Wild thing, I think I need you: How weeds could save dinner Featured

Authors: grist.com FOOD

Wild strawberriesKim Hummer / USDAThis wild species of strawberry was recently discovered growing in the Oregon Cascades. Researchers say it could be bred with other species to create new disease-resistant or delicious varieties.

Who needs weeds? In a climate-changed world, we all do.

Wild relatives of potatoes, peas, eggplants, and lentils, among many other crops, are often thought of as weeds, but they could help us produce healthier harvests even as we face water shortages and other climate-induced challenges.

Nature explains:

Faced with climate change, plant breeders are increasingly turning to the genomes of the wild, weedy relatives of crops for traits such as drought tolerance and disease resistance. But a global analysis of 455 crop wild relatives has found that 54% are underrepresented in gene bank collections — and that many, including ones at risk of extinction, have never been collected.

The findings, released on 22 July by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), based near Palmira, Colombia, will guide the largest international initiative to date to conserve crop wild relatives. The effort, which is being spearheaded by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, based in Rome, in partnership with the Millennium Seed Bank of London’s Kew Gardens, is deemed urgent at a time when one in five plants faces extinction.

Plant breeders are keenly interested in securing the genetic diversity needed to breed new varieties that will withstand the droughts and elevated temperatures expected in the future as a result of climate change. Crop wild relatives are one of the most valuable genetic resources to improve crops, but they are threatened because of habitat loss as well as gene flow from domesticated plants through cross-pollination, says Paul Gepts, a plant breeder at the University of California, Davis.

Here’s one sweet example of how wild plants can help shore up food supplies: This newly discovered strawberry species, if crossed with other varieties, “may reveal new flavors or genetic disease resistance,” says Kim Hummer, a scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

Source / Full Story

Rate this item
(0 votes)
Login to post comments
back to top
Contact us to submit your food / kitchen related content.Web E-Kitchen.

Get Our App Now

To be Read by You

Chicken Satay

24.06.2014

Chicken Satay

I use chicken tenders  instead of flatening chicken breast or boneless...

Read more
  1. Hot News
  2. Tags
  3. Comments
cannellini bean chard soup
Do You Care About Calories?
Brewers Prepare Beer For The End Of Time, Mayan Or Otherwise
Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
 Lemon Chicken Breasts
Dodger Stadium Serves Frozen Beer Foam – Keeps Drink Cold For 30 Minutes

Search

Sign In or Create Account