Endangered Crops: Conservation Genetics and Agricultural Crisis in the United States, 1950-1975
|Dates:||4 February 2014|
|Times:||16:00 - 17:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||Faculty of Life Sciences|
|Who is it for:||University staff, Current University students|
This seminar is part of the CHSTM Seminars Series February-May 2014.
They will be held fortnightly on Tuesdays at 4pm.
All are welcome and please feel free pass this information on to interested colleagues.
If you have any questions about the programme don’t hesitate to get in touch.
We look forward to seeing you.
This talk will address the intertwined history of two activities that are often seen to be at odds with one another: globalized industrial agriculture and biodiversity conservation. In particular, it will consider the history of efforts made to preserve genetic diversity in maize (corn) types and to save its wild relatives from extinction. In the late 1930s and 1940s, the rapid spread of improved agricultural corn varieties, especially hybrids, sparked concerns about the loss of many thousands of "traditional" or "indigenous" types of maize across the Americas. As breeders well knew, these long-cultivated types might be useful to plant breeders in need of genes for disease resistance or other desirable traits. Such worries eventually spurred a massive multi-year collection and preservation program that stretched from Chile to Canada in the late-1950s. The ideas and collections produced through this program, and others like it, proved important both to the continued growth of global industrial agriculture and to the development of the field of conservation biology.
Dr Niki Vermeulen
44 (0)161 275 0561
Dr William R. Macauley
+44 (0)161 275 5910
Organisation: University of Cambridge
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