Agricultural Biodiversity
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The Life Cycle of Wheat Stem Rust

The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative Presents: The Life Cycle of Wheat Stem Rust.
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Agricultural Biodiversity
Genetic and species diversity of crops, trees, livestock, fish, pollinators, microbes etc etc
Curated by Luigi Guarino
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Do you like pina colada?

Well, it could be in trouble… “It’s fair to say that at this pace, the Caribbean is running out of coconuts,” said Compton Paul, coordinator of a regional coconut program at the Trinidad-based Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute.
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Strategizing about forages

Strategizing about forages | Agricultural Biodiversity | Scoop.it
My latest over at the work blog is about forages, their genebanks, and my mother-in-law. Cows get a lot of bad press these days. They are blamed for climate change and deforestation and even unhealthy diets, as if it’s their
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Dissecting pearl millet diversity

Dissecting pearl millet diversity | Agricultural Biodiversity | Scoop.it
Our friends at ICRISAT have been busy describing their pearl millet collection, and their latest offering is a thorough analysis of the geographic distribution of morphological traits. That follows, among other things, a general review of the collection, and an
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A genebank in need

Our vault, where we store over 20,000 varieties of rare and heirloom seeds is critical to that mission. And the vault is failing. It has a crack in the floor, which could potentially lead to unstable temperatures and structural instability.
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The recent history of summer squashes

So you’re telling me that sixteenth century Italian gardeners selected long, thin squashes from among those brought back to Europe from the Americas (actually two different places in the Americas) in conscious imitation of the bottle gourds...
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Moral panic and produce

It’s hard to be a hipster these days. No sooner are you told that your quinoa habit is ruining the livelihoods of Bolivian farmers, that news comes along that your guacamole is contributing to deforestation in Mexico. Fortunately, data, and
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Finger on the pulse in Rio

My latest from the work blog: There seems to be a bit of an issue over at the Olympics with fast food marketing, but if athletes in Rio, or indeed spectators, want a simple, cheap meal that’s also healthy, and...
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Peruvian genebank to get bigger, but how much?

Peruvian genebank to get bigger, but how much? | Agricultural Biodiversity | Scoop.it
There’s much excitement over on my Facebook page about the announcement of a cash infusion for the Peruvian genebank. I’ll be here, holding my breath.
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Bananas everywhere

National Geographic have just published the first of a three-part series on the history of the banana.
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Science: Can Apulia's olive trees be saved? (2016)

Science: Can Apulia's olive trees be saved? (2016) | Agricultural Biodiversity | Scoop.it

On 21 October 2013, the Italian phytosanitary service notified the European Commission (EC) that the plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa had been detected in olive trees near Gallipoli, a tourist destination in Italy's southern region of Apulia (1). This xylem-limited bacterium is spread by insect vectors and causes disease in crops such as grapevines, citrus, coffee, and almond; various ornamentals; and trees such as oaks, elms, and sycamores. Because of the risks of X. fastidiosa being introduced, established, and spread throughout Europe, this species is a regulated quarantine pest. Yet, X. fastidiosa has been left unchecked and has marched northward, leaving destruction in its wake (see the photo) (2). The establishment of X. fastidiosa in Italy has been an agricultural, environmental, political, and cultural disaster.

 

The threat of X. fastidiosa to European and Mediterranean agriculture, forests, and ecosystems goes beyond specific crops such as grapevines or citrus. The current host range of this bacterium includes more than 300 plant species (3). Most of these species support some degree of pathogen multiplication without expressing symptoms. Susceptible hosts infected with X. fastidiosa often show disease symptoms only after months or years, although epidemics can spread fast and be devastating.

 

A phylogenetic study has shown that the genotype in Italy was likely introduced via contaminated plant material from Costa Rica (3). Several X. fastidiosa-infected coffee plants from Costa Rica have been intercepted at European ports since 2014, supporting this hypothesis (4). As a response, the EC in February 2014 approved European Union (EU) emergency measures aimed at preventing the introduction and spread of X. fastidiosa. Since May 2015, the import of coffee plants from Costa Rica and Honduras into the EU has been forbidden. Limiting the introduction of insect vectors is considered an easier task, but this is not possible for X. fastidiosa because any xylem-sap-sucking insect species can be a potential vector. Europe has few sharpshooter leafhopper species, the most important group of vectors in the Americas. However, various endemic spittlebug species (froghoppers) are also potential vectors of X. fastidiosa (3).

