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As the world’s population rises to an expected ten billion in the next few generations, the challenges of feeding humanity and maintaining an ecological balance will dramatically increase. Today we rely on just four crops for 80 percent of all consumed calories: wheat, rice, corn, and soybeans. Indeed, reliance on these four crops may also mean we are one global plant disease outbreak away from major famine. In this revolutionary and controversial book, Jonathan Gressel argues that alternative plant crops lack the genetic diversity necessary for wider domestication and that even the Big Four have reached a “genetic glass ceiling”: no matter how much they are bred, there is simply not enough genetic diversity available to significantly improve their agricultural value. Gressel points the way through the glass ceiling by advocating transgenics—a technique where genes from one species are transferred to another. He maintains that with simple safeguards the technique is a safe solution to the genetic glass ceiling conundrum. Analyzing alternative crops—including palm oil, papaya, buckwheat, tef, and sorghum—Gressel demonstrates how gene manipulation could enhance their potential for widespread domestication and reduce our dependency on the Big Four. He also describes a number of ecological benefits that could be derived with the aid of transgenics. A compelling synthesis of ideas from agronomy, medicine, breeding, physiology, population genetics, molecular biology, and biotechnology, Genetic Glass Ceilings presents transgenics as an inevitable and desperately necessary approach to securing and diversifying the world's food supply.

Table of Contents

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  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page
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  1. Copyright Page
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  1. Dedication
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Foreword: The Needs for Plant Biodiversity: The General Case
  2. Klaus Ammann
  3. pp. ix-xvi
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xvii-xviii
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  1. 1. Why Crop Biodiversity?
  2. pp. 1-7
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  1. 2. Domestication: Reaching a Glass Ceiling
  2. pp. 8-41
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  1. 3. Transgenic Tools for Regaining Biodiversity: Breaching the Ceiling
  2. pp. 42-72
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  1. 4. Biosafety Considerations with Further Domesticated Crops
  2. pp. 73-137
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  1. 5. Introduction to Case Studies: Where the Ceiling Needs to be Breached
  2. pp. 138-149
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  1. 6. Evil Weevils or Us: Who Gets to Eat the Grain?
  2. pp. 150-160
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  1. 7. Kwashiorkor, Diseases, and Cancer: Needed: Food without Mycotoxins
  2. pp. 161-172
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  1. 8. Emergency Engineering of Standing Forage Crops to Contain Pandemics—Transient Redomestication
  2. pp. 173-177
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  1. 9. Meat and Fuel from Straw
  2. pp. 178-197
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  1. 10. Papaya: Saved by Transgenics
  2. pp. 198-201
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  1. 11. Palm Olive Oils: Healthier Palm Oil
  2. pp. 202-218
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  1. 12. Rice: A Major Crop Undergoing Continual Transgenic Further Domestication
  2. pp. 219-240
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  1. 13. Tef: The Crop for Dry Extremes
  2. pp. 241-256
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  1. 14. Buckwheat: The Crop for Poor Cold Extremes
  2. pp. 257-271
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  1. 15. Should Sorghum Be a Crop for the Birds and the Witches?
  2. pp. 272-299
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  1. 16. Oilseed Rape: Unfinished Domestication
  2. pp. 300-315
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  1. 17. Reinventing Safflower
  2. pp. 316-324
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  1. 18. Swollen Necks from Fonio Millet and Pearl Millet
  2. pp. 325-331
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  1. 19. Grass Pea: Take This Poison
  2. pp. 332-350
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  1. 20. Limits to Domestication: Dioscorea deltoidea
  2. pp. 351-356
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  1. 21. Tomato: Bring Back Flavr Savr™: Conceptually
  2. pp. 357-365
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  1. 22. Orchids: Sustaining Beauty
  2. pp. 366-373
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  1. 23. Olives: and Other Allergenic, Messy Landscaping Species
  2. pp. 374-381
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  1. Epilogue
  2. pp. 382-386
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  1. References
  2. pp. 387-446
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 447-461
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781421427768
Related ISBN(s)
9780801887192, 9781421429137
MARC Record
OCLC
1048228453
Pages
488
Launched on MUSE
2018-08-15
Language
English
Open Access
Yes

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