Somehow we missed this great map of the Fertile Crescent from National Geographic. It came out just before Christmas, but we should have caught it, really. I hope they do similar ones for other cradles of agriculture around the world.
Went to the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne at the weekend, and what should I find but a 15th century tryptich of the Madonna holding a crop wild relative flower? Apparently it symbolises virginity.
Do you know of projects genotyping or phenotyping crop germplasm on a massive scale? Well, because the folks at DivSeek are collating that kind of info for a “landscape study.” Leave comments here and I’ll get it to them.
Good to hear1 that the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources in India has a new online “dashboard” summarizing data from its genebank, one of the largest in the world.2 There is a separate PGR Portal for searching the collection,...
Well, I thought we had our finger on the agricultural biodiversity pulse, but this one is a new one on us: Agrobiodiversity@knowledged is a joint Hivos and Oxfam Novib Knowledge Programme initiated in 2011.
Throughout the history of agriculture, many new crop species (polyploids or artificial hybrids) have been introduced to diversify products or to increase yield. However, little is known about how these new crops influence the evolution of new pathogens and diseases. Triticale is an artificial hybrid of wheat and rye, and it was resistant to the fungal pathogen powdery mildew (Blumeria graminis) until 2001 (refs. 1,2,3). We sequenced and compared the genomes of 46 powdery mildew isolates covering several formae speciales. We found that B. graminis f. sp. triticale, which grows on triticale and wheat, is a hybrid between wheat powdery mildew (B. graminis f. sp. tritici) and mildew specialized on rye (B. graminis f. sp. secalis). Our data show that the hybrid of the two mildews specialized on two different hosts can infect the hybrid plant species originating from those two hosts. We conclude that hybridization between mildews specialized on different species is a mechanism of adaptation to new crops introduced by agriculture.
What better way to start the new year than with an attractive catalog of banana accessions from USDA? Especially as, coincidentally, the Musa Germplasm Information System also debuts a new iteration of the website.
And speaking of Facebook, which has somehow become the go-to place for fun agrobiodiversity stuff, get a load of this recent photo of “bush potato” from the Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi Aboriginal Corporation.
Those who follow such things will no doubt be as excited as we are about the fact that USDA’s National Plant Germplasm System has just switched over from its old workhorse documentation system, GRIN, to the young pretender, GRIN-Global.
We don’t just gather our food. We gather the raw materials and then we turn them into food. The skill and determination that have gone into making food inspire awe. One way we make food is by processing it (including cooking).
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