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Darwinian AgricultureHow Understanding Evolution Can Improve Agriculture$
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R. Ford Denison

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691139500

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691139500.001.0001

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What Has Worked

What Has Worked

ImproviNg Cooperation within Species

Chapter:
(p.120) 8 What Has Worked
Source:
Darwinian Agriculture
Author(s):

R. Ford Denison

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691139500.003.0008

This chapter discusses approaches that have worked in the past in improving cooperation within species. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, with evolutionary biology at the center, it argues that we need to pay particular attention to tradeoffs. The chapter first considers the Green Revolution, which it claims was based on reversing past natural selection, before looking at past evolutionary arms races and how they have resulted in plants, and even chickens, that compete vigorously with their neighbors for resources, even when that competition reduces their collective productivity. The chapter examines the ideas of Colin Donald and the case of the Australian wheat variety called Drysdale, and solar tracking by leaves. It also explores the tradeoff between the yield potential of a crop genotype and its ability to suppress weeds based on cooperation, group selection as a strategy for crop genetic improvement, and the role of biotechnology in understanding how plants detect crowding.

Keywords:   cooperation, evolutionary biology, tradeoffs, Green Revolution, natural selection, evolutionary arms races, competition, Colin Donald, group selection, biotechnology

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