Biotech Updates

Latin American Effort to Rejuvenate Crop Collections Rooted in the Origins of Agriculture

April 8, 2011

A global effort to rejuvenate crop collections has been initiated by the Global Crop Diversity Trust in 88 countries including 18 in Latin America and the Caribbean. Crop specialists in Central America will conduct the regeneration of unique varieties of coffee, tomatoes, chili peppers, beans and other major crops with 19 other Latin American genebanks. This also includes one of the oldest collections in Costa Rica's Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) which holds 11,400 samples of plants conserved as seeds or as whole plants in the field.

"It is critical to protect as much variety as possible in the crops that sustain the Americas," said William Solano who is running the regeneration project at CATIE. "Many of the crops we grow—the same ones that allowed the Maya and Aztec to expand and thrive— have been cultivated in this region for thousands of years and the yield potential that they show today is strongly tied to their genetic diversity."

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