests and diseases of trees in Africa: A growing continental emergency. Into Africa…
- Genetics of adaptation in modern chicken. Not much of a domestication bottleneck; that came later.
- Multi-Trait Diverse Germplasm Sources from Mini Core Collection for Sorghum Improvement. From 40,000 in the genebank, to 242 in the mini-core, to 6 really cool ones (from Yemen, USA, China, Mozambique, and India x2 if you must know).
- Palaeogenomic insights into the origins of French grapevine diversity. Ancient DNA from 28 pips dating back to the Iron Age provides pretty good matches to grapes grown today.
- Global dataset shows geography and life form predict modern plant extinction and rediscovery. Almost 600 plants went extinct in modern times, at least, and I count about 20 crop wild relatives among them.
- Developing naturally stress-resistant crops for a sustainable agriculture. Can’t help thinking there will be a trade-off.
- Quinoa Abiotic Stress Responses: A Review. Case in point?
- A physical and genetic map of Cannabis sativa identifies extensive rearrangement at the 2 THC/CBD acid synthase locus. At last, the prospect of better weed.
- In vitro anthelmintic effect of Vicia pannonica var. purpurascens on trichostrongylosis in sheep. From Turkish folk medicine to the big time?
- Should plant breeders be denied of genetic resources from protected areas? Not if you put it that way. Maybe they should be valued? There’s a way to do that…
- Estimating in situ conservation costs of Zambian crop wild relatives under alternative conservation goals. Put it out to tender.
- The genetic diversity of local african chickens: A potential for selection of chickens resistant to viral infections. No word on their monetary value, though.
- Agro-morphological diversity of Nepalese naked barley landraces. Lots of diversity, little used as yet by breeders.
- Generating Farm-Validated Variety Recommendations for Climate Adaptation. One word: tricot.
- Reference genome sequences of two cultivated allotetraploid cottons, Gossypium hirsutum and Gossypium barbadense. 13 QTLs for better fibre quality.
- Ancient Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) Varieties of Tuscany Have High Contents of Bioactive Compounds. Better than commercial varieties, apparently.
- Biodiversity and yield under different land-use types in orchard/vineyard landscapes: A meta-analysis. Land sharing works.
- Small Ruminants as a Source of Financial Security Among Women in Rural Southwest Nigeria. Better with education, extension and cooperation.
- Analysis of genetic diversity and structure in a worldwide walnut (Juglans regia L.) germplasm using SSR markers. W Europe/N America vs E Europe/Asia.
- David Bond and Jean Picard: Two pivotal breeders of faba bean in the 20th century. Bond and Picard?
- Status and factors influencing on-farm conservation of Kam Sweet Rice (Oryza sativa L.) genetic resources in southeast Guizhou Province, China. In the end of women and the old.
- Whole-genome landscape of Medicago truncatula symbiotic genes. There’s always something else.
- Genebank genomics highlights the diversity of a global barley collection. IPK’s, that is, and that’s 22,000 strong. Let the GWAS begin. Including for whisky-related traits, of course.
- A polyploid admixed origin of beer yeasts derived from European and Asian wine populations. And beer-related.
- Genetic diversity and population structure of a mini-core subset from the world cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) germplasm collection. There are three broadly geographic clusters, and the mini-core is representative of overall diversity, in Africa at least.
- Identification of candidate domestication‐related genes with a systematic survey of loss‐of‐function mutations. Fancy methods lead to doubling of possible domestication genes in soybean to 110.
- Social Valuation of Genebank Activities: Assessing Public Demand for Genetic Resource Conservation in the Czech Republic. Willingness to pay is $9 per sample. But this is unpacked in a guest post by Nik.
- Gene bank scheduling of seed regeneration: Interim report on a long term storage study. Maybe someone can tell me what’s new here?
- Functional phenomics: An emerging field integrating high-throughput phenotyping, physiology, and bioinformatics. Again, what exactly is new here, apart from the word pheme?
- Xanthomonas Wilt of Banana (BXW) in Central Africa: Opportunities, challenges, and pathways for citizen science and ICT-based control and prevention strategies. Technology is not enough.
- Beyond individuals: Toward a “distributed” approach to farmer decision‐making behavior. And even if it were enough, adoption is a whole ‘nother thing…
- Dietary Diversity: Implications for Obesity Prevention in Adult Populations: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association. As currently defined, dietary diversity does not necessarily mean healthy eating.
