AUGUST 3rd 2010
This could be interesting. It seems the destructive fungus was so successfuly eliminated many years ago by selective breeding of resistant strains that research and development on the subject has been largely ignored. But not by nature. A virulent strain that attacks the widely used wheat varieties has got going in Africa and is moving. An increasing world population and a requirement to develop a new resistant strain and get enough of it in time to the world's wheat-fields is not a good mix.



Or is it? Suppose it was possible for the countries that need to be more self-sufficient, instead of relying on food-aid and imports from the massive production of the developed world, were to be prioritised in the planting of resistant new strains as the best way of limiting the spread.

One way or another, the sensibility of the world's cereals to any sort of spreading pathogens and/or the effects of climate change could be a decisive factor in forcing humanity to sort out its diet, breeding and other social customs on an intelligent, cooperative and self-disciplined basis. The same applies to all the fundamental requirements of civilized society. We either control our demands or will come to rely on endless technological fixes that will eventually divide our species into the fixers and the fixed, the latter increasingly dependent on the former, the former expecting reward and superior status. The very reverse of a modern, emancipated society that has been the overt aim ever since the 'enlightenment'.

AUGUST 28th 2010  - Technology to the rescue?

Wheat genome may help tackle food shortages

The wheat genome is the largest genome decoded to date. It is five times larger than the human genome and is known to be a very complex structure, comprised of three independent genomes.