Australia’s very valuable new pastures genebank

by Luigi Guarino on March 3, 2015

A video has just surfaced about the Australian Pastures Genebank, courtesy of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), starring my mate Steve Hughes. Here are the headline numbers: 70K accessions, 2K species, collected over 60 years, ROI 119:1. Say what? Return on investment in a genebank of over 100 to 1? How come I’ve never come across this before? Well, it’s from a 2007 report to the Steering Committee of Australia’s National Genetic Resource Centre entitled “Benefit-cost analysis of the proposed National Genetic Resources Centre.” And I can’t find it online. But Steve has promised to send it. Stay tuned…

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Confused? You will be!

by Luigi Guarino on March 2, 2015

There is a nice set of presentations online on what it means in practical terms for a plant germplasm collection to be Nagoya and International Treaty compliant, in this particular case in the UK. I especially like the one by Penny Maplestone, Chief Executive of the British Society of Plant Breeders:
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If you’re still confused, you might like to turn to Carolina Roa’s post on the SMTA.

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KC on TV

by Luigi Guarino on March 1, 2015

Dr KC Bansal, director of India’s national genebank at the National Bureau for Plant Genetic Resources was interviewed on the TV show Eureka recently. Well worth listening to his advocacy for agricultural R&D in general and genebanks in particular. He says he is particularly proud of NBPGR’s wheat characterization work. BTW, the lakh is a unit in the Indian Numbering System equal to one hundred thousand. NBPGR has approximately 4 lakh accessions.

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Apples in the snow

26 February 2015

You may have heard about the difficult weather hitting the northeast of the United States. That includes Geneva, in New York State, which is home to the US national apple and grape genebank. Well, thanks to Thomas Chao, who’s in charge of those collections, you can now have a see what a field collection of […]

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Kew does crops

25 February 2015

Nice to see crop wild relatives highlighted in several places in Kew’s new science strategy. Full disclosure: I work with the Millennium Seed Bank on CWR for my day job. But that was no guarantee that the subject would get such a high profile in the science strategy.

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Peachy photos online

24 February 2015

Not only is U.P. Hedrick’s magisterial The Peaches of New York on Open Library. The images are also on Flickr, under Internet Archive Book Images. Mouthwatering.

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Brainfood: Grape genetics & conservation, Ecosystem restoration & services, Collecting cycads, Pigeonpea genomics, Wild pigeonpea gaps, Breadfruit collection diversity, Banana collection diversity, Conserving mammals, Bhutanese cereal diversity, Potato nutrition

23 February 2015

The preservation of genetic resources of the vine requires cohabitation between institutional clonal selection, mass selection and private clonal selection. Intra-varietal diversity, that is. They apparently do it best in Portugal. Association of dwarfism and floral induction with a grape ‘green revolution’ mutation. Cool things I learned from this paper: 1. Pinot Meunier is a […]

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Setting the rules of the game

20 February 2015

We’re delighted to publish today a guest post from Gabi Everett. Gabi is an MSc student in Cristobal Uauy’s research group at the John Innes Centre. We hope this is the first of many contributions from her. Until the next one, though, you can follow her on Twitter. I’ve never been one to listen much […]

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Brainfood: Domesticating seaweed, Upland sheep, Using CWR, Breadfruit amino acids, Species modelling, Echinochloa review, Fermented foods, Buckwheat breeding, Biofortified millet, Weird Japanese chicken, Barley yield stability

16 February 2015

Seaweed cultivation: potential and challenges of crop domestication at an unprecedented pace. I for one welcome our new algal overlords. Recent advances in understanding the genetic resources of sheep breeds locally-adapted to the UK uplands: opportunities they offer for sustainable productivity. Lower susceptibility to Maedi-Visna virus, for example. Back to the wilds: Tapping evolutionary adaptations […]

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