Do you know that Cassava’s high in iron and zinc could improve diets and health?

The “hidden hunger” caused by micronutrient deficiency is a global threat to human health, with particularly severe impacts in Africa. In Nigeria, 75 percent of preschool children and 67 percent of pregnant women are anemic, and 20 percent of children below five years suffer from zinc deficiency. Iron deficiency anemia affects the immune system, stunts growth and impairs cognitive development in children, while deficiency in zinc causes increased risk of death from diarrhea, stunting and reduced cognitive development. Developing new varieties of a staple food crop with elevated levels of…

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Small number of crops are now dominating globally

A new U of T study suggests that globally we’re growing more of the same kinds of crops, and this presents major challenges for agricultural sustainability on a global scale. The study, done by an international team of researchers led by U of T assistant professor Adam Martin, used data from the U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to look at which crops were grown where on large-scale industrial farmlands from 1961 to 2014. They found that within regions crop diversity has actually increased in North America for example, 93…

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Foster tadpoles trigger parental instinct in poison frogs

Poison frogs even transport not there own kin to water pools. Credit: Andrius Pasukonis/Eva Ringler Story Source: Materials provided by Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. Poison frogs, especially male poison frogs, are very caring parents. After the tadpoles hatch, the males piggyback their offspring to distant pools spread around the rainforest where they can feed and develop. In a recent study, a team of researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna, the University of Vienna and Harvard University show that this parental behaviour can be triggered experimentally. When unrelated tadpoles are placed on the backs…

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A tomato for everyone: ‘Sunviva’ for the good of all

Plant breeders at the University of Göttingen and Agrecol have launched a joint initiative to protect seeds as common property. Agrecol developed an “Open Source Seed Licence,” which legally protects seeds as commons (ie a natural resource accessible to all members of society) and thus protects them from patenting and similar issues such as “plant variety protection.” The results were published in the journal PLOS Biology. “It is with great concern that we have watched as worldwide access to breeding material is increasingly restricted by private-sector interests. Among other things,…

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Research Reveals the History of Corn Domestication

Smithsonian scientists and collaborators are revising the history of one of the world’s most important crops. Drawing on genetic and archaeological evidence, researchers have found that a predecessor of today’s corn plants still bearing many features of its wild ancestor was likely brought to South America from Mexico more than 6,500 years ago. Farmers in Mexico and the southwestern Amazon continued to improve the crop over thousands of years until it was fully domesticated in each region. The findings, reported Dec. 13 in the journal Science, come from a multidisciplinary,…

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