On Thursday May 25, 2017 there was a fire at Macelwane Hall, our home at Saint Louis University (SL Post Dispatch coverage). We are very grateful that no one was hurt. The building sustained significant fire, smoke, and water damage. All offices and labs occupied by our group were impacted. Thanks to the St. Louis Fire Department, Saint Louis University leadership, and our friends and colleagues for support and kind words during this difficult time.
Guest post by Claudia Ciotir. The conference entitled CROP DIVERSIFICATION IN A CHANGING WORLD Mobilizing the green gold of plant genetic resources Montpellier, France, 08-11 May 2017, was organized by the European Association for Research on Plant Breeding (EUCARPIA) Genetic Resources section, in association with the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources (ECPGR). Around 230 conference delegates were hosted at the conference center (Le Corum). The conference started with welcoming addresses from Shelagh Kell, Chair of EUCARPIA Genetic Resources section, Andreas Börner, President Designate, EUCARPIA, Lorenzo Maggioni, Secretary, ECPGR, Carole Delga, and Bernard Hubert, President, Agropolis International, France. The Conference had four plenary sessions: 1) Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) conservation – in nature, in production systems and in genebanks, 2) Breeding for diverse farming systems – the roles of the formal and informal sectors, 3) Collaborative approaches in plant breeding – public–private partnerships and participatory practices, and 4) Marketing diversity – enhancing the enabling environment for crop diversification. In addition, participants split in four workshop sessions where they discussed arduous problems addressing the functionality of the Plant Genetic Resources use system:1) Valuing plant genetic diversity – what are the costs and benefits of PGR conservation and use?, 2) The in situ–ex situ conundrum – can we move to a truly integrated approach?, 3) Searching for diversity – how can information flow be streamlined to improve access to PGR?, and 4) Accessing plant genetic diversity – what are the obstacles and how can they be overcome?
Ongoing strategies in plant genetic resource conservation to reconcile the biological, political and social dimensions of genetic resources and use were at the heart of the meeting. One of the major goals of the conference was to strengthen relationships between the public research institutes, governmental bodies, private plant breeding companies and independent plant breeders, the commercial seed and plant production industries and public genebanks with
farmers and seed producers, farmers’ associations, seed networks, NGOs, civil society organizations, and International organizations or specific initiatives relevant to PGR use.
A set of implementations were proposed by the four workshop groups and a draft of conference resolution on future needs to support a workable and sustainable PGR system was discussed at the end of the panel discussion plenary.
Our group participated in this conference with few goals in mind: to present the audience the progress on our work at The Land Institute and the Perennial Agriculture Project Global Inventory (PAPGI); 2) to network with international scientists working on plant genetic resources and crop wild relatives conservation, pre-breeding, and domestication; 3) and to explore potential collaborations and funding resources.
Miller Lab members