Category Archives: wheat

Wheat Genome Science Fiction by Dworkin: The Commons

If you enjoy Sci-Fi and agriculture, too, and you think the current dominant system just might be sitting on the precipice of a dangerous fate, this book might be for you. Prolific book author, Susan Dworkin, has a special interest in agricultural topics, in addition to Hollywood, and war. Since I am an artist at heart, I can appreciate that diverse variety of human interest subjects.

“The Commons” is the clever Dworkin’s latest book, and its plot is built upon a series of things that went wrong in agriculture, science, and politics over a couple hundred years leading up to 2165. The world and all living beings are in sad shape.

A changing climate and seed monopoly powers converge to threaten the global wheat supply. Her writing is quick, playful, and vibrant. I might even call it “wild”. The book is chock-full of surprising descriptive embellishments that guarantee to keep the reader entertained… a spaniel puppy, a Willa Cather quote, and a wheat gene savior which hailed from Tibet due to its location closer to the sun, are a few examples.

Here’s a quote from a dream of the main character towards the end of the book:

…if only the kids in Grandmas time had risen up, if only they had gathered together and risen up and demanded a change in the way the world was being used.

Personally, I think this world could use a little more agricultural science fiction, to get people thinking, rather than the ongoing and repetitive punditry that we all grow weary of. Kudos to the author, who is a friend of this site.

Wheat Genome Project Success

IWGSC collaboration figure

In July of 2014, The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) published in the international journal Science, a draft sequence of the bread wheat genome. This provides new insight into the structure, organization, and evolution of the large, complex genome of the world’s most widely grown cereal crop.

According to the journal Science, “The researchers estimate that wheat has about 124,000 genes and that its genome is 40 times larger than rice and seven times larger than corn, both of whose genomes have been deciphered. The wheat genome also is more than five times larger than the human genome, the researchers noted.”

This genome is so complex that previously it was thought impossible to sequence.