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Feb 27, 2012

Wild Cereal Progenitors Impacted by Climate Change

On 14 February 2012, scientists from the University of Haifa and Canada published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on how wild cereals such as wheat and barley have changed over the past 28 years due to global warming.

According to this study the changes "imply a risk for crop improvement and food production.  ... The earliness in flowering time and genetic changes that are taking place in these important progenitor wild cereals, most likely due to global warming, can negatively affect the wild progenitors."

The principal investigator on the study was Prof. Eviatar Nevo of the Insitute of Evolution at the University of Haifa. Special focus was given to cereal progenitors such as wild emmer wheat and wild barley, which originated in the Near East. "Ten wild emmer wheat and ten wild barley populations from different climates and habitats across Israel were sampled first in 1980 and then again at the same sites in 2008 and grown in a common greenhouse. The results indicated that over the relatively short period of 28 years, all 20 wild cereal populations examined, without exception, showed a dramatic change in flowering time."  This indicates that
"they are under environmental stress which may erode their future survival,” says Prof. Nevo.

For more see:

"Wild cereals threatened by global warming," GreenBio News, 27 February 2012.

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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