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Thinking Outside of the Cereal Box: Breeding Underutilized (Pseudo)Cereals for Improved Human Nutrition


Cereal grains have historically played a critical role in sustaining the caloric needs of the human population. The major cereal crops, wheat, rice, and maize, are widely cultivated and have been subjected to biofortification to enhance the vitamin and mineral nutrient content of grains. In contrast, grains of several other cereals as well as non-grass pseudocereals are naturally rich in micronutrients, but have yet to be explored for broad-scale cultivation and consumption. This mini review focuses on the micronutrient and phytochemical profiles of a few emerging (pseudo)cereals and examines the current constraints of their integration into the global food system. Prospects of leveraging whole genome sequence information and modern breeding technologies to promote the breeding and accessibility of these crops are also discussed.

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