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In 1944, the Rockefeller Foundation began "shuttling" the same variety of spring wheat to different parts of Mexico, but what worked for one crop should not be applied to all.

"Let’s go back to 1944, when Norman Borlaug was hired into the RF’s Mexican Agricultural Program to work on wheat. His initial task was to develop wheat varieties resistant to rust disease, which was a persistent problem in Mexico. But Borlaug couldn’t just transplant rust-resistant varieties from the U.S. and Canada. These were poorly adapted to Mexican conditions due to different lengths of daylight and seasons. Borlaug and other RF scientists realized that improved varieties for the semi-tropics needed to be derived from gene pools in the tropical, rather than temperate zones....

"What worked for wheat, and for some extent rice, in the Green Revolution should not be a model for future research. The wide adaptation of wheat has been unparalleled in any other crop, due to the particular physiological aspects of spring wheat. Borlaug was lucky that spring wheat was so adaptable, but most crops are not. Even within the species of wheat, Borlaug could not develop a widely adapted winter wheat. Further, in many parts of the world, food security is not constrained by genetic advances, but rather location-specific issues of agronomy and distribution. Though the idea of a centralized research program was appealing and successful for the Green Revolution in wheat, future research and philanthropic efforts must recognize that agriculture is by nature a local and culturally specific enterprise. A modern Green Revolution must by nature be different than the previous one, and we should not constrain possible future innovations to a narrow set of mid-century political and scientific precedents.

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