The journal Nature Sustainability has published a “News & Views” analysis article entitled “Newer Roots for Agriculture” by Jerry Glover, a former researcher at The Land Institute and currently a National Geographic Explorer and the Deputy Director at the Center for Agriculture with USAID.
Annual grains, domesticated from wild species, have dominated agriculture since the Neolithic. A new study reports how turning to high-yield perennial rice crops could maintain key ecosystem functions while supporting livelihoods.
The past several decades have seen modest but growing investments in developing perennial grain crops including versions of wheat, rice, and sorghum. Plant breeders can domesticate wild perennial species through continual selection of desirable traits over multiple generations (3). Kernza, a recently developed perennial grain grown for niche markets, was domesticated from Thinopyrum intermedium, a wild relative of wheat. Yields of Kernza remain comparatively low but are increasing.