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Research article2017Peer reviewed

Molecular anthropology of cassava – a cultural ecology of plant varietal preferences

Karltun, Linley Chiwona


Molecular genetics has provided science with innovative tools for increasing food production. One of the legacies that Hans Rosling has left behind is understanding of cassava cyanogenesis and how molecular plant genetics could better contribute to the reversal of the "poverty, population and environment spiral" (PPE-spiral). This requires incorporating appropriate methods and tools for routine use in breeding programmes; with breeders in collaboration with interdisciplinary teams, farmers and more specifically female farmers. In other words, molecular anthropology, the combining of anthropological methods from the social sciences with biochemical methods in surveys. The combination of biological sciences with social sciences, in the understanding of cassava cyanogenesis could rapidly advance and be a cost effective way for understanding farmer varietal preferences and their needs for food security. While funding has improved somewhat, evidence shows that despite the central role that women play in provisioning household food security there remains a severe lack of integration of a critical gendered approach.

Published in

Socialmedicinsk Tidskrift
2017, Volume: 94, number: 6, pages: 721-730