Tuesday, December 24, 2019

"Stuck for holiday gift ideas? How about … a chocolate bar-sized wheat DNA sequencer!"

From AgFunder:
If you’re still on the lookout for agtech-themed holiday gifts, here’s a suggestion: How about a chocolate bar-sized portable DNA sequencer that accurately and quickly diagnoses wheat viruses? (More gift ideas welcome, by the way!)

The idea landed on the AFN desk courtesy of The American Phytopathological Society (APS), and we think it’s pretty neat. As any crop farmer can tell you, diagnosis of crop disease is crucial. But traditional methods, the APS informs us, “rely on the expertise of pathologists, who in turn rely on the physical appearance of disease symptoms, which can be similar to damage caused by other factors, such as nutrient deficiencies or environmental elements.”

Pathologists “also experience difficulty detecting coinfections and pathogens that do not infect aerial parts of the plant. Furthermore, there is no existing method for rapidly identifying unknown pathogens during an outbreak.”...

And the story I was going for before getting side-tracked, possibly less topical but still a great read, in front of the fire, with family and friends gathered, aloud:

Future Food Holiday Special: AgFunder’s Rob Leclerc on the last decade in ag and foodtech