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Crop Biotech Update

Global Crop Diversity Trust to Spearhead Collection of Wild Relatives of Food Crops

December 17, 2010

The Global Crop Diversity Trust has launched a global initiative to systematically collect the wild relatives of wheat, rice, beans, potato, barley, lentils, chickpea, and other important food crops. This project aims to protect global food supplies against the consequences of climate change, and strengthen future food security. Collaborating with the Trust are national agricultural research institutes, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Norway has provided US$50 million seed money for this project.

"All our crops were originally developed from wild species—that's how farming began," explained Cary Fowler, Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust. "But they were adapted from the plants best suited to the climates of the past. Climate change means we need to go back to the wild to find those relatives of our crops that can thrive in the climates of the future. We need to glean from them the traits that will enable modern crops to adapt to new, harsher and more demanding situations. And we need to do it while those plants can still be found."

See the press release from Global Crop Diversity Trust at http://www.croptrust.org/documents/Press%20Releases/Crop%20Wild%20Relative%20Program%20Press%20Release%20Final.pdf