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

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Title: Wading into the gene pool: progress and constraints using wild species

Author
item Greene, Stephanie
item Warburton, Marilyn

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/7/2017
Publication Date: 6/16/2017
Citation: Greene, S.L., Warburton, M.L. 2017. Wading into the gene pool: progress and constraints using wild species. Crop Science. 57(3):1039-1041.

Interpretive Summary: Harnessing beneficial traits from wild species to support the development of productive crops is a long tradition recently revitalized by new tools and needs. Crop wild relatives (CWR), wild species closely related to our domesticated crop species, are especially valuable to plant breeders. This special issue of Crop Science presents seventeen papers that cover the breadth of issues related to the effective conservation and utilization of wild species.

Technical Abstract: Harnessing beneficial traits from wild species to support the development of productive crops is a long tradition recently revitalized by new tools and needs. Crop wild relatives (CWR), wild species closely related to our domesticated crop species, are especially valuable to plant breeders as reservoirs of new and useful trait variation, but present unique challenges. In this special issue of Crop Science, we present seventeen papers that cover the breadth of issues related to the effective conservation and utilization of wild species. The starting point was prioritizing conservation efforts and acquiring germplasm. The next aim was to provide a general overview of the use of crop wild relatives in a number of crops. Although these papers reflect the innovative strategies and successful deployment of genomic tools, challenges remain, and the final papers address them. Reflecting on all the papers in this Special Issue, we can conclude that new tools are indeed helping us better use wild species, and thus justify the expense and effort of conservation work. However, much work is still required to continue to conserve and make these genetic resources available to plant breeders and to overcome the challenges that limit their use.