Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/8/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Social and natural scientists, the general public, and policymakers in and out of government have become aware of the importance of plant genetic resources to world agriculture and food security over the last four decades of the 20th century. Erosion of biodiversity in agriculture resulting from widespread cropping of high yielding, genetically uniform cultivars, coupled with the continuous and permanent loss of natural plant biodiversity, brought about by habitat destruction and environmental degradation, has resulted in this heightened interest in germplasm conservation. Additionally, consumer interest in reducing modern agriculture's dependency on synthetic pesticides to control pests is increasing. Can plant germplasm in repositories of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other world genebanks provide the raw genetic material needed to sustain crop productivity and develop pest resistant crops? This sbook, edited by a USDA Agriculture Research Service scientist and a University of Nebraska professor, is unique among a considerable body of literature on the importance and use of genetic resources to agriculture because of its focus on the use of conserved germplasm for insect resistant crops. World leaders in the conservation and use of germplasm for the development of insect resistant crops, and representing 10 countries, contributed chapters for the book. Their message is that germplasm stocks have been indispensible for insect resistance and that future progress is contingent upon increased interdisciplinary research worldwide.
Technical Abstract: What makes this book unique among a considerable body of literature on the importance and use of genetic resources to world agriculture is the entomological focus of the assembled chapters. The chapters by an international group of distinguished entomologists, plant breeders, horticulturists, and germplasm policymakers are grouped into six topic groups: foreword, cereal crops, legume crops, vegetable crops, root and tuber crops, and basic research and biotechnology. The message from the crop chapters is that germplasm stocks have been indispensible for insect resistance and crop improvement. A higher frequency of usable resistance has been found in the germplasm stocks of some crops like rice, wheat, barley, sorghum, common bean, soybean, and alfalfa, than in other crops like grain legumes, vegetable crops, potato, and sweetpotato. Conserved germplasm also has much to offer the entomologist and ecologist with interests in research in insect plant interactions, and the molecular biologist looking for new plant genes and by products for plant biotechnology.