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DNA project to decode ‘all complex life’ on Earth

November 14th, 2018 / BBC, UK

A mission to sequence the genome of every known animal, plant, fungus and protozoan – a group of single-celled organisms – is underway.
The Earth BioGenome Project (EBP) has been described as a “moonshot for biology”. A key aim is to use the information in efforts to conserve threatened species. Scientists …

Small genetic differences turn plants into better teams

November 13th, 2018 / Science Daily

The ongoing worldwide loss of biological diversity is one of the most pressing challenges humankind currently faces. Biodiversity is vital to humans not least because it supports ecosystem services such as the provision of clean water and the production of biomass and food. Many experiments have shown that diverse communities …

With veganism a rapidly growing dietary choice in developed countries, why should we conserve livestock diversity?

October 25th, 2018 / Food Forever

Jimmy Smith, Director General, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Food Forever Champion writes:
In the United States last year, an estimated 6% of the population identified as vegan, a rise of 600% since 2014. On the other side of the Atlantic, the number of Britons who have removed animal products …

Our food system is at risk of crossing ‘environmental limits’ – here’s how to ease the pressure

October 12th, 2018 / The Conversation

The global food system has a lot to answer for. It is a major driver of climate change, thanks to everything from deforestation to cows burping. Food production also transforms biodiverse landscapes into fields inhabited by a single crop or animal. It depletes valuable freshwater resources, and even pollutes ecosystems …

More than a thousand vegetables, many of them forgotten

October 1st, 2018 / Biodiversity International

World diets are becoming more similar and based on fewer crops. A much greater diversity of vegetables exists in traditional food systems, but many of these crops are poorly integrated in current markets and diets. A recent study by Bioversity International scientists in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization …

Take a look at some of the billions of organisms that keep our soil healthy

September 11th, 2018 / Ensia

Soil is filled with more biological diversity than any other habitat on Earth. Its food web consists not only of worms and beetles and other well-known, easily visible animals, but also microscopic organisms from bacteria to fungi to protists. They all play a vital role in keeping soil healthy. Read …

Cherishing the ground we walk on

July 18th, 2018 / FAO

Soils do amazing things for us that we sometimes take for granted. They sustain food production, filter our water, are the source for our medicines and help us to combat and adapt to climate change. Here are reasons we should appreciate the ground beneath our feet. Read …

How Chinese millet gives Ugandan farmers hope

July 16th, 2018 / Observer, Uganda

A Chinese company with a farm in Luweero district has been involved in reproduction of foxtail millet seeds and distributing it to farmers. The new crop varieties have shown quick results. Improved food crops, for instance, have increased crop yields and enhanced farmers’ incomes. Such crops and technology transfer, once …

Reviving bananas with indigenous wisdom

July 13th, 2018 / SIANI

Monoculture of Cavendish bananas has taken over most of Costa Rica, but there is a rising awareness that Tropical Race 4 is spreading in Africa and Southeast Asia. In 2014 FAO urged to step up global efforts in monitoring, reporting and prevention of the Panama Disease. Meanwhile, promoting indigenous underutilized …

Madagascan bananas may soon be extinct

July 12th, 2018 / CABI

A wild banana (Ensete perrieri) has been classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. These are only found in Madagascar, where there are just five mature trees left in the wild. In light of this, scientists are advocating its conservation as it may hold the secret to saving the Cavendish banana. …