Things have been a little busy hereabouts, what with one thing and another, so we seem to have neglected to remind our readers of the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation’s conference on Plant Conservation and the Sustainable Development Goals at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Shame on us. Anyway, participants have been quite busy on Twitter, so you can get a flavour of what’s been going on. The focus was on the role of botanical gardens in the conservation of wild plants, but agricultural biodiversity does seem to have featured at least once.

Maybe someone can tell us more on that.

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World Food Prize for letting food be thy medicine

by Luigi Guarino on June 29, 2016

Congratulations to Drs Maria Andrade, Robert Mwanga, Jan Low and Howarth Bouis on being awarded the 2016 World Food Prize for their work on biofortification in general and the orange-fleshed sweet potato in particular:

“Let Food Be Thy Medicine,” a quote attributed to Hippocrates approximately 2,400 years ago, best captures the ground-breaking achievement for which the four distinguished 30th Anniversary World Food Prize Laureates are being honored in 2016 – the development and implementation of biofortification, breeding critical vitamins and micronutrients into staple crops, thereby dramatically reducing “hidden hunger” for millions.

And let’s remember how much more difficult their work would have been if not for genebank collections that could be screened for flesh colour, along with the myriad other traits that make for a successful variety release.

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The trouble with quinoa

14 June 2016

“Worldwide Evaluation of Quinoa: Preliminary Results from Post International Year of Quinoa FAO Projects in 9 Countries.” The title sounded promising enough. At last, something scientifically worthwhile emerging from one of those international years. Nineteen sites, 21 genotypes, a few winners: well worth having. But have a look at the materials part of the materials […]

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Brainfood: Agricultural heritage, Unique maize, B4N, Flax core evaluation, Oca conservation, Ag expansion, Rose wild relative, Quinoa evaluation, Nepal seed systems, Amazonian domestication, Analysing germplasm data

13 June 2016

Agricultural Heritage Systems: A Bridge between Urban and Rural Development. “…agricultural heritage systems can take full advantage of abundant funds…” Really? Multi cob-bearing popcorn (Puakzo) maize: a unique landrace of Mizoram, North East, India. Would be nice to know how unique globally. Enabled or disabled: Is the environment right for using biodiversity to improve nutrition? […]

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Plant Genetic Resources: Our challenges, our food, our future

11 June 2016

As predicted a few days ago, here’s Dr Mike Jackson’s report on that 2 June meeting on plant genetic resources organized by doctoral students at the School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham. When I was asked to contribute a paper I had to think hard and long about a suitable topic. I’ve always been passionate […]

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Pomegranate symbolism through the ages

11 June 2016

Those of you that remember us agonizing about the minutae of agrobiodiversity iconography, to the extent of wondering if this was indeed what it seemed to be, will rejoice with us that, with regards to pomegranates at least, we seem to have found the motherlode.

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Mythbusters edition

7 June 2016

No, mobile phones did not improve the economic welfare of fishermen in Kerala by allowing them to track market prices in different ports. And no, it has not been the antics of environmental activists to stall the adoption of Golden Rice by the world’s poor. Whatever next? The figure for worldwide crop genetic erosion is […]

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Talking PGR at Brum

7 June 2016

The plant genetic resources conference at the University of Birmingham is now over, and the presentations are online, including from Mike Jackson, who I feel sure will say something about it all on his blog soon. And it looks like Svalbard may be in for some British deposits… Thanks to all speakers and participants at […]

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