Scientists published a new book on an innovative mathematical approach to rapidly mine genebanks for desired traits, placing crop breeding on an accelerated track. With current holdings of genetic materials in excess of 7 million accessions across 1700 genebanks in the world, the search for targeted genetic traits is complex and akin to finding needle in a haystack. The book titled ‘Applied Mathematics and Omics to Assess Crop Genetic Resources for Climate Change Adaptive Traits’ describes the application of mathematics and omics for more targeted identification of climate change-adaptive genetic traits such as resistance to pests, diseases, drought and heat.
“This is a very timely publication and among the first to use mathematical formulas and omics as evaluation tools to identify adaptive traits to mitigate the effects of climate change on the important crops, especially in the dry areas,” said Dr. Abdallah Bari, ICARDA’s Genetic Resources Scientist, who is one of the editors along with Dr. Ardeshir B. Damania from the Agricultural Experimental Station (AES) at the University of California, Davis (USA), Dr. Michael Mackay from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, University of Queensland (Australia), and Dr. Selvadurai Dayanandan from Concordia University (Canada).
Published by CRC Press (Taylor & Francis Group) on 26 February, 2016, this book is an outcome of an international workshop held in Morocco, in June 2014, where researchers and scientists from five continents met to discuss their work, along with the problems of farmers, and set forth strategies to mitigate the detrimental effects of climate change using mathematics and omics technologies. The drylands would be the worst affected by any scenarios of climate change and warming trends. These areas represent more than 40% of global land cover and are home to over 2.5 billion of the world’s population.
Commending the book, Dr. Mahmoud Solh, ICARDA’s Director General, mentioned that it will go a long way in introducing novel and innovative practices in identifying the adaptive traits needed to combat climate change and enhance food and nutritional security globally, particularly in developing countries. “This book provides researchers with extra tools to assess crop genetic resources in order to confront climate change and global warming head on. I would recommend this extremely timely and useful book to all those working on crop improvement and studying the effects of climate change,” says a reviewer.