Submitted to: Complete Book
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 15, 2012
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Citation: Kluepfel, D.A., Aradhya, M.K., (Editors), 2012. Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Wild Relatives of Subtropical and Temperate Fruit and Nut Crops. Belgium. Acta Horticulturae 948.
The first International Symposium on Wild Relatives of Subtropical and Temperate Fruit and Nut Crops offered a platform for the scientists and others concerned with conservation, management, and sustainable utilization of wild relatives of subtropical and temperate fruit and nut crops. Wild relatives are the major sources of useful genes that are selectively maintained as co-adapted gene complexes through the delicate balance of evolutionary forces over millions of years. They offer an abundant supply of functional genes/genetic variability for crop genetic improvement to develop new cultivars resistant to ever-changing biotic and abiotic stresses, including insect-pest resistance, adaptability to a wide range of growing environments, and to the imminent threats of climate change. Traditionally, germplasm collections and research on wild relatives is significantly biased toward grain crops and very little attention and resources have been devoted at the national and international levels for research on wild relatives of tree and perennial crops. Despite good taxonomic representation of wild relatives of tree fruit and nut crops in various gene banks, botanical gardens, and arboretums around the world, the systematic collections representing the genetic variability within and among their populations is seriously lacking, rendering them less useful to extract functional variation for breeding purposes.
Tree crop breeders have, so far, restricted themselves to the use of genetic variability in the primary gene pools and, in many crops to an even narrower range of variation in the highly domesticated sections. The time has now come for the tree crop horticulturists, geneticists, and breeders to look far and beyond traditional primary gene pools for useful genes to develop new scion and rootstock cultivars addressing the ever changing needs of growers, consumers, and the markets. In order to deal with the imminent threats of climate change, which is going to alter the adaptive landscapes of many of these crops, disease-pest regimes, adaptive response to fluctuating growing environments, and extended adaptations beyond normal growing regions, the breeders have to move useful functional variability from outside the traditional sources.
Through this First Symposium, we made a formal beginning to address some of these issues concerned with conservation, management and sustainable utilization of wild relatives of subtropical and temperate fruit and nut crops.