[Mar. 21, 2016] Wild relatives of key crops not protected in gene bank, study finds

Wild relatives of key crops not protected in gene bank, study finds

Phaseolus lunatus, a wild relative of the lima bean, is threatened by land use change in Costa Rica. Daniel Debouck/CIAT

Phaseolus lunatus, a wild relative of the lima bean, is threatened by land use change in Costa Rica. Daniel Debouck/CIAT

Web link to article: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/03/wild-relatives-key-crops-not-protected-gene-banks-study-finds

The wild, sometimes scraggly cousins of grains and vegetables have a role to play in food security, but urgent action is needed to conserve them, says a new study published today in Nature Plants. The first global survey of the distribution and conservation of 1076 wild relatives of 81 crops finds that more than 95% are insufficiently safeguarded in the world’s gene banks, which store seeds and other plant tissues that can be used for future breeding efforts….read more.

 

Article submitted by: Kelly Racette
Kelly recently graduated with an M.S. with a concentration in agroecology last December. She is currently a first year Ph.D. student in Agronomy, under the supervision of Dr. Barry Tillman and Dr. Diane Rowland. Her doctoral research focuses on the impacts of generational stress memory and parent-of-origin/maternal provisioning effects on breeding peanut for drought tolerance.

Statement about why the article is of interest to her:
“This article is important to agroecology because the maintenance of our gene banks is critical in both maintaining diversity within our crops and improving current cultivated varieties through breeding programs. The wild-types of the crops that we grow can also teach us a great deal about how current varieties will respond to various stresses in the environment.”