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.

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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.

News Article | November 9, 2015

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)

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 ( and can be used to facilitate in situ and ex situ conservation planning at global, regional and national levels. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Khoury C.K.,Aereo | Khoury C.K.,Wageningen University | Bjorkman A.D.,University of British Columbia | Dempewolf H.,University of British Columbia | And 10 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2014

The narrowing of diversity in crop species contributing to the world's food supplies has been considered a potential threat to food security. However, changes in this diversity have not been quantified globally. We assess trends over the past 50 y in the richness, abundance, and composition of crop species in national food supplies worldwide. Over this period, national per capita food supplies expanded in total quantities of food calories, protein, fat, and weight, with increased proportions of those quantities sourcing from energy-dense foods. At the same time the number of measured crop commodities contributing to national food supplies increased, the relative contribution of these commodities within these supplies became more even, and the dominance of the most significant commodities decreased. As a consequence, national food supplies worldwide became more similar in composition, correlated particularly with an increased supply of a number of globally important cereal and oil crops, and a decline of other cereal, oil, and starchy root species. The increase in homogeneity worldwide portends the establishment of a global standard food supply, which is relatively species-rich in regard to measured crops at the national level, but species-poor globally. These changes in food supplies heighten interdependence among countries in regard to availability and access to these food sources and the genetic resources supporting their production, and give further urgency to nutrition development priorities aimed at bolstering food security.

Around 50,000 seed samples were deposited into the world's largest seed depository that was built to protect the world's plant species and food sources in case of wars or natural disasters. Some of the newly deposited specimens into the Svalbard Seed Bank were simply returned after an unexpected withdrawal in 2015. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located in the Arctic over 600 miles from the North Pole in the Svalbard archipelago. It was built underground in permafrost zone as a master backup plan in case of warfare or natural disasters that could wipe out the world's food sources. When it was opened in 2008 by the Norwegian Government and the Global Crop Diversity Trust, it was meant to be a global deposit box for the world's seeds. Being located underground in the freezing Arctic, the idea was that in case of any natural disaster or warfare that could severely deplete world food sources, the Svalbard Seed Vault will be there to provide a restart for the world's crops. With other seed banks across the globe, the Svalbard Seed Vault was supposed to be the final backup plan when all else fails. However, what started as a vault for distant disasters came in handy less than ten years after it was built, proving that it was built right at the perfect time. With the mounting unrest in their original headquarters in Aleppo, Syria, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) was forced to move to Beirut in 2012. However, as the civil war ensued, scientists had a difficult time in retrieving the seeds in their own Syrian vault. Because of this, ICARDA withdrew the initial deposit that they made to the vault in 2008 to aid their new headquarters in Beirut. The scientists of ICARDA worked on these seeds for 17 months, duplicating and distributing them until they were able to once again complete their set. On Feb. 22, the ICARDA deposited over 15,000 specimens along with seeds from Benin, India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Morocco, Netherlands, Mexico, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, the United States, and Britain. The newly deposited seeds include major food sources such as chickpea, lentil, rice, and wheat. "We are demonstrating today that we can rely on our gene banks and their safety duplications, despite adverse circumstances, so we can get one step closer to a food-secure world," said Aly Abousabaa, director general of ICARDA. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Khoury C.,Global Crop Diversity Trust | Laliberte B.,System Wide Genetic Resources Programme SGRP of the CGIAR | Guarino L.,Global Crop Diversity Trust
Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution | Year: 2010

In 2005, the newly established Global Crop Diversity Trust initiated a consultation process leading to the development of over 30 global crop and regional strategies for the ex situ conservation and utilisation of crop diversity. These strategies represent a major undertaking the field of plant genetic resources, mobilizing experts to collaboratively plan for the more efficient and effective conservation and use of crop diversity. The strategies are reviewed for eight themes: regeneration, crop wild relatives, collecting, crop descriptors, information systems, user priorities, new technologies and research, and challenges to building a strategy for rational conservation. The themes shed light upon the status, constraints, and promising directions regarding ex situ conservation and utilization of plant genetic resources globally, and provide insight into the current challenges to planning for an efficient and effective global system. The primary constraints affecting conservation, use, and planning are the quality and availability of accession-level information, and availability of resources for regeneration, collecting, and research. A series of connected organizations working at the global level are addressing some of the major constraints in regeneration, collecting, information systems, descriptors, user involvement, and new technology development, although certain crops and regions will need additional support beyond the activities currently funded, particularly in collecting and in the development of specific conservation technologies. Achieving an efficient and effective global system will depend on active support by stakeholders, and will be aided by continuing to develop the strategies and by supporting the strategies' recommendations for efficient and effective practices in plant genetic resources. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010.

Dempewolf H.,Global Crop Diversity Trust | Eastwood R.J.,Bank of The West | Guarino L.,Global Crop Diversity Trust | Khoury C.K.,Global Crop Diversity Trust | And 2 more authors.
Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems | Year: 2014

The main objective of the"Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change" project is to collect and protect the genetic diversity of a portfolio of plants with the characteristics required for adapting the world's most important food crops to climate change. The initiative also aims to make available this diversity in a form that plant breeders can readily use to produce varieties adapted to the new climatic conditions that farmers, particularly in the developing world, are already encountering. Such adaptation is a key component of securing the world's future food production. This paper serves to inform interested researchers of this important initiative and encourage collaboration under its umbrella. © 2014 Copyright Hannes Dempewolf, Ruth J. Eastwood, Luigi Guarino, Colin K. Khoury, Jonas V. Müller, and Jane Toll.

Ramirez-Villegas J.,International Center for Tropical Agriculture | Khoury C.,Global Crop Diversity Trust | Jarvis A.,International Center for Tropical Agriculture | Debouck D.G.,Genetic Resources Unit | Guarino L.,Global Crop Diversity Trust
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: The wild relatives of crops represent a major source of valuable traits for crop improvement. These resources are threatened by habitat destruction, land use changes, and other factors, requiring their urgent collection and long-term availability for research and breeding from ex situ collections. We propose a method to identify gaps in ex situ collections (i.e. gap analysis) of crop wild relatives as a means to guide efficient and effective collecting activities. Methodology/Principal Findings: The methodology prioritizes among taxa based on a combination of sampling, geographic, and environmental gaps. We apply the gap analysis methodology to wild taxa of the Phaseolus genepool. Of 85 taxa, 48 (56.5%) are assigned high priority for collecting due to lack of, or under-representation, in genebanks, 17 taxa are given medium priority for collecting, 15 low priority, and 5 species are assessed as adequately represented in ex situ collections. Gap ''hotspots'', representing priority target areas for collecting, are concentrated in central Mexico, although the narrow endemic nature of a suite of priority species adds a number of specific additional regions to spatial collecting priorities. Conclusions/Significance: Results of the gap analysis method mostly align very well with expert opinion of gaps in ex situ collections, with only a few exceptions. A more detailed prioritization of taxa and geographic areas for collection can be achieved by including in the analysis predictive threat factors, such as climate change or habitat destruction, or by adding additional prioritization filters, such as the degree of relatedness to cultivated species (i.e. ease of use in crop breeding). Furthermore, results for multiple crop genepools may be overlaid, which would allow a global analysis of gaps in ex situ collections of the world's plant genetic resources. 2010 Ramírez-Villegas et al.

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?.

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