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Agricultural genetics can help manage shortfalls in the world's food supply, says an editorial in Nature Genetics.

Nutrition impacts global health more than medical interventions and translating genetics research is easier in agriculture than medicine.

This needn't mean creating new knowledge. Rational breeding schemes, molecular marking, transgenic technology and recognition of the genetic resources of locally adapted crop strains could all help give local growers access to well-tested and robust crops to deal with the spread of drought and saline soils, says the editorial. And new discoveries by the crop genome revolution can help guide adaptive coevolution.

The big problems, argues the editorial, are economic, social and political. "Hunger is the top global issue that is not on the G8 or G20 agenda," it says. It adds that the United States must continue to lead global agricultural research but must be careful not to view overseas farmers as competitors.

Link to full article in Nature Genetics