Biotech Updates

Time is Ticking for Some Crop's Wild Relatives

June 1, 2012

Initiatives to create focus and revive global crops' wild relatives has been set off in the United States Department – Agriculture Research Service in Prosser, Washington and the US National Plant Germplasm System. Stephanie Green, plant geneticist in the agency observed that around 20 percent of all wild plants are now threatened. She leads efforts in conserving crops' wild relatives and setting the goal to get these germplasm to plant breeders who are in search for genes to increase resistance to drought, disease pressure and erratic weather.

Another initiative is spearheaded by Nigel Maxfed of University of Birmingham, England, where he developed a step-by-step protocol in conserving crops through various ways, that countries can use to identify and protect their wild relatives. He has initiated work in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan,Portugal, Switzerland, the U.K. and several other European nations, as well as in China and North Africa.

For more information, see "Crop Wild Relatives and Their Potential for Crop Improvement," as featured in the current edition of CSA News: The full research paper is newly published in Crop Science: The news article can be viewed at