Three Big Issues for Our Future

Caulerpa Taxifolia, a noxious, invasive species of algae quickly expanding under the Mediterranean Sea. Originally bioengineered in 1984 as an ornamental, helpful plant for tropical fish bowls, its asexual reproduction and growth simply cannot be stopped. Its slight toxicity drives fish away (and everything else). In order to stop propagation and develop an effective containment strategy, a National Plan was drafted in 2004. But what is the status now? And the outlook? Some say this has been greatly exaggerated – is that true?

Phosphate Peak: World phosphorus/phosphate reserves promptly dwindle (at present rate, peak would be reached in 2030, total depletion by end of the century), while consumption even increases faster than population; being critical for agriculture, if this one is not resolved, impact on world food supply is certain (although many experts disagree on this one – is this also an exaggeration?). Mycorrhiza is a fungus that has been suggested as a solution… maybe?

Ug99 (Stem Rust), a relentless fungus affecting wheat crops that may lead to severe losses and starvation in several countries, notably in East Africa and the Middle East. A longtime concern for scientists such as Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug, its causal agent is Puccinia graminis. This destructive parasite must be stopped before it is too late.

The world needs some good leadership and good science to tackle these impending global critical issues. Any ideas?


One thought on “Three Big Issues for Our Future

  1. pieriansprings says:

    From Wikipedia: ‘A number of stem rust resistance genes (Sr genes) have been identified in wheat. Some of them arose in bread wheat (e.g. Sr5 and Sr6), while others have been bred in from other wheat species (e.g. Sr21 from T. monococcum) or from other members of the tribe Triticeae (e.g. Sr31 from rye and Sr44 from Thinopyrum intermedium).
    None of the Sr genes provide resistance to all races of stem rust. For instance many of them are ineffective against the Ug99 lineage. Notably Ug99 has virulence against Sr31, which was effective against all previous stem rust races.
    Singh et al., [2011] provide a list of known Sr genes and their effectiveness against Ug99.’

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