- Modern Wheat Varieties as a Driver of the Degradation of Spanish Rainfed Mediterranean Agroecosystems throughout the 20th Century. Under traditional organic management, older varieties have similar yields to modern varieties, plus more biomass both above and below ground, making for better soils.
- Peculiarly pleasant weather for US maize. Adaptation to warmer climates accounts for 28% of yield increases since 1981. It won’t last, see below.
- Increase in crop losses to insect pests in a warming climate. Losses to insects will increase by 10 to 25% per degree Celsius of warming for wheat, rice, and maize.
- Metabolite variation in the lettuce gene pool: towards healthier crop varieties and food. Tasty lettuce is possible.
- Genome sequences of two diploid wild relatives of cultivated sweetpotato reveal targets for genetic improvement. Carotenoid biosynthesis alleles identified.
- Climate change stimulated agricultural innovation and exchange across Asia. Climate models suggest that about 3,500 years ago Central Asia and Tibet cooled, and 2,000 years ago China followed suit, in both cases leading to shifts in crops.
- Intensification for redesigned and sustainable agricultural systems. Depends on building social capital first.
Our friend Nik Tyack explains his paper Social Valuation of Genebank Activities: Assessing Public Demand for Genetic Resource Conservation in the Czech Republic. I think we included it in Brainfood recently, with the usual pithy summary, but it’s always nice to get it at greater length, and from the horse’s mouth to boot. Thanks, Nik.
Most attempts to put a value on genebank activities and the conservation of crop diversity have focused on specific uses of conserved materials. For example, Brennan and Malabayabas (2011) calculate that varietal improvement efforts using (among others) genetic resources from the genebank of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) yielded a high internal rate of return of 28%. Economists have also examined farmer preferences for the conservation of genetic diversity, like Poudel et al. (2009), who find that Nepalese rice farmers were willing to pay about $2 per year for ex situ conservation and $4 per year for in situ conservation of rice varieties. However, the total economic value of a properly conserved collection of crop diversity is not restricted to direct observed use or farmer preferences for conservation, but also includes a broader set of social values provided to the public, including option value, bequest value, insurance value, and existence value.
In this recent analysis, we take the case of the Czech Republic and use stated preference methods to generate an estimate of the social value of Czech crop diversity – focusing on elicited public preferences for crop diversity conservation at the national level. Using a properly managed online panel, we surveyed a nationally representative sample (n=1037) of Czechs (as well as a smaller sub-sample of 500 respondents from the agricultural region of South Moravia) to determine how much they would be willing to pay (WTP) to conserve a given number of crop varieties over the next ten years (using a double-bounded dichotomous choice model).
We find that Czechs, on average, were willing to pay about $9 (223 Czech crowns) for a crop diversity conservation program in general, regardless of the number of varieties conserved. This WTP estimate was about 12% larger for the average number of varieties offered in the valuation experiment (18), and about 24% more for the maximum number of varieties (35).
Aggregated across the Czech population (aged 18-69), we find that Czechs were willing to pay in total about $70 million for crop diversity conservation – 4.6 times more than the total conservation costs for the entire Czech agrobiodiversity conservation programme. Based on these results, we argue that the Czech Republic could safely expand their crop diversity conservation efforts given the public demand for these activities. As shown in the table below, our estimates of aggregate nation-wide WTP were consistently more than twice the conservation costs regardless of the model used.
The basic idea of the paper is that public decision-making about how much to spend on crop diversity conservation should include a consideration of how much the public cares about conservation, and in addition should acknowledge that a national collection of crop diversity does not just ensure the availability of material for plant breeders, but also provides a whole set of other values such as those provided by a national park system or public museums. For example, just as an individual may be willing to pay something to ensure that their children and grandchildren will have an opportunity to visit Yosemite, they may also be willing to pay something so that their descendants will have the chance to eat a favorite fruit variety.
The estimates we provide represent an approximation of this social value of crop diversity conservation for the case of the Czech Republic. The study illustrates an empirical approach of potential value for policymakers responsible for determining funding levels for genetic resource conservation, and similar empirical work may be used to potentially provide justification for increased spending on the conservation of crop diversity worldwide.