Seed savers bank on genetic diversity for resilience in face of climate change

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Hundreds of seed exchanges—in which hobbyists and professional green thumbs share the most resilient plants from their crops—have sprung up across North America over the past decade.

Cary Fowler extolls seed exchanges as “the first line of defense” against the loss of biodiversity. Fowler is the founding visionary of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a frozen repository in the Norwegian permafrost where millions of seeds from around the world are preserved.

Industrial agriculture prefers, instead, uniformity: F1 hybrid seeds for many common fruits and vegetables, and genetically modified seeds for commodity crops such as corn, soybeans and sugar beets.

GMOs have since come to dominate the commodity market. These genetically identical crops are bringing worldwide agricultural diversity and resilience to an all-time low.

And yet, in a constantly changing world, the diversity and adaptability of our crops is the foundation of our future food security. Those traits lie in the open-pollinated seeds that our ancestors saved and sowed for 12,000 years. Fertilized naturally (rather than in controlled, human-made environments to ensure uniformity), open-pollinated seeds produce plants whose next generation is similar, but not identical, to the previous generation. Much as a diverse stock portfolio offers resilience in turbulent economic times, this biodiversity offers resilience in a changing climate.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: How Some Small Farmers Are Resisting Monsanto—And Climate Change

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
sperm swim

Video: Sperm are ‘spinners not swimmers’—because they are lopsided

Research by fertility scientists in the UK and Mexico challenges the accepted view of how sperm “swim”, suggesting that it ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend