A new book ‘Enhancing Crop Genepool Use - Capturing wild relative and landrace diversity for crop improvement’ shows the progress made in the science of agricultural biodiversity conservation and use, with a special focus on crop wild relative and landrace diversity.
Crop wild relatives and landraces are key to improving the yields and nutritional quality of crops and to providing resistance against crop pests and diseases.
Published by CABI and edited by Bioversity International scientist Ehsan Dulloo, Nigel Maxted and Brian Ford-Lloyd from the University of Birmingham, the book covers four areas:
- Characterization techniques - novel 'omics' techniques and predictive tools that can be used to identify adaptive traits and expedite plant breeding
- Conservation strategies - how to develop national, regional and global crop wild relative and landrace conservation strategies, how better to target conservation to meet the needs of the plant breeding community, and how to integrate crop wild relative and landrace diversity into existing biodiversity conservation programmes
- Facilitating crop wild relative and landrace use - pre-breeding using 'exotic' germplasm, meeting breeders' needs, integrating the conservation and user communities, and policy enhancement
- Informatics development - improving characterization, trait and conservation data management and accessibility, and inter-information system operability.
The book represents the proceedings of the ‘PGR Secure’ international conference that took place in Cambridge, UK, in June 2014. The conference, which marked the ending of a 3-year EU-funded project, 'PGR Secure', hosted 150 participants from 30 countries who showcased new research and insights on crop wild relatives and landraces.
Intended for a wide array of specialists and postgraduate students, such as those working in the fields of agrobiodiversity conservation and use, conservation, ecology, botany, genetics, plant breeding and agriculture, the book is available on the CABI website.
PGR Secure was a collaborative project funded under the EU Seventh Framework Programme, THEME KBBE.2010.1.1-03, 'Characterization of biodiversity resources for wild crop relatives to improve crops by breeding', Grant agreement no. 266394.
Photo: Crop wild relatives of onion in Italy. Credit: Bioversity International/A.Lane