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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Plant and Animal Genetic Resources Preservation » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #321236

Research Project: Plant and Microbial Genetic Resource Preservation and Quality Assessment

Location: Plant and Animal Genetic Resources Preservation

Title: Collecting crop wild relatives: an emerging priority

Author
item Greene, Stephanie
item Khoury, Colin - International Center For Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
item Williams, Karen
item Wiersema, John
item Kinard, Gary

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2015
Publication Date: 4/10/2015
Citation: Greene, S.L., Khoury, C., Williams, K.A., Wiersema, J.H., Kinard, G.R. 2015. Collecting crop wild relatives: an emerging priority. Meeting Abstract. National Native Seed Conference, Santa Fe, NM April 10-13, 2015.

Interpretive Summary: As a first step toward a national strategy for the conservation of native crop wild relatives, an inventory of taxa occurring in the United States was developed. 4,600 taxa from 985 genera and 194 plant families are listed, including CWR of use for breeding as well as wild species of direct use for food, forage, medicine or as herbs, ornamentals, and/or for environmental restoration. From the inventory, a high priority list of 285 native taxa from 30 genera was developed, reflecting wild species very closely related to major food crops. Potentially valuable CWR species threatened in the wild include relatives of sunflower, walnut, squash, wild rice, and plum.

Technical Abstract: Wild relatives of crop species (CWR) are an important resource to support the development of crops adapted to climate change. Historically, efforts to conserve agricultural biodiversity have relegated the collection of CWR species to the back burner. As a result, significant collecting gaps remain. As a first step toward a national strategy for the conservation of native CWR, an inventory of taxa occurring in the United States was developed. 4,600 taxa from 985 genera and 194 plant families are listed, including CWR of use for breeding as well as wild species of direct use for food, forage, medicine or as herbs, ornamentals, and/or for environmental restoration. From the inventory, a high priority list of 285 native taxa from 30 genera was developed, reflecting wild species very closely related to major food crops. Potentially valuable CWR species threatened in the wild include relatives of sunflower, walnut, squash, wild rice, and plum. The USDA National Plant Germplasm System, the main agency for gene banking species of agricultural importance, is marshalling efforts to collect US CWR. Strategic collecting will be guided by predictive species modelling and gap analysis. However, key to the successful implementation of a national strategy to collect and conserve CWR, will be strong partnerships between conservation, restoration and agricultural organizations.