Sticky seeds and selective breeding: The cradle of civilisation

17:04 EDT 15 Aug 2019 | GMO pundit

Highly recommended reading
Good article by Peter Bickerton:

From the mountainous regions of the tropics to the rivers and fertile alluvial plains of China, India and Mesopotamia, humans learnt to domesticate wild plants in order to sustain the populations which eventually became our cities – and civilisations.

Since 9000 BC, long before the tipping point of next-generation sequencing, humans have been shuffling the genetic pack in order to grow heartier and environmentally-resistant crops.

Today, we take it for granted that our supermarket shelves are full of carrots, parsnips, potatoes and bread – but the history of where these crops came from and how they came to appear as they are – is as varied as the genetic diversity we have lost throughout thousands of years of selective breeding.

Whereas historically we selected plants based on their characteristics, from yield to flavour and even colour, we are now able to track these changes at the genetic level. How can investigating the existence of our crop plants, as well as their relatives in the wild, aid us in feeding an ever-expanding population, and how can genetics inform how we breed the crops of the future?... continues  at link

About the Earlham Institute

Director's welcome.

The past two decades have laid the foundations for a new era of genome-based understanding of genetics and the biology of complex systems. Technological advances in DNA sequencing have resulted in multiple step change increases in the rate of data acquisition at reduced costs to a point that sequence technologies can now affordably and effectively be applied to research questions across the biological sciences.

Sequencing has become a totally enabling technology for life science research making previously unfeasible dreams of access to numerous genomes a reality. This opportunity to exploit the potential of high throughput sequence generation combined with a well-established model for data sharing places genomics at the forefront of the data-driven science revolution. EI was established as a national facility to promote the use of genomics to advance bioscience research and innovation in the UK, supporting academic and industrial investigators.

Professor Neil Hall

Original Article: Sticky seeds and selective breeding: The cradle of civilisation


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