seed breeding

USDA report highlights harms of seed consolidation

A new report released earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds that seed industry consolidation and restrictive intellectual property regimes are stifling small, independent, and public seed breeding programs. No paywall

What seed saving can tell us about the end of the world

"In fewer than 100 years, seed-saving, a practice that had always been essential to human survival, went from mainstream to something most of us are barely aware of, something happening at the fringes of our food culture — small farms, Native communities, survivalists," write Kea Krause, in FERN's latest story, published with Orion Magazine. No paywall

Can Syrian seeds save climate-challenged U.S. wheat?

When the seed bank in Tal Hadya, Syria, was threatened with destruction in the civil war that has engulfed that country, the seeds were smuggled out. Now, some those seeds — from wild wheat relatives in the Fertile Crescent — are being planted in the American Midwest in the hopes that they can protect the U.S. wheat crop from the pests and disease brought by a changing climate, according to FERN’s latest story, published with Yale Environment 360. No paywall

Report: More investment needed to increase volume, diversity of organic seed

In a new report, the Organic Seed Alliance says an increase in private and public investment in organic breeding and non-GMO research is needed to increase the number of farmers who use organic seed. The investment should make boosting seed variety during breeding trials a priority.

‘A real retro tomato – history you can eat’

To mark its 250th anniversary, Rutgers introduced for gardeners this season "a re-invented version of a tomato variety from 1934 that reigned unchallenged for decades," says the New York Times. The new variety, dubbed Rutgers 250, is a hit - the university is sold out of the 5,000 packets of seeds and home gardeners snapped up 1,200 seedlings in two hours.

“Linux for Lettuce”

Virginia Quarterly Review, in an article titled "Linux for Lettuce," delves into the arguments over open-source seeds available to anyone and the practice of some seed companies to patent their products. The story opens with cases of plant breeders who independently developed plant varieties or shared their results with others but later learned a company had patented the trait they had developed.