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Bonn, Germany

Global Crop Diversity Trust is an independent international organization which exists to ensure the conservation and availability of crop diversity for food security worldwide. It was established through a partnership between the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research acting through Bioversity International. Wikipedia.

Vincent H.,University of Birmingham | Wiersema J.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Kell S.,University of Birmingham | Fielder H.,University of Birmingham | And 7 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2013

The potentially devastating impacts of climate change on biodiversity and food security, together with the growing world population, means taking action to conserve crop wild relative (CWR) diversity is no longer an option-it is an urgent priority. CWR are species closely related to crops, including their progenitors, which have potential to contribute traits for crop improvement. However, their utilisation is hampered by a lack of systematic conservation which in turn is due to a lack of clarity over their identity. We used gene pool and taxon group concepts to estimate CWR relatedness for 173 priority crops to create the Harlan and de Wet inventory of globally important CWR taxa. Further taxa more remotely related to crops were added if they have historically been found to have useful traits for crop improvement. The inventory contains 1667 taxa, divided between 37 families, 108 genera, 1392 species and 299 sub-specific taxa. The region with the highest number of priority CWR is western Asia with 262 taxa, followed by China with 222 and southeastern Europe with 181. Within the primary gene pool, 242 taxa were found to be under-represented in ex situ collections and the countries identified as the highest priority for further germplasm collection are China, Mexico and Brazil. The inventory database is web-enabled (http://www.cwrdiversity.org/checklist/) and can be used to facilitate in situ and ex situ conservation planning at global, regional and national levels. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Fowler C.,Global Crop Diversity Trust
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2011

Plant genetic resources for food and agriculture are the quintessential global public good. No nation is self-reliant. A viable market for their conservation and trade does not exist. The importance of these resources is likely to grow in the context of climate change, energy and water constraints. Yet, true international cooperation to conserve and make them available is difficult to achieve. What are the principles can be identified that might guide us in creating an effective Global System for conserving plant genetic resources? How can we get agriculture ready to meet the challenges of this century? What is the way forward in this International Year of Biodiversity?. Source

Jansky S.H.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Dempewolf H.,Global Crop Diversity Trust | Camadro E.L.,Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia Agropecuaria | Simon R.,International Potato Center | And 3 more authors.
Crop Science | Year: 2013

Crop wild relatives (CWR) offer a critical resource to address food security needs by providing genetic diversity for crop improvement, leading to increased plasticity and productivity of farming systems. However, plant breeders typically have not developed systematic or comprehensive strategies for the characterization and use of CWR for cultivar improvement. Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) provides an excellent case study for the use of CWR germplasm in addressing global food security needs. International cooperation and collaboration are critical to collect, characterize, and use CWR in anticipation of future production needs. Both ex situ and in situ preservation of wild potato species are essential to assure a comprehensive conservation plan. Top priorities include a coordinated inventory of gene bank holdings followed by re-collection of CWR and new collection where gaps exist. Access to CWR genetic diversity will continue to be critical as breeders face the challenge of developing cultivars that fit into new production systems, especially in response to climate change. With the advent of the genomics era, new visions of germplasm use strategies are emerging. In addition to filling gaps in collections, it will be important to expand efforts to characterize and use potato CWR. A systematic and integrated strategy is needed to evaluate CWR in gene banks for traits to continue breeding progress. © Crop Science Society of America. Source

