A whole issue of a journal given the Brainfood treatment. Because I’ve got allergies and can’t go out and it’s a holiday and I’m bored. Think of it as an Easter egg. Unnecessary, but tasty.

{ 0 comments }

A little something to consider for Easter

by Jeremy Cherfas on April 20, 2014

This picture, by Giotto, is a small part of the sumptuous Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. It shows the Wedding at Cana.

Giotto Scrovegni 24 Marriage at Cana

And as a rather charming article by Jeremy Parzen reminds us, transforming water into wine goes well beyond a mere demonstration of awesome skillz.

According to Jewish tradition, a marriage cannot be performed without a blessing over the wine. Had Jesus not transformed the water into wine, there would have been no marriage that day.

Go read the whole thing.

Which reminded me that I really need to get back to Padua, not only to revisit the Scrovegni Chapel, but also to see the refurbished botanic gardens, the type specimen of the genus.

{ 0 comments }

Vicia video prOn for gardeners

by Jeremy Cherfas on April 19, 2014

AoB blog linked to the YouTube version of this short film on a year (almost) in the life of a broad bean. Having watched it, I decided it was worth searching out a better quality version, which I duly found. Absolutely lovely. Congrats to the makers. Nah, that’s just a piece of grit in my eye.

{ 0 comments }

More domestication papers breaking free?

by Luigi Guarino on April 18, 2014

Hang on, has another paper from the PNAS special issue on “The Modern View of Domestication” broken embargo? An article from the Washington University comms machine1 lays out the difference between animal and plant domestication. Apparently, plant domesticators targeted genes that were insensitive to epistasis (i.e., the effect of other genes) and the environment, whereas animal domesticators did not. Maybe PNAS should just give up? Oh yeah, it has.

Footnotes:
  1. No, wait, it’s two papers from that PNAS special issue that WU is promoting. This other one basically says that domesticated livestock have interbred with their wild relatives more that we have thought. []

{ 0 comments }

Five steps to food security heaven

18 April 2014

National Geographic has a five-step solution to feeding the world. Step one is stopping deforestation, or, more accurately, stop expanding agriculture into the areas which are providing the ecosystem services which agriculture needs. Step two is increasing yields, or “Grow More on Farms We’ve Got.” All very logical. One looks avidly forward to finding out […]

Read the full article →

Quinoa in Washington State

18 April 2014

Kevin Murphy wants to steal their livelihoods from under the noses of poor Bolivian farmers. No, wait … Kevin Murphy wants to allow Bolivian farmers to improve their nutrition by enabling them to eat the quinoa they grow instead of selling it. No, wait … I give up. Go along to his talk and make […]

Read the full article →

Open source seeds are now for real. Again.

18 April 2014

The Open Source Seeds Initiative is actually sending out seed as of this week, according to a press release from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains … are being publicly released using a novel form of ownership agreement known as the Open Source Seed […]

Read the full article →

Chilli birthplace moved

18 April 2014

So there’s this thing in the world of mainstream journalism called the embargo. Journalists receive a press release, but they’re not allowed to publish the news until after the embargo time. This deal gives the journalist time to research and prepare the story, and supposedly levels the playing field for all. Occasionally someone breaks the […]

Read the full article →

A tale of two CGIAR centres’ media presence

15 April 2014

It’s a bit of a cheat, but bear with me for a minute and have a look at a couple of quotes from recent articles in the mainstream media. The first one is from the NY Times. Don’t look at the original piece until you’ve read both quotes: Drought-resistant X is now providing a better […]

Read the full article →

Brainfood: Wheat resistance, Wild barley regeneration, Barley improvement, Maize regeneration, Seed pathogens, Colombian rice management, Malawi diversity & nutrition, Modelling pollinators, Women & seeds, Vietnam development, European agrobiodiversity, CIP sweet potato goes to China, American NUS

14 April 2014

Gene bank of sources of spring wheat resistance to leaf-stem diseases. Crop wild relatives to the rescue. Evolutionary History of Wild Barley (Hordeum vulgare subsp. spontaneum) Analyzed Using Multilocus Sequence Data and Paleodistribution Modeling. Recently collected material gives different results to genebank accessions, suggesting geneflow during ex situ maintenance? Barley genetic variation: implications for crop […]

Read the full article →