Author Topic: Is the word landrace just jargon for "variable population"  (Read 549 times)

William S.

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This is definitely a thread to talk about definitions but also the utility of language and in particular jargon or technical terms.

I am editing the word landrace out of a lesson plan to make it a clearer lesson for students at instructor suggestion.

It is working great. Maybe a little to great. It seems like the lesson is clearer if I just say "population" and then explain that some populations are highly variable

What do you think? Do we even need our favorite words for making plant breeding techno babble? Is it essential language or does it just put up barriers and ultimately thin down our ranks?
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Ocimum

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Re: Is the word landrace just jargon for "variable population"
« Reply #1 on: 2021-02-15, 02:38:49 PM »
One article which brought me further was the article by Berg, 2009, "landraces and folk varieties, a reappraisal of terminology". It is interesting how he differentiates farmers keeping seeds from bulks, and farmers selecting individual plants. What is even more interesting is when farmers like Joseph Lofthouse save the bulk of individual plant, which is completely against this concept

http://libgen.rs/scimag/?q=berg+folk+varieties


Woody Gardener

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Re: Is the word landrace just jargon for "variable population"
« Reply #2 on: 2021-02-15, 03:09:47 PM »
I have a small garden and I grow only a few plants of each variety. I don't mind if they cross, I'm not trying to maintain 'heirlooms'. I save seeds from the plants that seem most adapted to my garden. As time goes on I add more varieties and select more carefully. I've wondered at what point I should call a species that I'm growing a landrace. I decided to just forget about that and call my breeding projects 'genetically diverse' as in 'My genetically diverse Russian kale'.
I'm not interested in preserving heirlooms.
The best seed bank is the living seed bank which is growing every year in people's gardens.
Joseph Lofthouse

reed

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Re: Is the word landrace just jargon for "variable population"
« Reply #3 on: 2021-02-15, 04:01:30 PM »
I like the definitions given by Alan Kaupler because it makes the most sense to me.

He says a landrace is a cultivated wild species. That certainly applies to my asters and columbines that I have collected from roadsides all around my area. It certainly does not apply to my sweet potatoes, radishes, cowpeas or pretty much anything else.

Then he talks about growing the seeds of a mixed intercross along with the seeds of successive generations of that cross and calls that a grex. I Think that applies to my sweet potatoes and most other things I grow. A grex is measured by the designation G so my cowpeas and peanuts I started with last year are G1, my sweet potatoes next year are G8.

Where it gets tricky for me is what to call either one once you or your climate has started selecting for specific things. Fortunately I am not that hung up on terminology but to answer your question, I think yes. 

Dr. Kaupler's writing on the matter is here: http://peaceseedslive.blogspot.com/



« Last Edit: 2021-02-15, 04:06:14 PM by reed »

Steph S

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Re: Is the word landrace just jargon for "variable population"
« Reply #4 on: 2021-02-15, 06:33:32 PM »
I once read some things about the definition of landrace, but I've forgotten them.  There were multiple definitions and some dispute about them.
For some reason I'm stuck on the core idea that a landrace is a population that is very well adapted to a specific place where it grows. 
'Population' is a useful term because it's used across disciplines in science (ecology, genetics etc). Whether you're talking about population dynamics eg of insects, or genetic issues in small 'founder' populations ecologically, population is a term that is recognized and understood by all.
I guess the idea of robust genetic diversity is implicit in the 'landrace' concept, in part because it persists over longer time scales and is able to withstand climatic variation in the location.
I like Kapuler's interpretation of a wild population that is cultivated.  The 'wild' aspect, that is freely crossing and genetically diverse, seems fundamental.
To my mind, a crop would be approaching the landrace ideal if it is self seeding as well as crossing freely.  So we could start with cultivated things, but end up with wild things.   This can only happen if the location is right for the 'landrace' to flourish.


rowan

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Re: Is the word landrace just jargon for "variable population"
« Reply #5 on: 2021-02-15, 07:22:03 PM »
I hate this confusion around this word. In farming a landrace has always been a variety that is adapted to different environments, but is still the same variety. A good example of this is the Great White pig. Every country has their own landrace of this pig - Australian landrace great white, Italian landrace great white, English landrace great white. They are all the same breed but adapted to do better in different areas with different feeds or different temperatures.

I just can't get used to the concept of a landrace being a random bitser mix of a species.
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Garrett Schantz

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Re: Is the word landrace just jargon for "variable population"
« Reply #6 on: 2021-02-15, 09:15:10 PM »
 A landrace is usually one species or sometimes a variety - Rowan noted "the Great White pig". Although there are times where people might allow another pig to breed the Great White, possibly to allow for better genetics, either becoming a new landrace or creating a bull to breed for the new, better genetics.

 In general though, a landrace sticks to one species, unlike the Maximoss squash or promiscuous tomatoes.

 Its core definition: "A landrace is a domesticated, locally adapted, traditional variety of a species of animal or plant that has developed over time, through adaptation to its natural and cultural environment of agriculture and pastoralism, and due to isolation from other populations of the species."
 
 Suppose what everyone is doing here is very close to what a landrace is. I wouldn't mind changing the definition though - I hadn't even heard the term up until a year or so ago.

William S.

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Re: Is the word landrace just jargon for "variable population"
« Reply #7 on: 2021-02-15, 09:35:18 PM »
Wheat is an example of a crop that can have multiple species and ploidy levels all within the same field.