Westengen O.T.,Nordic Genetic Resource Center NordGen | Westengen O.T.,University of Oslo | Jeppson S.,Nordic Genetic Resource Center NordGen | Guarino L.,Global Crop Diversity Trust
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Ex-situ conservation of crop diversity is a global concern, and the development of an efficient and sustainable conservation system is a historic priority recognized in international law and policy. We assess the completeness of the safety duplication collection in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault with respect to data on the world's ex-situ collections as reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Currently, 774,601 samples are deposited at Svalbard by 53 genebanks. We estimate that more than one third of the globally distinct accessions of 156 crop genera stored in genebanks as orthodox seeds are conserved in the Seed Vault. The numbers of safety duplicates of Triticum (wheat), Sorghum (sorghum), Pennisetum (pearl millet), Eleusine (finger millet), Cicer (chickpea) and Lens (lentil) exceed 50% of the estimated numbers of distinct accessions in global ex-situ collections. The number of accessions conserved globally generally reflects importance for food production, but there are significant gaps in the safety collection at Svalbard in some genera of high importance for food security in tropical countries, such as Amaranthus (amaranth), Chenopodium (quinoa), Eragrostis (teff) and Abelmoschus (okra). In the 29 food-crop genera with the largest number of accessions stored globally, an average of 5.5 out of the ten largest collections is already represented in the Seed Vault collection or is covered by existing deposit agreements. The high coverage of ITPGRFA Annex 1 crops and of those crops for which there is a CGIAR mandate in the current Seed Vault collection indicates that existence of international policies and institutions are important determinants for accessions to be safety duplicated at Svalbard. As a back-up site for the global conservation system, the Seed Vault plays not only a practical but also a symbolic role for enhanced integration and cooperation for conservation of crop diversity. © 2013 Westengen et al. Source

News Article
Site: http://phys.org/biology-news/

The project is known as EggPrebreed and is coordinated by the UPV's University Institute for Conservation and Improvement of Valencian Agrodiversity (COMAV). Experts from the University of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka) and Félix Houphouët-Boigny University (Ivory Coast) are also taking part. EggPrebreed is part of the global initiative "Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: Collecting, Protecting and Preparing Crop Wild Relatives", managed by the Global Crop Diversity Trust with the Millennium Seed Bank of the Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew, UK) and supported by the Norwegian government. Eggplant is one of the most important vegetable crops in the world, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions. It is classified as one of the 35 most important for food security, and is listed in Annex 1 of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The project focuses primarily on the adaptation of this crop to climate change in countries in Southeast Asia and West Africa, regions that are particularly vulnerable to climate change and where the eggplant is a staple crop. At the UPV's COMAV institute, wild species are being crossed with local varieties in a strategic, pre-breeding phase prior to the development of new varieties. To date some 58 different hybrids have been obtained by crossing native eggplant varieties with different wild relatives from Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and America that are able to grow in extreme conditions: daytime temperatures of over 35 degrees and night-time temperatures of below zero, in desert regions, for instance. Among the wild species the researchers are working with are Solanum incanum and Solanum torvum. "It is precisely because of this tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses that wild species are used as the base for crosses and to obtain new eggplant rootstocks. They are crossed with varieties from Sri Lanka and Ivory Coast, and the resulting hybrids are then back-crossed with these same cultivated varieties, introducing only the genes and characteristics we are interested in keeping," comments Jaime Prohens, director of COMAV at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. These results are particularly useful for those working on genetically improving our crops; they are a first step towards obtaining new climate change-resistant varieties, "which might take between five and ten years" to achieve in the context of countries in Southeast Asia, like Sri Lanka, and in West Africa, like Ivory Coast. The project also develops introgression lines (ILs), which are a powerful pre-breeding tool that allows eggplant breeders to have the entire genome of a wild relative scattered across a set of lines with the genetic background of the cultivated eggplant. These introgression lines reduce the time needed to develop varieties with desirable traits from wild species. An important element of this project is the exchange of knowledge and specialization between the different participating groups. To this end, several researchers from Sri Lanka and Ivory Coast have spent time working at the UPV, enabling fruitful collaboration between experts in different fields. The EggPrebreed team, led by the UPV, presented the results achieved to date at the international SOL 2015, the 12th Solanaceae Conference, held in Bordeaux (France) last October. Explore further: Major global analysis offers hope for saving the wild side of staple food crops (w/ Video)

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