Chestnut

La vie sexuelle secrète des plantes cultivées

ABERYSTWYTH – Les scientifiques estiment qu’il existe plus de 400.000 espèces de plantes sur Terre, dont la moitié au moins sont comestibles pour les êtres humains. En fait, il serait tout à fait possible que nous soyons capables de consommer 300.000 espèces végétales. Et pourtant, nous n’en consommons qu’une fraction. Homo Sapiens, la plus cosmopolite des espèces, qui prospère parce qu’elle est généraliste, ne mange que 200 espèces végétales environ. De manière étonnante, trois cultures seulement – le maïs, le riz et le blé – représentent plus de la moitié des calories et des protéines que nous dérivons des plantes.

Il n’existe curieusement que quelques rares tentatives d’expliquer pourquoi nous consommons si peu d’espèces parmi toutes celles qui sont consommables. Leur goût n’est pas la réponse. Ni leur valeur nutritionnelle. Les plantes que nous mangeons ont été améliorées par des générations de sélection au cours desquelles les agriculteurs ont favorisé les espèces ayant la meilleure palatabilité, la plus grande valeur nutritionnelle et le rendement le plus élevé. Même si l’on déteste le brocoli, il est probable qu’il a plus de goût que la plupart des 300.000 autres espèces comestibles. Les plantes sauvages ont le goût de plantes sauvages parce qu’elles sont restées des plantes sauvages. Mais pourquoi ?

Dans son livreDe l'inégalité parmi les sociétés - Essai sur l'homme et l'environnement dans l'histoire, Jared Diamond, un géographe et l’auteur de plusieurs ouvrages de vulgarisation scientifique, explique que la raison de notre régime alimentaire limité tient aux plantes elles-mêmes. Il affirme qu’aux débuts de l’agriculture, nos ancêtres ont su identifier de manière remarquablement efficace les rares espèces pouvant être domestiquées – c’est-à-dire celles qui n’étaient pas toxiques.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/j2o7jpX/fr;
  1. Television sets showing a news report on Xi Jinping's speech Anthony Wallace/Getty Images

    Empowering China’s New Miracle Workers

    China’s success in the next five years will depend largely on how well the government manages the tensions underlying its complex agenda. In particular, China’s leaders will need to balance a muscular Communist Party, setting standards and protecting the public interest, with an empowered market, driving the economy into the future.

  2. United States Supreme Court Hisham Ibrahim/Getty Images

    The Sovereignty that Really Matters

    The preference of some countries to isolate themselves within their borders is anachronistic and self-defeating, but it would be a serious mistake for others, fearing contagion, to respond by imposing strict isolation. Even in states that have succumbed to reductionist discourses, much of the population has not.

  3.  The price of Euro and US dollars Daniel Leal Olivas/Getty Images

    Resurrecting Creditor Adjustment

    When the Bretton Woods Agreement was hashed out in 1944, it was agreed that countries with current-account deficits should be able to limit temporarily purchases of goods from countries running surpluses. In the ensuing 73 years, the so-called "scarce-currency clause" has been largely forgotten; but it may be time to bring it back.

  4. Leaders of the Russian Revolution in Red Square Keystone France/Getty Images

    Trump’s Republican Collaborators

    Republican leaders have a choice: they can either continue to collaborate with President Donald Trump, thereby courting disaster, or they can renounce him, finally putting their country’s democracy ahead of loyalty to their party tribe. They are hardly the first politicians to face such a decision.

  5. Angela Merkel, Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron John Thys/Getty Images

    How Money Could Unblock the Brexit Talks

    With talks on the UK's withdrawal from the EU stalled, negotiators should shift to the temporary “transition” Prime Minister Theresa May officially requested last month. Above all, the negotiators should focus immediately on the British budget contributions that will be required to make an orderly transition possible.

  6. Ksenia Sobchak Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    Is Vladimir Putin Losing His Grip?

    In recent decades, as President Vladimir Putin has entrenched his authority, Russia has seemed to be moving backward socially and economically. But while the Kremlin knows that it must reverse this trajectory, genuine reform would be incompatible with the kleptocratic character of Putin’s regime.

  7. Right-wing parties hold conference Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

    Rage Against the Elites

    • With the advantage of hindsight, four recent books bring to bear diverse perspectives on the West’s current populist moment. 
    • Taken together, they help us to understand what that moment is and how it arrived, while reminding us that history is contingent, not inevitable


    Global Bookmark

    Distinguished thinkers review the world’s most important new books on politics, economics, and international affairs.

  8. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Bill Clark/Getty Images

    Don’t Bank on Bankruptcy for Banks

    As a part of their efforts to roll back the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, congressional Republicans have approved a measure that would have courts, rather than regulators, oversee megabank bankruptcies. It is now up to the Trump administration to decide if it wants to set the stage for a repeat of the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008.