Gene banks, the place to preserve the genetic heritage of crops and wild plant species by the freezing of cuts of plants, or stocking the seeds for further needs. Now it is reported Gene banks are missing more than half the wild relatives of the world’s most important food crops, which have potentially harbour traits for higher yields, better adaptation to environment and resistance to disease as well as for development of new veriety.
The Crop Wild Relatives published their report related to plant gen bank which include the study of about 29 staple crops which are essential for human, including rice, wheat and potato, and found that around 240 out of 450 wild relatives of crops need collecting and placing in gene banks, which are very important for further study in world agriculture.
They reported five crops at most risk are eggplant, potato, apple, sunflower and carrot, with countries having the most threatened wild relatives for these five crops are Bolivia, China, Ecuador, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Mexico, Mozambique, Peru and South Africa.
In coming few years, a global network of partners led by the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, based in the United Kingdom, will collect these wild relatives from around the 30 countries where they have been identified and than stored for long term, back up storage at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank in London. It will prioritise cereal crops important for Africa, including sorghum and finger millet.
The project work for making seeds available to researchers and plant breeders across the world for their work so they can identify useful characteristics for development of new veriety through crop breeding.
International project coordinator at Kew’s stated “We realise that crop wild relatives are essential for us to adapt to climate change, We need to give crops the means to defend themselves.”
Over the past thousands years farmers utilize breeding for many useful traits of crops, to create breeds that are often unsuited to for better adaptation into new climatic conditions and that lack the rich genetic diversity of wild crops.
According to project coordinator, “Food crops are currently bred to a specific climate, but these conditions will change in the future,The wild relatives of today’s crops can help current crop varieties.”
For project coordinator and his team, “farming communities in developing countries are the ultimate beneficiaries of this whole undertaking and it’s an example of how science can help developing countries.”
Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank held all over study with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Global Crop Diversity Trust in partnership and in collaboration with agricultural research institutes worldwide. This project is part of a larger project, ‘Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change’, funded by the Norwegian government until 2019.