Orphan crops play an important role in food and nutrition security especially in growing economies where small-holder farmers produce the majority of food. Despite their importance in global agriculture and their often remarkable nutrient content and adaptation to challenging environmental conditions, orphan crops have received limited attention by the scientific community and industry. However, the diversity of neglected plant species provides a large genetic resource that could significantly contribute to broadening the biodiversity of trait-desired crops for novel value chains, sustainable development and food security. The uptake of new plant breeding techniques, notably genome editing, as well as ‘omic’ tools, are now accelerating translation of basic research and facilitating the exploration of orphan crops. These advancements also give rise to public and politic engagement discussions to maximize socio-economic impact.
Given that the greatest need for food and nutritional security is in growing economies, issues of food sovereignty and sustainability of their food systems become front-and-centre. There is now an exceptional opportunity to tackle some of the major current challenges in agriculture, including climate change, sustainable cropping systems, food quality, and nutritional security through broadening research in wild relatives of crops and on orphan species. This Research Topic seeks to showcase research on neglected plants using advanced molecular technologies (e.g. genome sequencing, 'omics', etc) and new plant breeding approaches, methods, and tools. This Research Topic will also discuss the challenges and opportunities arising when modern breeding techniques are applied for translational research.
We welcome Original Research, Mini Reviews, Reviews, Methods, and Opinion articles within, but not limited to, the subjects of:
• New technologies, tools and methods for developing crop varieties to combat micronutrient and calorific malnutrition, improve yields, mitigate climate change, facilitate extended or year-round production, and reduce chemical use.
• Techniques/protocols for deploying new plant breeding approaches in non-model plant species.
• Speed breeding and optimized flowering.
domestication through breeding or biotechnology of under-studied plants.
• Genetic characterization of orphan crops and wild relatives of crop species to seek novel traits.
By orphan crops, we understand food crops including cereals (e.g. tef, finger millet), roots and tubers (e.g. cassava, yam), legume crops (pigeon pea, Bambara groundnut, grass pea) that received only limited attention by research. These crops are often grown mainly by small holder farmers in Africa, Asia or Latin America and traded mainly at regional level.
Abstract submissions are strongly encouraged prior to manuscript submission.Please note: all submissions to the Plant Breeding specialty section containing quantitative phenotypic data must be obtained from three or more independent test environments, more information is available here in the scope of the specialty section. Transformation protocols must be submitted via the Technical Advances in Plant Science specialty section.
Studies falling into the categories below will not be considered for review, unless they are expanded and provide insight into the biological system or process being studied:
i) Descriptive collection of transcripts, proteins or metabolites, including comparative sets as a result of different conditions or treatments, unless accompanied by physiologically relevant functional characterization of differentially expressed/accumulating candidate transcripts, metabolites or proteins;
ii) Descriptive studies that define gene families using basic phylogenetics and the assignment of cursory functional attributions (e.g. expression profiles, hormone or metabolites levels, promoter analysis, informatic parameters).Conflict of interest declaration from Topic Editor Rita H. Mumm: ''Although I do manage a consulting firm, GeneMax Services, and do hold several patents related to agricultural technologies, there are no relationships or positions which conflict with the topical area at hand.”. The other Topic Editors declare no conflict of interest.