Feeling even better about crop wild relatives

The publication of “Legacy genetics of Arachis cardenasii in the peanut crop shows the profound benefits of international seed exchange” in PNAS rang a faint bell:

Here, we uncover the contribution of one wild species accession, Arachis cardenasii GKP 10017, to the peanut crop (Arachis hypogaea) that was initiated by complex hybridizations in the 1960s and propagated by international seed exchange.

And yes, it turns out we had blogged about this wild peanut species more than a decade ago, in Another feel-good crop wild relative story.

Some things have changed since 2008, I’m happy to say. I seem to have had some difficulty pulling together data1 at the time, whereas Genesys had no trouble at all showing me 45 accessions. And GKP 10017 even has a DOI now.

  1. And the links are now dead. []

Fruit portraits

Masumi Shiohara was born in Nagano Prefecture in 1974. He worked as a development engineer at a microfabrication manufacturer. After leaving the company, he took over his family’s orchard from his parents, and is now running the farm. He is also involved in breeding and has developed a number of varieties.

He also takes amazing photos to record the characteristics of the different varieties he grows.

When filing a plant patent application, we keep records to identify each of the varieties and to compare those with other similar varieties. A collection of these records is called a characteristic table. As a fruit farmer and breeder, I continue to use photographic techniques to illustrate all of the important items in the trait table in a single piece of work. My photographs become a form of botanical art.

Art indeed. For a more mundane approach to varietal identification, however, check out these resources on Orchard Notes.

Brainfood: Mapping double, Niche modelling, CGIAR impacts, Pathogen genebank, Data stewardship, Breeding tradeoffs, Organic vs conventional, Agronomic trials, Teff evaluation, Eggplant genetic resources, Quinoa phenotyping

Featured comment: Using genebanks

Important reminder from Maarten van Ginkel as part of a comment on yesterday’s post about the Australian genebanking publication.

We need strong awareness raising and encouragement to see gene banks not just as final resting places for historic exotic germplasm, but also as portals for highly needed useful genetic diversity for future introgression into modern crops.

Maarten was closely involved in both CIMMYT’s Wheat Genebank and the Australian Grains Genebank.

How to genebank, and why

The third edition of “Strategies and guidelines for developing, managing and utilising ex situ collections” from the Australian Network for Plant Conservation is out and it’s nothing short of monumental. Here’s the contents.

Chapter 1: Introduction.
Chapter 2: Options, major considerations and preparation for plant germplasm conservation.
Chapter 3: Genetic guidelines for acquiring and maintaining collections for ex situ conservation.
Chapter 4: Seed and vegetative material collection.
Chapter 5: Seed banking: orthodox seeds.
Chapter 6: Identifying and conserving non-orthodox seeds.
Chapter 7: Seed germination and dormancy.
Chapter 8: The role of the plant nursery in ex situ conservation.
Chapter 9: Tissue culture.
Chapter 10: Cryopreservation.
Chapter 11: Living plant collections.
Chapter 12: Isolation, propagation and storage of orchid mycorrhiza and legume rhizobia.
Chapter 13: Special collections and under-represented taxa in Australasian ex situ conservation programs.
Chapter 14: Risk management and preparing for crises.
Chapter 15: Maintenance, utilisation and information storage.

There are also 50 case studies, focusing on Australian examples, including this on sorghum wild relatives.

And, given the news about the threats to crop wild relatives and trees, it’s all just as well.