 

Trade is an important pathway in the introduction of plant pests and pathogens (5), and X. fastidiosa-infected plant material has likely been introduced via European ports on a regular basis. Given that biological and environmental conditions in Europe support X. fastidiosainfection, the question arises why the pathogen has not been reported previously. One possible explanation is that limited surveillance efforts missed previous introductions. Monitoring was one component of the EU emergency measures. After the French authorities started a systematic monitoring program for X. fastidiosa in 2014, they found 250 distinct infected areas in Corsica and several in the French Riviera. However, no disease epidemic has yet been noted in France, and the genotype of X. fastidiosa differs from that found in Italy.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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New blog on all things genebanks

Did I mention I also have a work blog, focusing on genebanky stuff? The latest post is about Pokémon Go. Yeah, I know, but trust me, it makes sense. Hopefully.
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The chronology of banana as a source of provitamin A carotenoids and its potential contribution to alleviation of vitamin A deficiency among vulnerable population groups. [Abstract]

The chronology of banana as a source of provitamin A carotenoids and its potential contribution to alleviation of vitamin A deficiency among vulnerable population groups. [Abstract] | Agricultural Biodiversity | Scoop.it
In: Biodiversity for improved nutrition and health: The critical role of food composition in decision making for agriculture and nutrition programming and policy. 11th IFDC Pre-Conference Workshop IV.
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Ancient agricultural DNA everywhere

Heady days for ancient DNA researchers. There have been two major papers in the past month looking at the DNA of Neolithic farmers. Back in June, a huge research consortium published “The genetic structure of the world’s first farmers” as
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Happy birthday, international agricultural research!

I may have missed a couple, but at least two international agricultural research centres have big birthday bashes this month: CIMMYT is 50 and CIP is 45. CIMMYT has marked the occasion with the release of a very comprehensive history
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Reports galore

It’s clearly the season for major reports. Hot on the heels of AGRA’s status report on African agriculture, and IFPRI’s look at agricultural reasearch in Africa, both of which we Nibbled recently, there’s an IDS-Oxfam study into the effects of
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The deep history of barley breeding

The deep history of barley breeding | Agricultural Biodiversity | Scoop.it
A recent paper reported on the discovery of a bit of the barley genome where an allele from the wild relative, when homozygous, confers a 30% yield advantage over a popular German variety under saline conditions.1 That of course is
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Home is where conservation begins

Home is where conservation begins | Agricultural Biodiversity | Scoop.it
Thanks to Jade Philips (see her on fieldwork below) and Åsmund Asdal, two of the authors, for contributing this post on their recent paper on the conservation of crop wild relatives in Norway.
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A warty problem

A warty problem | Agricultural Biodiversity | Scoop.it
By now, of course, you know the difference between a true zucchini and a cocozelle. In the course of researching that little gem, I came across one of the stranger byways in the annals of pumpkin science.
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Damaging dichotomies

To mark the IUCN World Conservation Congress, which starts tomorrow with a visit by President Obama, I have a post over at the work blog arguing (well, implying) that the biodiversity conservation community has got itself into a tangle dividing
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How to sample for diversity

How to sample for diversity | Agricultural Biodiversity | Scoop.it
Attentive readers may remember a two-part post from about a year ago from Dr Sean Hoban, on how to maximize genetic diversity in seed collections.
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IP for smallholder farmers

Thanks a lot to Susan Bragdon for summarizing her latest paper for us. The Quaker United Nations Office has released a paper by Chelsea Smith and myself looking at the relationship between intellectual property (IP) and small scale farmer innovation.
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Sailing to Byzantium

Futurefarmers has been collecting, growing and distributing a selection of “ancient grains” in Oslo since 2013.
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Visiting IRRI's Rice Gene Bank

The International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines has been managing the world's largest rice gene bank, which contributes to 90% of ric
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Discrimination: Using the Not-So-Simple Grindstone to Make Multiple Maize Dishes

Discrimination: Using the Not-So-Simple Grindstone to Make Multiple Maize Dishes | Agricultural Biodiversity | Scoop.it
Sometimes it is suggested that the poor are so absorbed by simply getting enough to eat that, unlike the rich, they have little discrimination where the taste of their food is concerned.
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Agroforestry around the world

Agroforestry around the world | Agricultural Biodiversity | Scoop.it
I’ve been looking for an excuse to play around with the Database of Places, Language, Culture and Environment (D-PLACE), which “contains cultural, linguistic, environmental and geographic information for over 1400 human...
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