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Apr 7, 2010

Science Sparks a Second Green Revolution

The Christian Science Monitor reports on the how scientists such as Jonathan Lynch (photo to the left) at Pennsylvania State University are getting "at the roots" of the second agricultural Green Revolution.

Lynch is a professor of plant nutrition whose research focuses using tradition breeding techniques (not gene-engineering) to develop crops whose root systems are drought resistant and nitroten efficient. 

According to Lynch,
"What the world needs ... is a new Green Revolution that can increase yields in the face of challenging and changing conditions....

The idea that we could fertilize and irrigate our way out of this problem was the first Green Revolution led by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Norman Borlaug and others. .... The second Green Revolution is going to be how we get plants to grow productively with less water and artificial fertilizer."

Lynch's calls his concept "steep, cheap, and deep."  His research team has "identified root traits that can produce two or three times more food without fertilizer using conventional breeding techniques that select for superior root traits."

Mark Rosegrant, economist at the International Food Policy Research Institute based in Washington, D.C. notes that there is "There's incredible debate over to what extent you can achieve these productivity goals without [gene-engineering crops]."

Calestrous Juma, professor of international development at Harvard University and the director of the Agricultural Innovation in Africa Project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation notes that gene-engineering is "an essential and inevitable part of increasing yields in Africa."

Photo credit: Professor Jonathan Lynch, Pennsylvania State University (roots.psu.edu)

For more see: Lamb, Gregory M.  "How science could spark a second Green Revolution," Christian Science Monitor, 7 April 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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