Like all scientific work, plant breeding is conducted by and for humans. “Human dignity is inviolable” – each of us as a person is unique and particular, and the differences between us bring happiness and joy. In science, diverse hypotheses, perspectives, expectations, and opinions are crucial for progress. Consequently, we in the Division of Plant Breeding Methodology are committed to fostering a working environment that values and promotes diversity at all levels, especially with regard to gender, skin color, age, religion, and sexual preference.
This year the division had a team building day followed up by a barbeque, where we discussed the topics inclusion and diversity. Here are some pictures as well as various thoughts from the team:
"Regarding plant breeding, genetic diversity is an important factor which defines to what extent a species can adapt hence improve on distinct environments. In a cultural context, the more diverse a person is, the better he or she will be at getting along with people around the world and thus succeed in different cultures." MSc student, EMABG
"It is nice to work in such a diverse group, because I can learn a lot from my colleagues regarding the meaning, usage and importance of crops in their home countries. I learned for example a lot from my Master thesis student about the many different utilization purposes of corn/maize in Mexico." PhD student, Plant Breeding Methodology
"My thoughts about equal opportunities and diversity:
- In plant breeding, increasing the success rate of cross-pollination in crossing speices requires an equal number of male and female plants.
- The more diverse a study panel is, the higher the resolution and ability to detect significant and reliable quantitative trait loci (QTLs). The more the mix of internationals from diverse backgrounds, the highter the chance of pruning out quality research.
- Inbreeding depression, a reduction in offspring vigor and fitness to biotic and abiotic stress, is strongly associated with reduced genetic diversity in a population. Conversely, a work environment with diverse individuals will rather promote a happy and cheerful work environment.
- The cost of preserving and maintaining old landraces in genebanks is high but indispensible owing to their genetic diversity from different geographical locations. Every individual is unique and equally important irrespective of their geographical background."
PhD student, Plant Breeding Methodology
"It is fantastic to meet people from other cultures. Meeting people from all over the world widens my view of the world. I am so happy to ba a PhD student in the Plant Breeding Methodology group." PhD student, Plant Breeding Methodology
"Diversity, for example, within the family, can result in conflict: i.e. not liking the same food, same colors, same T.V. shows. However accepting diversity in daily life can unite us and may even converge us to same conclusions. Referring to a quote from Allama Muhammad Iqbal's poem "Message of the East", which has been narrated by orientalists Prof. Reynold A. Nicholson and Annemarie Schimmel, when the poets Johann Wolfgang von Goethe of the west and Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī of the east met in paradise, they came to the conclusion that love is from Adam, or humans, and cunning knowledge is from evil. They then converged all humans to one point where there was peace/love. Everything causing problems through cunning knowledge was addressed then addressed as evil.These two scholars, instead of talking about differences, highlighted the core similarities and converged us all to one point: humanity.
I think the more we accept diversity on a global scale, humankind may then become a broader family. This begins within the own home and spreads within the town, from town to province, from province to country and from country to world, just as when one is able to not only to see one's own food security in their own fridge, but to look beyond toward national and world food security. The Division of Plant Breeding Methodology understands this issue and works together with people of all nationalities in addressing world poverty through better crop production and thus food security for the world." MSc student, Plant Breeding Methodology