Silphium domestication benefits from multiple crop improvement methods

Picture copyright INRAE and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature

Silphium species are perennials able to optimize water use, reduce erosion, and deposit more carbon than annual crops while producing food. Their domestication is often slowed by inflexibility in how plants mate to produce seeds. Scientists Reinert et al. revealed that Silphium species self-pollinate and cross-pollinate, even among closely related species. This provides breeders with the flexibility to introduce new genes and enhance their expression.

Improving rice quality along the value chain

Scientists Prom-u-Thai and Rerkasem recently reviewed opportunities and limits in rice quality and value improvements. They showed that quality improvement through breeding differentiated mega-modern high-yielding rice varieties from others. Rice value has increased with grain breakage reduction at harvest and postharvest. They reckoned that sorting paddy from Asia’s small farms into quality- and price-differentiated segments of the value chain is a useful guideline for rice quality upgrading.