Yes, We Might Have No Bananas

Dr. Rob Dunn just published a new book about the risks of lack of biodiversity in food.

If you’re a fan of bananas, Rob Dunn has bad news for you.

His newest book, “Never Out of Season,” examines the risks of a lack of biodiversity in our food supply. A focus on growing genetically identical bananas, for example, means our supply is highly vulnerable to disease.

“This should be extremely worrisome,” Dunn writes in an excerpt from the book recently featured in Wired magazine. “But what should be more worrisome is that the same is true of most of our crops, most of the plants that we most depend on, a list of species that is shockingly and increasingly short.”

Dunn is a professor in the Department of Applied Ecology and in the Natural History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen. He is the author of “The Man Who Touched His Own Heart,” “The Wild Life of Our Bodies” and “Every Living Thing,” and has been published in magazines including National Geographic and Smithsonian.

In “Never Out of Season,” he examines our food supply and weighs the pros and cons of the corporate food system. Although crossbreeding and modern growing methods have brought an abundance of food and reduced hunger on a global scale, the loss of biodiversity in our crops has left them vulnerable to natural inevitabilities like weather, bugs and disease.

In addition to Dunn’s publishing, teaching and research, the Rob Dunn Lab is known for its eclectic and fascinating citizen science projects that invite the public to collect data for use by scientists. On March 16, Dunn’s lab launched a new citizen science project. The Great Pumpkin Project asks the world to grow squash and other plants in order to help save their diverse varieties and study their pollinators and pests.

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