Brainfood: Emmer & drought, European legumes, Sainfoin, Alpine nomads, American domestication, Cereal domestication, Tree plantations, Garlic breeding, African veggies, African staple breeding, Sugarcane genome

Who feeds Africa?

I thought I’d share the summary poster from that GRAIN paper on African farmers’ seed systems that I just Nibbled.

I may blog in more detail about this, but for now let me just say that even if you fully agree with all this it’s still possible to see a role for “formal sector” genebanks, as back-ups and facilitators of (especially long-distance) germplasm exchange. Why doesn’t the paper recognize this? Even if farmers’ seed systems do feed Africa, do they necessarily have to do it on their own?

Counting your chickens

A new version is out of the FAO global livestock density datasets, which we have blogged about before. This is the third iteration (GLW3), and it has a reference year of 2010. There’s a paper to give you all the details.1

But there’s more to come:

Future versions of GLW will differentiate stocks according to production systems for ruminant (meat vs. dairy) and monogastric species (intensive vs. extensive, meat vs. egg production). Higher resolution models2 for individual countries where the census data can support such predictions will also be produced.

The datasets are also available for download from Harvard Dataverse.

  1. Gilbert. M. et al. Global distribution data for cattle, buffaloes, horses, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens and ducks in 2010. Sci. Data. 5:180227 doi: 10.1038/sdata.2018.227 (2018). []
  2. The current global dataset has a resolution of 0.083333 decimal degrees, or 10 km at the equator. []

US strawberries set to invade UK

It looks like UC Davis is making a move after declaring victory in the Strawberry Wars.

The University of California has entered into a master agreement with Global Plant Genetics, Ltd., based in Norfolk, England, for the sublicensing of new strawberry varieties in selected countries within Europe, the Mediterranean and South America. The agreement governs the commercialization of new varieties from the UC Davis Public Strawberry Breeding Program located at the University of California, Davis.

I wonder how the other side is doing.