GCP Blog Connect with us GCP on Facebook Follow GCP on Twitter GCP on LinkedIn Subscribe to GCP Newsletter Subscribe to our RSS feeds

Issue 75 – December 2014

GCP News
Issue 75 – 11th December 2014

Even as GCP draws to its close this month, we still have plenty of GCP News for you. We start with a potpourri of fresh treats in video, report, blog and presentation form, as we skip from cassava to soils to capacity building – and don’t miss our Next Generation Genomics conference call! There’s news from the Integrated Breeding Platform too, as it prepares to spread its wings into the post-GCP future with a new Board for Phase II – plus some exciting revamps. Finally, enjoy our communications roundup of all you might have missed in a busy few weeks: puzzles for your grey cells, strange smells, ancient dinosaurs and a new face. Intrigued? Read on and all will be revealed!
News and calls
130E Okogbenin1. Quench your cassava curiosity with our latest videos: Q&A on cassava science in Africa
Recently crowned cassava (see item 10 below) is our reigning Queen of the Screen, with her current consort Emmanuel Okogbenin of Nigeria keen to show her off in our newest video series. In seven instalments, he walks us through the importance of cassava and why it is "the choice crop for food security" in Africa; the unique challenges to cassava breeding and ways these are being overcome; recent successes and breakthroughs in research; threats to cassava production; and the huge potential and promises of cassava in and for Africa. More
130AR13sq2. Annual Report 2013: views of the year and windows on the GCP world
Our 2013 Annual Report is now available to read online, so why not take a scenic tour of the year? As in 2012, the report was produced in sections. We recommend starting with the Overview for a ‘view from the (mountain) top’ – highlights of this reader-friendly digest include GCP’s Final External Review, the release of the pioneer Breeding Management System (version 1), selected research achievements, and a peek into the post-GCP future. Then set off into the GCP landscape with individual reports on each of our Research Initiatives, as well as Capacity Building and the Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP). More
130Almaize3. GCP's Sunset Blog: looking up at sunset skies and down to radically reinvented roots for sour soils
For more incredible views, stop off at our brand-new Sunset Blog and stay to watch as the sun goes down. We are pleased to announce that our first post, on the Comparative Genomics Research Initiative, is hot off the press and already making a splash via social media. If you haven't yet seen it, check it out for a thrilling tale of acid soils, sister genes, and cross-continental cooperation – published just in time for World Soil Day (see item 12 below). It is only the first of our rich crop of the most captivating stories from ten years of GCP, as told by our partners, so stay tuned as GCP winds down over the coming weeks and months. More sweet joyful treats are coming your way soon, full of digestible wisdom, fiery GCP spirit and glimpses of a GCP-flavoured future as the Programme exits the stage. More
130-ib-myc-sq4. Finish line reached as IB–MYC marathon concludes and new breed of breeders takes flight
The Integrated Breeding Multiyear Course (IB–MYC) recently reached its close after three intensive years. The final session ran from 3rd to 14th November 2014, and as always was hosted by our partners IAMZ–CIHEAM (the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza, Spain). By taking a risk and investing in long-term in-depth training, GCP has created a powerful model for capacity building with profound impact. We congratulate all who have been part of IB–MYC, and look forward to what this "new variety of breeders" will do next! More
130capbuildmap5. Gain or Drain? GCP Director has some questions – and some answers – on capacity building
While we're on the theme, don't miss our latest presentation on SlideShare, with the provocative title of 'Capacity Building: Gain or Drain?' You will find a potpourri of insights into meaningful capacity building, the IB–MYC model, Integrated Breeding Platform and Breeding Management System, plus the issue of brain drain. Created by GCP Director Jean-Marcel Ribaut, Information Manager Fred Okono and Capacity Building Leader Ndeye Ndack Diop, the presentation was given by Jean-Marcel at the recent Tropical Soybean for Development Workshop. More
genconfsq6. This is the future calling: Next Generation Genomics and Integrated Breeding 2015
