CGIAR to Work with Global Crop Diversity Genebanks Revitalization
The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) has agreed to partner with Global Crop Diversity Trust for the five-year CGIAR Research Program for Managing and Sustaining Crop Collections, a program that aims to maintain the 706,000 samples of crop, forage and agroforestry resources from the genebanks of 11 CGIAR research centers around the world.
Beyond maintaining the vitality of the existing collections, the CGIAR Consortium partnership with the Trust envisions adding some 56,000 new samples or "accessions" to the genebanks by 2015, including a large number of wild relatives of cultivated crops. Wild relatives often contain important traits, such as drought tolerance or disease resistance that can be hard to find in cultivated varieties. New plant breeding technologies are making it easier to borrow traits from distant wild relatives and use them to improve the productivity or fitness of a cultivated crop.
The new partnership between the Trust and the CGIAR Consortium will allocate the US$109 million over the next five years to fund crop preservation and collection work at the CGIAR genebanks and ensure their crop samples are still widely shared.
This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)