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Lecture Series on Darwinian Agriculture

Lecture Series on Darwinian Agriculture

In this series of lectures conducted at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI; http://irri.org), 22-26 March 2013, Professor R. Ford Denison (adjunct professor of ecology, evolution, and behavior at the University of Minnesota) tackled the following topics, related to his book "Darwinian Agriculture: How Understanding Evolution Can Improve Agriculture". -- http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9777.html

Lectures in this playlist:
1. Improving on nature?
2. Real, complex, and imaginary tradeoffs.
3. Evolutionary tradeoffs as opportunities.
4. More tradeoff-linked opportunities.
5. Nature cannot be fooled.

As human populations grow and resources are depleted, agriculture will need to use land, water, and other resources more efficiently and without sacrificing long-term sustainability. Darwinian Agriculture presents an entirely new approach to these challenges, one that draws on the principles of evolution and natural selection.

Prof. Denison shows how both biotechnology and traditional plant breeding can use Darwinian insights to identify promising routes for crop genetic improvement and avoid costly dead ends.

Denison explains why plant traits that have been genetically optimized by individual selection--such as photosynthesis and drought tolerance--are bad candidates for genetic improvement. Traits like plant height and leaf angle, which determine the collective performance of plant communities, offer more room for improvement.

Agriculturalists can also benefit from more sophisticated comparisons among natural communities and from the study of wild species in the landscapes where they evolved.
Lecture Series on Darwinian Agriculture

In this series of lectures conducted at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI; http://irri.org), 22-26 March 2013, Professor R. Ford Denison (adjunct professor of ecology, evolution, and behavio...
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