The recent IPCC report has been called a wake-up call. It’s not. That was 30 years ago. Since then, we’ve been hitting the snooze button. We are starting to see the beginning of catastrophic climate change. This is already affecting our ability to feed everyone, the nutritional quality of plants and their interactions with animals (including us), human health and biodiversity. This is exacerbated by clearing of native forests and destruction of natural ecosystems for short term gain. The warming is not going to stop at 1.5 °C, or 2°C or even 5°C unless action is taken across the board. There is an urgent need to make it easier for individuals, industry, and agriculture to decarbonise the economy and preserve the environment.
The Global Plant Council (GPC) is currently a coalition of 27 national, regional, and international organizations representing plant, crop, agricultural, and environmental sciences from around the world. The aim of the GPC is to promote plant science across borders and disciplines, to support those involved in research, education, and training and to increase the awareness of plant research in science and society.
A new strategy to improve global access to information about plant genetic resources and the benefits they offer has been issued by DivSeek International Network (DivSeek), a global network committed to unlocking the potential of crop biodiversity so that it can be used to enhance the productivity, sustainability and resilience of crops and agricultural systems.
A balanced nutritional diet rich in minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins is of vital importance for human health. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources for most of these dietary phytochemicals and micronutrients. However, today’s most common diets consist mainly of starchy staples and less of nutrient-rich foods or fruits and vegetables, particularly in the developing world. Keeping in view that the UN General Assembly designated the year 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables.
Researchers call for a coalition of biotech industry, government and non-government organizations, trade organizations, and academic experts to work together to provide basic information about gene-edited crops to lift the veil on how plants or plant products are modified and provide greater transparency on the presence and use of gene editing in food supplies.
A deadly wheat disease common to Asia and South America has been identified in Africa for the first time, raising fears of potential spread to wheat crops across the continent. Researchers say that the fast-acting and devastating fungal disease known as wheat blast was first spotted in Africa in the Zambian rainfed wheat production system in the 2017-2018 crop cycle.
Many plant scientists rely on open access to information such as DNA sequence data to do their work. They are probably also aware of obligations to respect access and benefit sharing (ABS) rights under the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (The Treaty) and maybe the Nagoya Protocols on Access and Benefit Sharing. These arrangements have long been understood to cover the actual biological material (the plant) but international moves to extend these agreements to include associated data such as digital DNA sequence information (DSI) may impact more directly on the activities of plant scientists (Marden, 2018).
First international assessment of the protection state of mostly ‘untouched’ forests in Europe. An expansion of the protected areas by only about 1% would sufficiently protect most remaining primary forests in Europe.
Without sustained investment in plant science, the necessary research to generate innovative discoveries that solve these urgent problems is at risk. Recently, PSRN released its Plant Science Decadal Vision 2020-2030: Reimagining the Potential of Plants for a Healthy and Sustainable Future, a report that outlines bold, innovative solutions to guide investments and research in plant science over the next 10 years.
A virtual Workshop on the Development of National Gene Banks in the member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was conducted online. The 160 participants examined issues of the development, conservation and exchange of plant and animal genetic resources for food and agriculture intending to promote strong and resilient food systems.