Bioversity International is a global research-for-development organization that delivers scientific evidence, management practices, and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural biodiversity to attain global food and nutrition security. It works with partners in low-income countries in different regions where agricultural biodiversity can contribute to improved nutrition, resilience, productivity and climate change adaptation. Bioversity International is a member of the CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future. Sebastien Carpentier from Bioversity International focuses on phenotyping the biodiversity of crops by integrating abiotic stress physiology with omics technology. Hosted by KULeuven, Sebastien and his team have the International collection of the tropical banana crop (Musa). The aim of the collection is to secure the long-term conservation of the crop’s gene pool and encourage the use of its accessions. The latter, however, requires an in-depth knowledge of the variability among the accessions. Therefore, the team is currently focusing on the characterization of this biodiversity towards suitability for certain crucial agro-eco zones. ICRISAT-GEMS – Bioversity International joint collaboration helps in the characterization of water transport pathways (Symplastic and apoplastic pathways) and water conservation traits in Banana germplasm and this knowledge might be useful in developing drought-adapted Banana varieties.
For us gems means GEMS, or G*E*M*S (genotype by environment by management by society) interactions, i.e. the fact that crop yields results from complex biophysical interactions while acceptance depends on farmer/consumer preferences. This complexity becomes an opportunity when it is cracked into components that can be analysed, understood, predicted, and then used to prioritise research investments to maximise return. This is what we do, and this is when GEMS become gems!
For us gems means GEMS, or G*E*M*S (genotype by environment by management by society) interactions, i.e. the fact that crop yields results from complex biophysical interactions while acceptance depends on farmer/consumer preferences. This complexity becomes an opportunity when it is cracked into components that can be analyzed, understood, predicted, and then used to prioritize research investments to maximise return. This is what we do, and this is when GEMS become gems!
A crop performs in different ways in different sites, years and agronomic managements. These are called genotype-by-environment-by management(G*E*M) interactions, and they are a main challenge for breeders and agronomists. There is one more layer of interaction, even more complex: the society (S). Farmers and consumers have different desires, needs, expectations, and a cultivar that fits one may not fit the other (G*E*M*S interactions). The puzzle is complex and challenging but if its components are understood, specific interventions can be undertaken.For instance, breeding for a particular genotype (G, with particular physiological characteristics), for a particular environment (E, with a particular kind of drought pattern that requires a specific adaptive trait), in a particular management practice (M, for instance a sowing density, or a N fertilizer treatment), and targeted to particular farmer/consumer (S, for instance a genotype that produces a lot of rich stover for cattle ranchers) is the need of the hour.