You are invited to the 5th International Conference on Next Generation Genomics and Integrated Breeding for Crop Improvement, sponsored by GCP and organised by our partner and friend Rajeev K Varshney, to be held at ICRISAT, Greater Hyderabad, India during 18–20 February 2015. It promises to be an idea-sharing feast of great interest to many of our readers – participants already include GCP Director Jean-Marcel Ribaut among other familiar faces. More
News from IBP
130 IBP Board7. "Off to an excellent start:" IBP ready for the future with new Board on board
The Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP) is ready for its next phase, with a new Board now in office following its first meeting during 2–3 December. The dream team consists of: Dave Hoisington (Chair), Gary Cornelius (Vice-Chair), Tabare Abadie, Kanyawim Kirtikara, Kevin Pixley, and Jean-Marcel Ribaut (IBP Director). The positions of Secretary and Treasurer have been combined and will be held by a non-voting member, Shawn Sullivan. Watch this space for more on IBP Phase II, and meanwhile visit the IBP website to meet the Board members and get a flavour for their expertise. More
130IBPweb8. IBP website: redesigned, reorganised and ready for your visit
IBP recently unveiled its new website, not only with a new visual look, but also with a significantly reorganised structure, though you will still find all the same great tools and services on offer. Take a tour to discover your old favourites – and some new features too, such as: a clickable world map to easily find assistance in your region; better integration of products and services for direct access from the site; a new training section with tutorials and e-learning materials; and a chat functionality to interact with IBP staff and other site users – so drop us a line and let us know what you think! More
130crosses9. Breeding Management System (BMS) version 3.0: improvements continue with latest release
As we promised in issue 71 of GCP News, September saw the release of version 3.0 of IBP's Breeding Management System (BMS), with both significant improvements to core applications and exciting new functionalities. Breeders will now find BMS easier and more efficient to use, for example with the Trial Manager, List Manager and Nursery Manager all seamlessly streamlined in the same browser-based interface, and completely redesigned FieldBook tools. It is also now faster at saving and retrieving data. More
Communications roundup
130oktoberfestSQ10. Big issues for packed Oktoberfest: women, food, poverty and more
The acme of our busy agricultural Oktoberfest was World Food Week, 12–19 October 2014. Highlights included our coronation of cassava as the Queen of Crops on the International Day of Rural Women, and a challenge for those little grey cells in celebration of World Food Day, with our crop quiz. For the full story (and a deliciously visual overview), "begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end" on Storify. It's long, but it's sweet, so don't you be (story) terrified! More
130cuddlingsq11. Secret missions and transparent positions: access all areas for Open Access Week
Our unconventional commemoration of this year's Open Access Week, 20–26 October 2014, took us on a strange and smelly journey from the lab to the latrine and back again. We delved deep to explore openness and transparency, and the good things that emerge when we leave shame and secrecy behind. And in particular, we celebrated the latest GCP open-access publication, and all our open-access authors. More
130soilhands12. All in the family: comparative genomics the star on World Soil Day
The 5th of December 2014 was World Soil Day – and saw an early kick off of 2015 as the International Year of Soils. We marked the occasion with a celebration of our Comparative Genomics Research Initiative, GCP's answer to the problem of acid soils, which affect almost half of all arable land worldwide. Read on to discover how family relationships between crops – plus modern scientific tools to reveal the genes they share – are helping breeders to provide farmers with acid-beating crop varieties. And what does Triceratops have to do with it? More
130Eloise13. Eloise Phipps takes the baton for GCP communications' final lap
Eloise Phipps has been on board with the GCP communications team since the end of September, taking over the role of Communications Assistant and supporting in the winding down of the Programme. From January, following GCP's official close, she will be taking over all remaining communications activities, including GCP's legacy stories (to be published on the Sunset Blog – see item 3 above). You are welcome to get in touch with her by emailMore on Eloise