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Collaborative Study Analyzes Genetic Diversity of Major Crops' Wild Relatives
Friday, 2013/07/26 | 14:07:11

A project led by the Germany-based Global Crop Diversity Trust and the Millennium Seed Bank in the United Kingdom has analyzed 455 crop wild relatives around the world. The said study revealed that 54 percent among these wild crops are underrepresented in gene bank collections — and that many, including ones at risk of extinction, have never been collected.

 

The analysis identified crop species - including potato, apple, aubergine, carrot and sunflower - that have high numbers of relatives yet to be collected and some crops, such as sorghum and bananas, that have few, if any, relatives secured in collections.

 

To prioritize species for conservation, researchers at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia identified all known wild relatives of 29 globally important crops. The team spent two years scouring gene banks, herbaria and museums to document what is currently housed in collections and to gather other data, such as recorded sightings in the wild. From the data, the team identified species that are of high priority for collection and where conservationists should target their efforts.

 

For further details, visit http://www.nature.com/news/weeds-warrant-urgent-conservation-1.13422.

 

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