Illustrating the diversity of Indian mangoes

The Hindustan Times had a nice short piece recently on the diversity of mango in India.

Students of the participating schools recorded over 200 varieties of mangoes from about 60 locations in the Western Ghats. A study of these varieties has been done by CEE with IISER, Pune, to understand how distinct these popular varieties are at the genetic level.

Having large varietal diversity in a crop makes it possible to choose or develop varieties that can withstand climate change impacts. Different varieties are able to tolerate drought, high rainfall or extreme heat conditions, or pest attacks.

I just wish I could get hold of a high quality version of the poster used to illustrate the article.

Citizens map crops and their wild relatives

Our friend and occasional contributor Colin Khoury has made a “project” on iNaturalist focusing on the crop wild relatives found in the USA.

iNaturalist collates and manages citizen science observations of living things, with a machine learning algorithm helping with species identification. If the observation you document on your phone app gets verified by two other people, it’s rated as “Research Grade,” and included in GBIF.

Colin also had a go at pulling together observations on major food crops, though there’s no way of including only observations of cultivated material. This is a map of tepary beans (Phaseolus acutifolius), for example.

Cool, no? Join in! There’s only one observation of Bambara groundnut. Surely we can do something about that.

More online genebank training

…MSBP’s popular Seed Conservation Techniques (SCT) training course will be running from the 11th to the 22nd of October 2021. Following the Partnership’s agreed Seed Conservation Standards, the course provides trainees with the knowledge needed to collect, conserve and manage high quality ex situ collections of wild plant seeds. Topics covered will include: planning a seed collection programme, assessing and collecting techniques, post-harvest handling, measuring seed moisture content, seed processing and quality assessment, and seed germination and dormancy. After a successful first online version was piloted last year, we will again offer a fully online 2-week training course with content provided online as a mixture of live sessions, pre-recorded training modules and practical exercises.

More info on the Kew website.

Want to learn about genebanks (and much much more)?

Thanks to funding from a USDA-NIFA-Higher Education Challenge Grant Program, the good folks at Colorado State University are offering a new online course on Plant Genetic Resources- Genomes, Genebanks, and Growers. You will:

  1. Discover the origins of plant genetic resources
  2. Appreciate the role they play in global food systems
  3. Learn about plant domestication and diversification
  4. Understand their genetic properties and the forces that shape them
  5. Explore geographic patterns of plant diversity

It looks great. Find out more here. Starts in August. I’m kinda tempted to take it myself…

Yes we have banana catalogues

Great to hear that recent banana diversity collecting in my old stamping ground of the Pacific1 has resulted in three beautiful germplasm catalogues:

In due course, this material will end up in the Musa International Transit Centre and will be available for breeding, research and training under the SMTA of the Plant Treaty.

  1. And, yes, we have blogged about this sort of thing before. And, yes, I do need to stop using this cliche in banana posts. But not today. []