Almost certainly some of what Gary Paul Nabhan describes on his stories involves many crop species having interesting interspecies relationships and gene flows with wild relatives.

Populations of plants can be very diverse and when transported around evolutionary relationships can change.
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reed

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Re: Is the word landrace just jargon for "variable population"
« Reply #8 on: 2021-02-16, 03:08:45 AM »
I am editing the word landrace out of a lesson plan to make it a clearer lesson for students at instructor suggestion.

It is working great. Maybe a little to great. It seems like the lesson is clearer if I just say "population" and then explain that some populations are highly variable

What do you think? Do we even need our favorite words for making plant breeding techno babble? Is it essential language or does it just put up barriers and ultimately thin down our ranks?

It is certainly not essential language, on the other hand I don't see how it puts up barriers. What age are your students?  Are they not old enough to comprehend that terms do not always have an agreed upon meaning? Why do you think leaving it out is working great, or even too great?

Andrew Barney

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Re: Is the word landrace just jargon for "variable population"
« Reply #9 on: 2021-02-16, 08:48:27 AM »
rowan really hates the modern and polluted definition of landrace. But honestly that old definition makes no sense either as that definition just means "adapted variety" or "cultivar" to me and would serve those purposes better for things like pigs. They are not a race of pigs at all anyymore, but one race, one strain, one type of pig, one variety, one cultivar. So it goes both ways rowan. :)

Honestly though i don't really care. Use the word, don't use the word, whatever. Language is always changing and it is fluid. In some ways English is the worst language in this sense, in others it is quite expressive.

But i think you are on to something. If a word is confusing to the general population then simplify it or make sure to be more specific and precise. I hate when people use acronyms online, it is confusing and ambiguous and assumes that I already know what it means, which often times I do not. It is even worse for those where English is not their native language. We English speaking people throw acronyms around like crazy. I have noticed that even here we are starting to use EFN to refer to Experimental Farm Network. At least one person had to ask what EFN stood for.
« Last Edit: 2021-02-16, 08:53:37 AM by Andrew Barney »

Andrew Barney

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Re: Is the word landrace just jargon for "variable population"
« Reply #10 on: 2021-02-16, 08:52:35 AM »
yes, relying on scientific articles for a new definition would be good:

Published: 01 November 2008
Landraces and folk varieties: a conceptual reappraisal of terminology
Trygve Berg

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10681-008-9829-8


PERSPECTIVE ARTICLE
Front. Plant Sci., 08 February 2017 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2017.00145
Toward an Evolved Concept of Landrace
Francesc Casañas1, Joan Simó1, Joan Casals1 and Jaime Prohens2*

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2017.00145/full


William, students who write papers and do science must cite thier sources and define terms when they write papers. So why not do the same and link to these scientific articles to define it once and for all for your students. I like the simplification of terms, but that does not mean you should not expose them to the word "landrace" at all just because it is confusing.
« Last Edit: 2021-02-16, 09:00:19 AM by Andrew Barney »

Nicollas

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Re: Is the word landrace just jargon for "variable population"
« Reply #11 on: 2021-02-16, 10:56:33 AM »
In french landrace is said "variété population".

I think i prefer "modern landrace", because a traditionnal landrace is more diverse that a moder imbred cultivar, but was genetically limited to what was growing in one place. What Joseph is doing is slightly different as he seeks to integrate a lot of genetic diversity at the start, but keeps adding new things each year, grows seeds from previous years, and seed swap a lot with his community.

William S.

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Re: Is the word landrace just jargon for "variable population"
« Reply #12 on: 2021-05-28, 11:38:15 PM »
It is certainly not essential language, on the other hand I don't see how it puts up barriers. What age are your students?  Are they not old enough to comprehend that terms do not always have an agreed upon meaning? Why do you think leaving it out is working great, or even too great?

Without the term the lesson is clearer, more direct, teaches more readily the concepts I really want to convey.
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William S.

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Re: Is the word landrace just jargon for "variable population"
« Reply #13 on: 2021-05-28, 11:52:35 PM »
yes, relying on scientific articles for a new definition would be good:

Published: 01 November 2008
Landraces and folk varieties: a conceptual reappraisal of terminology
Trygve Berg

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10681-008-9829-8


PERSPECTIVE ARTICLE
Front. Plant Sci., 08 February 2017 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2017.00145
Toward an Evolved Concept of Landrace
Francesc Casañas1, Joan Simó1, Joan Casals1 and Jaime Prohens2*

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2017.00145/full


William, students who write papers and do science must cite thier sources and define terms when they write papers. So why not do the same and link to these scientific articles to define it once and for all for your students. I like the simplification of terms, but that does not mean you should not expose them to the word "landrace" at all just because it is confusing.

The larger reason is because I can convey the concepts we here associate with the term landrace more clearly without invoking the term within the constraints of having a focused lesson for a general highschool biology class for the general public with some focus on the standards I really want to teach.

Now if it were an elective there would be more time and space to teach specialized vocabulary.

My plan in the lesson actually is to have them read an excerpt from Gary Paul Nabhan who introduced the term landrace to me. In the except he is describing a population of corn that interacts with Teosinte. Corn of many colors and multiple types mixed together. Clearly a landrace but I don't think Gary uses the word in this excerpt.

Oh and on a related note I recently managed to finally plant Neandercorn from Joseph.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian parent material and shallow 7" silty clay loam mollisoil topsoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Nicollas

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